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EDITORS' PICKS

“Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell”

through February 10, 2018

As its contribution to this year’s Pacific Standard Time, which is dedicated to Latin American and Latinx art, the Vincent Price Art Museum surveys Chicana artist Laura Aguilar’s thirty-year career. Since the 1980s, in nude photographs of her own plus-size body and in portraits of members of Los Angeles’s gay and lesbian community, Aguilar has addressed the struggles of women like herself who have been marginalized because of their appearance, their sexuality, or their ethnicity, insisting on more inclusive definitions of beauty and family.

Image: Laura Aguilar, Nature Self-Portrait #10, 1996, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches. Copyright © Laura Aguilar. Courtesy of the artist and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.

PACIFIC STANDARD TIME: LA/LA

September 2017–January 2018

This fall, exhibition venues throughout Southern California are participating in Pacific Standard Time, a massive program organized by the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles, which has granted $16 million to forty-two institutions for research, publication, and exhibition costs. Past editions of Pacific Standard Time in 2011 and 2013 addressed the history of contemporary art in Los Angeles from 1945 to 1980 and modernist architecture, respectively. This time, some seventy shows, many independently funded by their host venues, focus on the art and design of Latin America and their ties to Californian culture. Exhibition topics include geometric abstraction in South America in the 1950s and ’60s, Japanese and Chinese diaspora communities in the Western Hemisphere, and newspapers spawned by the Chicano Movement in the 1960s and ’70s. There are also monographic exhibitions spotlighting Argentine conceptualist León Ferrari, protean Brazilian feminist Anna Maria Maiolino, LA-based photographer Laura Aguilar, and Chilean video-art pioneer Juan Downey, among others.

 

“A Universal History of Infamy”
Borrowing its title from Jorge Luis Borges’s diverse collection of crime tales, this show presents new commissions by fourteen 
artists and collectives, including Mariana Castillo Deball, Carolina Caycedo, and Michael Linares. Many of the artists work across both national and disciplinary borders, and the resulting exhibition is a multifarious, multimedium affair. In keeping with PST’s spirit of inter-institutional collaboration, the 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica, which provided the artists community-based residencies, displays small works under the subtitle “Virtues of Disparity,” while LACMA hosts the larger-scale pieces.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, through February 19, 2018; 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, through December 15, 2017.

 

“Martín Ramírez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation”
Self-taught, Mexican-born artist Martín Ramírez (1865–1963) spent the last three decades of his life in Californian mental hospitals, where he made collages from found paper and drew obsessively with pencils, burnt matches, and whatever else he could find. This survey of his work, the inaugural show at the new Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (previously the Santa Monica Museum of Art), questions the category of “outsider art” and its relationship to the mainstream. The exhibition’s centerpiece is a seventeen-foot scroll that tells the story of the artist’s emigration from Mexico to California in the 1920s.
Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, through December 31, 2017.

 

“Lina Bo Bardi and Albert Frey: A Search for Living Architecture”
In the twentieth century, immigration caused by political turmoil in Europe enriched the culture of the Western Hemisphere, indelibly changing the appearance of its cities. Lina Bo Bardi left Italy in 1946 and designed several iconic buildings in São Paulo (including the São Paulo Museum of Art), while Swiss architect Albert Frey emigrated to California in 1930, where he built private homes and municipal structures that defined the look of Palm Springs. This exhibition offers a comparison of the legacies of these two under-known masters, highlighting how they helped transform modernist design through close attention to natural and social contexts.
Palm Springs Art Museum, through January 7, 2018.

 

“Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985”
The postwar period was famously fruitful for both innovative art and impassioned social movements. “Radical Women” spans North and South America, examining how Latin women responded to adverse sociopolitical conditions with pathbreaking work in photography, video, installation art, and other burgeoning mediums. With works by over a hundred artists from fifteen countries—including the likes of Ana Mendieta and Lygia Clark as well as lesser-known figures such as Colombian sculptor Feliza Burztyn and Brazilian video artist Leticia Parent—“Radical Women” bolsters the international history of contemporary feminist art.
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, through December 31, 2017.

 

“Video Art in Latin America”
Recognizing video’s potential for technical innovation and socio-political critique, artists from Chile to Cuba embraced the medium from its inception. In the 1960s and ’70s, for example, Brazilian artists including Sonia Andrade, Anna Bella Geiger, and Leticia Parente were among the first in Latin America to make formal experiments. This exhibition, co-organized with the Getty Research Institute, features more than sixty works produced between the ’60s and the present, revealing how video gave artists throughout the region a new level of international visibility.
LAX Art, Los Angeles, through December 16, 2017.

 

“Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas”
Early Andean cultures made extensive use of metal for adornment and status. “Golden Kingdoms” presents over 300 objects of royal refinement, exploring both the origins of metallurgy in South America some three thousand years ago and the trade with cities in what is now Mexico, which flourished at the time of Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century. In these precious works, gold stands on equal footing with jade, shells, and other materials.
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, through January 28, 2018; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 27-May 28, 2018.

 

“Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas”  
From the dystopia of colonialism to the utopias of speculative fiction, “Mundos Alternos” presents radically imaginative artworks from the last two decades. Works by thirty-one participants highlight dialogue among Latino artists throughout the Western Hemisphere, revealing how common experiences shape their visions of technology and culture.
ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside, through February 3, 2018.

