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Abandoned West Adams hospital will be transformed into an art gallery

Art in a very unusual setting

An abandoned West Adams hospital is getting a new (but temporary) lease on life as an art space. For the next two months, the former Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center building on Western near the 10 Freeway will be filled with art and open to the public for an exhibit titled "Human Condition," says the LA Weekly.

Though the interiors of the structure do appear "frozen in time after what appears to be a swift and unsentimental emptying of contents," the recently-closed facility doesn’t appear to have accumulated all the overgrown creepiness that one expects from an abandoned hospital.

But it certainly does have a tumultuous backstory, says the Weekly.

When it opened in 1971, Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center was the city’s first black-owned hospital. In the 1970s and '80s it was a thriving, vital part of the West Adams community. But as the neighborhood around it fell into disrepair, the hospital did too.

It sounds like it fell pretty far: in 2012, Pacific Health Corp., which owned and oversaw the medical center and two other hospitals, was charged with insurance fraud in federal court. The company "admitted paying to recruit homeless people off skid row in Los Angeles and billing the government for unnecessary care," the Los Angeles Times wrote in 2013, when the company finally closed the Metro Medical Center and two other Pacific Health Corp. hospitals.

After the Metro Medical Center closed, it was purchased by CIM Group, which plans "to turn it into a residential space," says the Weekly. Curbed has reached out to CIM for more details on that potential project.

In the meantime, the hospital has been reanimated with works curated by John Wolf, "an L.A.-based art advisor and private dealer who helps corporate clients and individuals build collections of modern art." Wolf worked with CIM Group to curate their corporate art collections, which is how he got an in to use the vacant building, he told Curbed.

According to a release for the show, the exhibit features over 80 artists and spans over 40,000 square feet of space within the building. The vast size and scale feel make the exhibit feel more like an art fair or a biennial, said Wolf.

"Human Condition" opens tomorrow, October 1, and runs until November 30. It’s open to the public Friday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m..