06/07/2012 07:15 pm ET Updated Aug 07, 2012

Made in LA 2012 : It Might Just Be the Wild West After All

Made in LA 2012 opened to the public on June 2nd at three venues in Los Angeles; the Hammer Museum, LAXART and the LA Municipal Art Gallery. Presented by Wells Fargo, with a beautifully designed catalogue indexing all 60 artists and including five outstanding essays -- one by each of the five curators -- the exhibition is a provocative excavation of art in this city.

Each curator brings a distinct, yet collectively compatible, voice to the exhibition. The result is a vividly diverse snapshot of one of the most arguably workable, social and cultural experiments on the planet, Los Angeles.

In the forward Ann Philbin, Director of the Hammer Museum, introduces the exhibition with this opening sentence, "In recent years Los Angeles has given New York (and Paris and London and Berlin) a concerted and determined run for it's money as the liveliest, and most flourishing, art capital in the world." Enough said. This is the function of Made in LA 2012.

On the heels of a crash course in the history of the LA art world provided by Pacific Standard Time, Made in LA 2012 brings us up to speed in real time and with gusto. The California Institute of the Arts and UCLA MFA programs lead the tandem charge as alma mater to more then 50% of the artists included.

All contemporary mediums (and a few old ones) are represented, with great attention given to the exhibition's installation and how work interacts with proximate work.

A quality of exquisite madness reigns supreme, like someone making a fun time at the edge of serious looming disaster. It's profound, arresting and thoughtful; it's scary and sad and entertaining. It's challenging to decipher, hard to decode and it's very LA. Bravo!

Made in L.A. 2012, curated by Anne Ellegood, Lauri, Firstenberg, Malik Gaines, Cesar Garcia and Ali Subotnick, runs through September 2nd.