 

“Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action in 1990s Mexico”
In the 1990s, Mexico City captured the attention of the international art world through the work of superstars like Gabriel Orozco and Francis Alÿs. But art production extended far beyond the projects of globetrotting figures, to marginal activities like zines, new media art, and pirate radio programs. “Below the Underground” offers an overview of lesser-known Mexican art of the period, while considering how it was kept from public view both by divisions of class, race, and gender, and by political and economic turmoil in the country at the time.
Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, October 15, 2017–January 21, 2018.

Image: Martín Ramírez, Untitled (Train and Tunnel), c. 1960–63, gouache, colored pencil, and graphite on pieced paper, 13 × 32 1/2 inches. Collection of Mary Lee Copp and Peter Formanek. Copyright © The Estate of Martín Ramírez; courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York. Image courtesy of Ricco/Maresca. In “Martín Ramírez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation,” Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Maven of Modernism: Galka Scheyer in California

April 7–September 25

Running concurrently with LACMA’s Dwan Gallery show, this exhibition focuses on another visionary patroness of advanced art in California, Galka Scheyer (1889–1945). Scheyer, a German Jew, moved to California in 1925 to promote the work of European modernist painters Lyonel Feininger, Alexei Jawlensky, Paul Klee, and Vasily Kandinsky—even coining the label the “Blue Four” to describe them. The show draws on Scheyer’s personal collection, which was left to the Norton Simon Museum (then the Pasadena Art Institute) after her death, and includes works by the Blue Four as well as Alexander Archipenko, László Moholy-Nagy, and Pablo Picasso.


WHAT’S MORE, this lovingly researched exhibition gives a vivid sense of Scheyer’s life, featuring documentary photographs and works—many of them inscribed—gifted to Scheyer by their creators.

Image: Paul Klee, Possibilities at Sea, 1932, encaustic and sand on canvas, 38 1/4 x 37 5/8 inches. Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection. © Norton Simon Museum.

Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959 – 1971

March 19–September 10

Heiress to the 3M fortune, Virginia Dwan opened her first gallery in Westwood, in Los Angeles, in 1959; she established a second space in New York City in 1965. She promoted such emerging American art movements as Neo-Dada, Pop, Minimalism, Land art and Conceptualism, as well as being the first to present the work of the Nouveaux Realists—among them Yves Klein, Arman, Martial Raysse, and Niki de St. Phalle—in California. Even so, she’s not as well known as she should be. This revelatory exhibition, with examples of work by artists from Ad Reinhardt to Michael Heizer, and a reworking of Dwan’s famous 1964 group show “Boxes,” reminds us of her major contributions to the history of contemporary art.


WHAT’S MORE, Don’t miss the home movie, on view here, of Dwan, Robert Smithson, and Nancy Holt in the Yucatan in Mexico.

Image: Claes Oldenburg with Floor Cone (1962) in front of Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, 1963. Copyright © Claes Oldenburg. Photograph courtesy Oldenburg van Bruggen Studio.

VOICES

Art in America talks to artists, curators, and other leading figures about their favorite current exhibitions.


Artist Tala Madani on the shows she’s looking forward to in L.A.

“Because of Pacific Standard Time, it’s going to be a really exciting art season in Los Angeles.”

Image: Juan José Gurrola, Señora con pan (Woman with Bread), from the series “Dom Art,” 1962/2014, transfer on canvas, 72 by 70 by 2 inches. Courtesy of House of Gaga.

MUSEUM CALENDAR

Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911–2011

June 26, 2017–October 21, 2018

Anna Maria Maiolino

August 4, 2017–November 27, 2017

Abigail Deville (project room)

September 9, 2017–December 31, 2017

Martín Ramírez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation

September 9, 2017–December 31, 2017

The U.S. – Mexico Border; Place, Imagination, and Possibility (Part of PST: LA/LA)

September 10, 2017–January 7, 2018

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985

September 15, 2017–December 31, 2017

Making Art Concrete: Works from Argentina and Brazil in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

September 16, 2017–February 11, 2018

Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas

September 16, 2017–January 28, 2018

Photography in Argentina, 1850–2010: Contradiction and Continuity

September 16, 2017–January 28, 2018

Video Art in Latin America

September 16, 2017–December 16, 2017

The Words of Others: León Ferrari and Rhetoric in Times of War

September 16, 2017–December 31, 2017

Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo

September 17, 2017–February 25, 2018

Axé Bahia: The Power of Art in an Afro-Brazilian Metropolis

September 24, 2017–February 11, 2018

Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day—Murals, Signs, and Mark-Making in LA

October 6, 2017–February 25, 2018

Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice

October 10, 2017–January 14, 2018

Sacred Landscapes: Nature in Renaissance Manuscripts

October 10, 2017–January 14, 2018

In Focus: Expressions (photography exploring facial expressions)

June 22, 2018–October 7, 2018

REVIEW ARCHIVE

March 19-May 14, 2017
by Ciara Moloney

Jacqueline de Jong is perhaps best known for her affiliation with the leftist Situationist International, for which she edited the Situationist Times between 1962 and ’67, giving particular attention to the wildly spontaneous work of CoBrA.