Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA) is an art archive, library, and exhibition platform that collects underexposed artistic modes of expression happening in our current moment. Challenging established concepts of the archive and art space, LACA sustains a unique experimental environment for critical inquiry, artistic research, and public dialogue. The collection at LACA is artist–run, meaning that living artists are donating, deciding what is valuable and generating language for inventorying their work on their own terms. LACA is not affiliated with a larger institution and as such, it maintains an archive free from limitations associated with prevailing, traditional structures.
We welcome curators, researchers, writers, students, artists and anyone interested in contemporary art.
The Archive houses and catalogues art-related objects, with a special focus on underexposed artistic modes of expression and ephemeral materials. The Archive includes studio and performance ephemera, artists’ writings, audio-visual recordings, digital media files and institutional archives of artist-run spaces.
Our Library includes local and international limited edition artist books that are important to the Los Angeles and global contemporary art landscapes.
A comprehensive online database of the Archive and Library is fully searchable through the LACA website. The archive currently has 690 art publishers, 5,000 artist books, 2,700 artists in the directory, and over 15,000 processed items in its repository. LACA's has a significant amount of unprocessed items that can be accessed in person.
It is LACA’s goal to counter processes that create hegemonic archives and narratives of art happening in LA. Instead, LACA provides a platform for multiple and complex histories to take shape and interact. LACA does this through its core program of maintaining and activating its collection. This includes inviting Archivists coming from various backgrounds to bring insight and speak to a variety of subjectivities, such as being undocumented, being an immigrant or immigrant adjacent, understanding cultural assimilation, and being a BIPOC in the arts.
Activating the collection includes free public programming of performances, independent press book releases and pedagogical group workshops, screenings, solo and group exhibitions that focus on ideas around a shared cultural memory.
LACA is located in Chinatown’s Asian Center, and shares its space next to Hip Woo Hong, Chinatown Pharmacy, and Bel Ami Gallery. From 2013-2016, the archive was located in a complex shared with François Ghebaly Gallery and Fahrenheit by the FLAX Foundation. LACA grew out of frequent collaborates with Human Resources, a nonprofit performing arts organization located in Chinatown.
Management and Organization
Jae Hwan Lim
LACA is a registered nonprofit organization.