Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA)

Fund: $40,000

SMMoA will reemerge in a new downtown L.A. location in Spring 2017 with a survey of works by several renowned Los Angeles artists and one indispensable assistant—classically trained artist and sign painter Norm Laich. For 30 years Laich has produced sign painter’s-style hand lettering for an array of artists, including John Baldessari, Alexis Smith, Mike Kelley, Michael Asher, Lari Pittman, Allen Ruppersberg, and Liz Larner. From minimal interventions for Ed Ruscha to large installations for Barbara Kruger and Lawrence Weiner, Laich has been a principal partner in producing some of the era’s most iconic artworks. The exhibition, co-curated by John Baldessari and Meg Cranston, will include recreated paintings and graphic installations, along with a selection of Laich’s own work. The project explores the relationship between artists’ original work and the “hired hands” that helped create it, highlighting Laich’s profound yet largely unrecognized contribution to the contemporary visual art canon.