Los Angeles–based artist Harold Mendez brings together objects, images, and sounds—all with their own multiple and layered histories—culled from sites across the Americas and spanning from pre-Columbian times to the present. Transformed and reconfigured into poetic assemblages, they evoke the body’s connections to histories of violence and erasure on the one hand and renewal and remembrance on the other.
Mendez’s exhibition at the Logan Center Gallery, The years now, presents a suite of new sculptures and premieres a new sound installation featuring a found recording in which a speaker contemplates a crisis of identity. Moving around the gallery and emanating from various objects, the peripatetic voice is anchored by a central fiberglass grid scattered with white carnation petals, which are continuously replenished throughout the run of the exhibition. Also included in the presentation is a 3D-printed object—modeled after a pre-Columbian pot from the Field Museum in Chicago. Collected from the Moche Valley in Peru, objects such as this served both a decorative and commemorative function, often accompanying a body into the afterlife. Here, Mendez uses contemporary imaging technology to reimagine the artifact, animating it with sound.
The years now presents a landscape in which ritual and memorial materials function as signifiers for the human body. Skillfully and thoughtfully arranged in new constellations, the elements come together to render a conception of self that is deeply connected to divergent and intersecting histories, reflecting on the way the past continues to haunt the present.
Harold Mendez: The years now is presented by Logan Center Exhibitions and curated by Katja Rivera, Assistant Curator, with Alyssa Brubaker, Exhibitions Manager. This exhibition is made possible by support from the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation, The Reva and David Logan Foundation, and friends of the Logan Center.
Harold Mendez (b. 1977, Chicago) has taken part in numerous exhibitions such as Being: New Photography (2018) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Whitney Biennial (2017), New York. In addition, his work has been shown at the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Bass Museum, Miami; LAXART, Los Angeles; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; MoMA PS1, New York; Renaissance Society, Chicago; Project Row Houses, Houston; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among others. His work has been reviewed in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Artforum, and frieze. He has been an artist in residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; Core Program, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; Headlands Center for the Arts; and the Tamarind Institute, and is a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant; the Illinois Arts Council Agency Artist Fellowship; the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship; and the 3Arts Award. Mendez studied at Columbia College Chicago; the University of Science and Technology, School of Art, Ghana, West Africa; and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently based in Los Angeles.