Artist Talk with Kim West

  • 26 June 2016

A talk with painter and muralist Kim West, whose iconic mural of a polar bear has graced the Hauser & Wirth mill tower since 2011. West’s emotive colors and allegorical scenes, often featuring animals, have become iconographic signposts of Downtown LA’s growth and redevelopment. Her murals conjure a spirit of warmth and familiarity in the Arts District and inspire locals and tourists alike to snap photographs and capture the energy of the neighborhood.

In 2016, Hauser & Wirth commissioned an expansion of the existing mural on the east-facing wall, where a lone polar bear had already become a local landmark. The newly completed piece coats the outer wall of the gallery in a sea of greens with a sightline of trees reaching up to the fourth story of the mill tower. The expanded painting also includes a pack of wildebeests running at ground level down the alley toward the main road. Following studies in painting and printmaking at Smith College and Amherst College, West graduated from the painting department at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is exhibited nationally, and is collected and commissioned by everyday people, art collectors, celebrities, corporations, and educational institutions.