“If you hold your hand closed, nothing good can come in. The open hand is blessed, for it gives in abundance, even as it receives.” — Biddy Mason (1818–1891)
The Open Hand is Blessed is a memorial series that pays tribute to the voice and spiritual philosophy of Biddy Mason. The story of Mason is one of resilience. In 1851, Mason arrived in San Bernardino, California, after traveling thousands of miles by foot as an enslaved person. After this arduous journey, she settled in Los Angeles and worked as a nurse and midwife. She died a free person and one of the wealthiest Black women in the country. In The Open Hand is Blessed, Ada Pinkston draws from archival images of African American residents in 19th century Los Angeles.
Think Big, 2021
I.R. Bach’s approach to what constitutes a monument differs from its conventional definition. A simple action such as moving through the park may turn into an experience worth memorializing. Through larger-than-life animations, a whimsical soundtrack, and a guiding basketball, Think Big crafts an experience designed to inspire self-reflection as you proceed. “The aspiration is to collectively build an invisible monument of thought.” I.R. Bach encourages users to playfully consider the phrase, “See yourself in others and others in you.” Think Big is ideally enjoyed in the park but is available everywhere on a smaller scale with fewer stops. The original soundtrack was composed by the artist and features special guest Dwight Trible.
No Finish Line, 2021
No Finish Line centers generational stories from the communities, businesses, and organizations along the 1932 L.A. Olympic marathon route, which started and ended at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This conceptual project highlights how the stories of daily life come together to make history. A narrative thread connects generations of people, businesses, and organizations along the route. The symbolism of a marathon reminds the viewer that the path of history is long, and that making positive change and building an equitable world requires stamina. The memories of the people and places therefore become perpetual and not forgotten: the path of history is a marathon with no finish line. In 2028, Los Angeles will become the only city in the United States to host the Olympic Games three times, invoking memories of Games past and contributing new narratives to the future. Original music composition created in collaboration with DJ Melo-D of the World Famous Beat Junkies.
LACMA × SNAPCHAT: MONUMENTAL PERSPECTIVES
This initiative uses augmented reality to explore monuments and murals, representation, and history. Monumental Perspectives brings together artists and technologists to create virtual monuments that explore just some of the histories of Los Angeles communities in an effort to highlight perspectives from across the region. In consultation with community leaders and historians, the first cohort of artists, Mercedes Dorame, I.R. Bach, Glenn Kaino, Ruben Ochoa, and Ada Pinkston, examine key moments, figures, and monumentality in the region’s past and present through augmented reality experiences.
Visitors can experience the augmented reality monuments at site-specific locations across Los Angeles including LACMA’s Wilshire Boulevard campus, MacArthur Park, Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park, and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The monuments can also be experienced by anyone around the world, wherever they are. Learn more about the project at lacma.org/monumental.