The Great Wall of Los Angeles

September 19, 2023 – June 2, 2024

Durón Gallery at SPARC  |  Exhibition

After its stunning debut at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, the new segment of “The Great Wall of Los Angeles” is now on display at the Durón Gallery at SPARC, running until February 12, 2024. The exhibit showcases the first mural from the 1960s section, “The ‘End’ of Jim Crow”, and “Why Alcatraz Matters” from the 1970s section. A collection of artist sketches and coloration studies provide a glimpse into the forthcoming expansion of the Great Wall. This extension, generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to encapsulate pivotal events up through the 2010s. This exhibition is running in conjunction with the “Painting in the River of Angels” exhibition at LACMA, where the Great Wall artist team turns the museum into a studio.

Over the course of six blistering summers starting in the late 1970s, Judith F. Baca recruited a small team of artists and over four hundred at-risk youth to create the most significant public art monument of her native city, The Great Wall of Los Angeles. Stretching along the walls of the Tujunga Wash, the landmark mural is a half mile-long celebration of the multi-cultural history of California from the prehistoric era through the 1950s.

The Great Wall of Los Angeles exhibition brings the viewer behind the scenes of this iconic work of art through the maquettes, sketches and coloration studies that demonstrate the mural’s development process. The exhibition unveils the plans for the extension of The Great Wall by an additional half mile to represent seminal events from the 1960s to 2010s made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation received in 2020.

With The Great Wall, Baca furthered her commitment to proclaim equity for all people and to integrate one’s ethics into their creative expression. She educated and directed her teams through research, sketching and painting the region’s social history from the perspective of women and marginalized communities.

Often realized in impoverished neighborhoods, Baca’s projects revitalize the places that host them through the attention and excitement they generate. Her works stem from the awareness that the land has memory and the urge to express the interactive relationship of history, people and place. Like many of Baca’s celebrated projects, The Great Wall of Los Angeles highlights the dignity of hidden historical precedents, restores connections and stimulates new relationships into the future.

For over forty years, Judy Baca has been innovating and spearheading the practice of working with local communities to create countless social justice, large-scale vibrant works of art. She founded the first City of Los Angeles Mural Program in 1974, which evolved into a community arts organization known as the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC). Today, while continuing to serve SPARC as artistic director, Baca is one of the most celebrated Chicana artists, a world-renowned muralist, social activist and UCLA Professor Emeritus.

Baca’s collaborative, portable mural World Wall: A Vision of the Future Without Fear was shown in an enveloping installation at MOCA in 2022. Later this year, Baca’s World Wall will travel to Mexico for an immersive exhibition experience at El Cervantino in Guanajuato, Latin America’s most prominent cultural festival, and her retrospective at The Colegio de San Ildefonso in Mexico City. In March 2023, Baca was awarded the National Medal of Art Recognition by the President of the United States, Joseph Biden, for her monumental impact on public art in America and her collaborative work that “has turned forgotten histories into public memory—pioneering an art form that empowers communities to reclaim public space with dignity and pride.

Learn more about the current research and process of the Great Wall of Los Angeles here.

Learn more about the history at the Great Wall Institute website here.

Monday   closed
Tuesday   11pm – 5pm
Wednesday   11pm – 5pm
Thursday   11pm – 5pm
Friday   11pm – 5pm
Saturday   12pm – 5pm
Sunday   closed

Durón Gallery at SPARC
685 Venice Boulevard, Venice, California
90291, United States