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Lauren Halsey at David Kordansky Gallery

On view: January 25–March 14, 2020

At David Kordansky Gallery, walking into Halsey’s untitled installation is a shock to the system. Stacks and stacks of painted boxes and signage have been installed to create a strangely-scaled fantasy city. As the installation tumbles and moves, the eye desperately races around to take in the visual cues. Text dominates. Each phrase is faithfully reproduced from hand-painted signs that Halsey spots around the city, rooting her visual language in the streets. Each stack of boxes reads like a still life, or even a poem, juxtaposing different text and signs together to create a unified whole. The stacked cubes in My Hope (2020) read: “DA WAH, My Hope, Just Real, Grace & Truth, Book Shop: Incense Body Oils.” Each phrase is painted in its own custom typeface. One sign stands in for the overall ethos of the exhibition as it reads: “Yes, We’re Open, and Yes, We’re Black-Owned.” Halsey, simply by collecting, documenting, and grouping, argues for space and autonomy while celebrating black excellence within Los Angeles.