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Long overdue first solo museum exhibition for Timothy Washington

Love Thy Neighbor: Timothy Washington and the Black Assemblage Art Movement

January 24, 2014

By Mike Sonksen

"Love Thy Neighbor," opening on Saturday, January 25 at the Craft & Folk Art Museum, is the first solo museum exhibition of Leimert Park artist Timothy Washington. This long overdue solo show is a watershed event for Washington, a Chouinard Art School graduate, classically trained in painting, drawing and sculpture, who has been a part of numerous group shows over the last 40 years but has never had his own solo museum exhibition. This week L.A. Letters pays tribute to Washington, and briefly highlights the groundbreaking Black assemblage art movement that came to rise within Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s.

Timothy Washington was born in 1946 and grew up in South Los Angeles. He spent his childhood collecting discarded objects and drawing influence from Simon Rodia's Watts Towers. After graduating from Dorsey High School, he earned a scholarship to Chouinard Art Institute, where he received his B.F.A. in 1969. Chouinard later merged with Cal Arts in Valencia, but for several decades it was near MacArthur Park when the area was known for galleries, architects, and artist studios on streets like Seventh or Wilshire. Washington flourished in Chouinard's lively environment; there are myths that Langer's Delicatessen on Alvarado would stay open to the wee hours filled with art students. Otis Art College was also in the neighborhood before it moved to Westchester in the 1980s. The area near MacArthur Park has a long history with the arts.

Washington was one of the youngest participants in the canon of Los Angeles' influential Black assemblage artists like David Hammons, Betye Saar, John Outerbridge, and Noah Purifoy. As contemporaries of the the L.A. Rebellion school of filmmakers, Horace Tapscott's Pan African People's Arkestra, and the Watts Tower Arts Center, among many other arts organizations, these artists "began to redefine black consciousness in art," writes scholar Daniel Widener. Washington is especially known for his folk art assemblage work, associated with Black heritage and spirituality. Read more.

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