Daniel Hawkins (b. 1987) lives and works in Los Angeles. Frequently combining the deliberate undertaking of Sisyphean tasks (building an actual size replica of the Hoover Dam) with explorations of the aesthetics of plausible deniability (infiltrating a reality television show about bizarre food addictions), Hawkins’ oeuvre explores cycles of grandiosity, failure, and rationalization through a battery of sculptural, architectural, land art, and performative strategies, while incorporating diverse media from printmaking, drawing, and painting, to video, sound art, and digital imaging.
In 2017, Hawkins built the Desert Lighthouse – a nearly 50ft tall fully-functioning lighthouse in the Mojave Desert. Hawkins’ Desert Lighthouse project has been supported in part by The Center for Land Use Interpretation, West of Rome Public Art, as well as the Center for Cultural Innovation, and was the subject of a mini-documentary produced by Discovery Channel Canada. A separate forthcoming media collaboration by VICE Magazine’s Television Division (in cooperation with the artist) examines three of Hawkins’ larger undertakings, including his eventual attempt to mount a climbing expedition with the goal of summiting a topographically flat mountain, his on going construction effort to re-build the Hoover Dam at a one-to-one scale in piecemeal fragments and subsequent PR campaign to rebrand his Hoover Dam project as “The” Hoover Dam, and his five year effort to build the permanent and fully functioning lighthouse in California’s Mojave Desert just miles from an active military test site, roaming bands of armed meth-fueled looters, and Hinkley, California (site of PG&E’s infamous Hexavalent Chromium spill).
As critic Doug Harvey observes, “Drawing equally from the legacies of land artists like Robert Smithson and storytellers such as filmmaker Werner Herzog, Hawkins’ Desert Lighthouse project illuminates a constantly shifting landscape of post-modern narratives, hearkening back to the Neolithic monument builders at the dawn of human history while looking forward to the internet’s transformative impact on the nature of human consciousness and reality.”
Hawkins’ work was previously the subject of one-person exhibitions at: CMay Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2020); UC Riverside’s Culver Center for the Arts, Riverside, CA (2014); UC Irvine Center for Contemporary Art, Irvine, CA (2014); and Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles, CA (2009). Additionally, he has exhibited work at numerous venues including: PRJCT LA, Los Angeles, CA (2022); Denk Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2020, 2019); San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, San Francisco, CA (2019); ODD ARK LA, Los Angeles, CA (2019); FLAX at Tin Flats, Los Angeles, CA (2018); Jancar Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2015), UCLA’s New Wight Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2008); and more. He has studied art at UCLA, Yale’s Norfolk Summer School of Art, and UC Irvine. Hawkins recently curated a survey exhibition of Marnie Weber’s collage works spanning three decades, “Marnie Weber, Unreal Paradise: Collage Works from 1992 to 2022” at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.