William E. Jones ‘Imitation of Christ’

Installation view 'Imitation of Christ' (curated by William E. Jones), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2013
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Houseguest is a series of exhibitions at the Hammer Museum that invites artists to curate an exhibition based on the Museum’s and UCLA’s diverse collections. For this exhibition, entitled Imitation of Christ, Los Angeles-based artist William E. Jones was inspired by a photograph of a wounded guerrilla fighter taken by Pedro Meyer in Nicaragua in the early 1980s. The selection of works is loosely based upon aspects of this powerful and disturbing photograph; among them are the nudity and concealment of the subject’s body, its status as a document of the trauma of war, and the notion that its subject has made a sacrifice for a higher purpose. The exhibition also asks two separate questions–How is it possible to make an image of revolution? How is it possible to make a religious image?–and suggests that they have profound connections. Imitation of Christ encompasses a diverse range of objects, including Renaissance and Baroque prints and drawings, documentary photographs, Latin American art, and rare books. The exhibition draws from the collection of the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at the Hammer Museum and from the Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections.