[ARTnews] The Defining Artworks of 2023


Chicana artist Judith F. Baca first conceived of what would become the half-mile-long Great Wall of Los Angeles in 1974, with the first stretch of it being painted in 1976. Beginning in prehistoric time and extending into the 1950s, the now iconic mural presents a retelling of the history from the perspectives of people of color, women, and queer people, highlighting the stories and peoples who have been intentionally erased and marginalized. In 2021, the Mellon Foundation gave Baca and the Social and Public Art Resource Center, the arts nonprofit she cofounded, $5 million to extend the imagery into the present. Over the past two years, Baca and her team have been hard at work to conceptualize and develop the new imagery. The first scene, A Murder of Crows: The “End” of Jim Crow, along with preparatory drawings for several other scenes, was displayed this year at Jeffrey Deitch’s LA space. And, since October, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Baca’s team have been painting additional scenes on-site, turning the gallery into an artist’s atelier. Given the state of the world, these new images and recovered histories have never been more urgent to tell—and to see. —Maximilíano Durón

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