Click to skip to site content
Mapping An Art World in Leimert Park
Mapping An Art World in Leimert Park

Mapping An Art World in Leimert Park

Panel Discussion

Mapping An Art World in Leimert Park brings together artists to discuss their role in building art spaces dedicated to Black artists and their communities. The conversation will cover the foundational period and ongoing impact of spaces such as Brockman Gallery, CAAM, and KAOS Network. We will consider the artist as institution builder, and their work in shaping generative art worlds that support Black artists and their communities.

This discussion will be moderated by Kristen Juarez, Senior Research Specialist, Getty Research Institute.

Dale Brockman Davis is an artist, teacher, community arts activist, and curator. Co-founder with his brother, Alonzo Brockman Davis, of the Brockman Gallery, a Leimert Park institution, Davis creates multimedia artworks that center upon the use of color, texture, and form to capture histories of the past. Davis has shown his work in numerous exhibitions, galleries, and contemporary art forums, including the Hammer Museum, Roberts & Tilton Gallery, the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, the Watts Towers Art Center, and the California African American Museum. In 1997, Davis received acknowledgment for his cultural contributions to the community by the California State Senate. More recently, he was awarded for outstanding cultural contributions by two Los Angeles city officials: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2009 and Councilmember Bernard Parks in 2012.

Essence Harden is the curator for Frieze LA, Focus 2024 and a visual arts curator and program manager at the California African American Museum. Essence has curated exhibitions at The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), Art + Practice, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), Human Resources (Los Angeles), and Oakland Museum of California amongst others.

Essence is a contributor to New York Times Magazine (2024), The Los Angeles Times Magazine: Image, SSENSE, Art21, Contemporary Art Review LA (CARLA), Artsy, LALA, Cultured Magazine, Performa Magazine, and SFAQ: International Arts and Culture and has written catalog entries for California Biennial: Pacific Gold; Made in LA: Acts of Living; Prospect 5: Yesterday we said tomorrow;  Brave New Worlds: Exploration of Space: Palm Springs Art Museum; and  What Needs to Be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows Exhibition. Essence has also served as an art consultant for film and television.

Essence is a 2018 recipient of The Creative Capital, Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and a 2020 Annenberg Innovation Lab Civic Media Fellow.
Essence graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History and received their Master of Arts from the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley. Essence is a Ph.D. Candidate (ABD) in African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley.

Essence resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Ben R. Caldwell is a Los Angeles-based arts educator and independent filmmaker. A native of New Mexico, Caldwell studied filmmaking at UCLA, at the same time as Charles Burnett, Julie Dash and Billy Woodberry, as part of a group of young artists who were to change African American independent filmmaking — a cultural phenomenon sometimes called “The L.A. Rebellion” Caldwell’s work has been shown nationally and internationally, most recently at LAMAG and at the Tate Modern. Caldwell taught 15 years at CalArts and was a major founding force in CAP (Community Arts Partnership). Caldwell later founded the KAOS Network community arts centre in Leimert Park, LA. KAOS Network was designed to empower the youth of the community and is the only organization of its kind in South Central Los Angeles where inner-city youths can participate in hands-on courses in video production, animation, web-site development, video teleconferencing, movie production, and use of the Internet.

Kristin Juarez is the senior research specialist for the African American Art History Initiative at the Getty Research Institute. Her research engages histories of collaboration and multidisciplinary experimentation at the intersection of visual art, performance, and the moving image. Juarez received her Ph.D. in moving image studies specializing in artists’ cinema in 2019. She was co-curator of the 2021 exhibition Blondell Cummings: Dance as Moving Pictures at Art + Practice, as well as co-editor of its award-winning companion volume. She continues to explore the impact of Black dance on experimental cinema through her film series Dancers on Film. Juarez is currently working on the collaborative research project Samella Lewis: World Building in African American Art History, which brings critical focus to the contributions of Dr. Lewis on the field of African American art history and Black Los Angeles.

This program is presented in conjunction with Mapping an Art World: Los Angeles 1970s-80s.

This program is organized by Justen Leroy, Director of Public Programs and Community Outreach, and Alitzah Oros, Public Programming Associate.

Mapping an Art World: Los Angeles 1970s-80s is organized by Clara Kim, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs and Rebecca Lowery, Associate Curator, with Emilia Nicholson-Fajardo, Curatorial Assistant, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.