MOCA reopens after year-long shutdown, introduces Jennifer Packer’s ‘Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep’

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Jennifer Packer, Idle Hands, 2021, Oil on canvas, 90 x 84 inches (228.6 x 213.36 cm). Photo courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, Corvi-Mora, London.

As of July 1, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) will finally reopen to the public. While many LA museums have been up and running again since April, MOCA only reopened half of their building in June. Museum staff told Lindsay Preston Zappas, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles, that they were waiting until all of their staff were vaccinated before fully reopening.

New York-based artist Jennifer Packer’s work will be on display during this reopening.  In her show, “Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep,” the majority of  paintings were created in 2020 and 2021. Packer focuses on portraiture, primarily depictions of Black subjects in domestic settings. The exhibition was heavily inspired by the events of the last year: the pandemic and Black people getting killed by police. Part of her goal is to work towards more Black representation in portraiture.

“[Parker] has said that when you walk through an American wing in a museum, you see an absence of Black figures and specifically Black women, and she’s purposefully working to counteract that type of erasure in art history,” says Zappas.


Jennifer Packer, Untitled (Revival), 2021, Oil on canvas, 40 x 36 in. (101.6 x 91.4 cm). Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, Corvi-Mora, London.


Jennifer Packer, A Little Life, 2021, Oil on canvas, 22 1/2 x 18 in. (57.1 x 45.7 cm). Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, Corvi-Mora, London.


Jennifer Packer, Untitled, 2020, Charcoal and pastel on colored paper, 9 x 9 3/4 inches (22.9 x 24.8 cm). Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, Corvi-Mora, London.

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