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The Massive Art Series in Southern California You Need to See

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The Massive Art Series in Southern California You Need to See
In the September/October 2017 issue of AFAR, we take in the view from two LAs: Los Angeles and Latin America. The regions are the focus of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a Southern California–wide art series on view from mid-September 2017 through January 2018. From Santa Barbara south to San Diego, more than 70 arts institutions will host events that showcase the historic and ongoing relationship between Los Angeles and Latin America, as well as how the two have influenced each other’s growth. Here, 11 highlights you should see first.
By Sarah Purkrabek, AFAR Contributor
“Home of the Brave” by Consuelo Jimenez Underwood. Courtesy of the Craft & Folk Art Museum
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    1. “The U.S.-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility” at the Craft & Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles
    The border between the United States and Mexico has gotten a lot of negative attention from the current U.S. presidential administration, so it’s refreshing to see an art exhibition that approaches the border from a place of optimism and opportunity. The U.S.-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility showcases paintings, sculptures, photography, and objects by artists, including Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, known for her textile work, which draws heavily from her own history as a migrant agricultural worker, and Armando Munoz Garcia, who famously lived inside his 18-ton La Mona sculpture in Tijuana. The works explore the border as a site where issues of immigration, labor conditions, hybrid identities, transformation, and cooperation are front and center.

    On view September 10, 2017 to January 7, 2018.
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    2. “The Metropolis in Latin America (1830–1930)” at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
    Architecture and infrastructure are themes in exhibits throughout Pacific Standard Time, but none so expansively explain the trajectory of Latin American metropolises as The Getty’s The Metropolis in Latin America (1830–1930). The exhibit draws on the Getty Research Institute’s special collections to create a visual timeline of major changes in the scale of cities in South America, whether the result of political upheavals, economic downturns, or architectural renaissances—some of which were brought on by the influence of Southern California architecture to the north.

    On view September 12, 2017 to January 7, 2018.
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    3. “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
    The Hammer Museum is bringing some much-needed girl power to the table with Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985. The exhibit showcases the political and social works of 116 female artists from Latin America and U.S.-born Latinas and Chicanas in the ’60s, ’70s, and early ’80s. These women—who include everyone from well-known Cuban refugee Ana Mendieta to Argentina-born Marie Orensanz, who began her career in painting but soon branched off into sculpture and other media—used their art for wide-ranging purposes, from telling the story of what it’s like to be a woman to taking on dictatorships in Latin American countries.

    On view September 15, 2017 to December 31, 2017.
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    4. “CDMX: Music from Mexico City” at the L.A. Philharmonic, Los Angeles
    A festival within a festival, CDMX: Music from Mexico City, put on by the L.A. Philharmonic, will put a spotlight on folk, pop, film music, and orchestral sounds from Mexico City. The programs will feature premieres as well as live improv, and one concert will give global music lovers a chance to hear a marathon of new and classic talent from the Mexico City pop scene. A performance by Mexican Morrissey cover band Mexrrissey will pay tribute to the singer and his unique relationship with Mexico City.

    From October 9, 2017 to October 17, 2017.
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    5. “Video Art in Latin America” at L.A. Art, Los Angeles
    The first major showcase of Latin American video art in the U.S., Video Art in Latin America at L.A.><Art covers works from the late 1960s to today. These videos will have been rarely—if ever—seen by U.S. audiences, and their subject matter is heavy: Think early experiments in a new way to express anger with oppressive military regimes and themes surrounding labor, borders, and consumption. That doesn’t mean it’ll all be gloom and doom, though, as many artists use humor and irony for some lighthearted relief.

    On view September 16, 2017 to December 16, 2017.
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    6. "How to Read El Pato Pascual: Disney’s Latin America and Latin America’s Disney” at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House, Los Angeles
    Walt Disney had a complicated relationship with Latin America. When the king of imagination traveled to South America in 1941 to gain inspiration for animated features including The Three Caballeros, he and his team were met with frequent criticism, as Latin Americans saw Disney as flesh and blood (and paper and film) representation of invading North American imperialism. The result of this uneasy relationship was art from Latin American artists that took a unique, playful toying with the appropriated images Disney collected for his films—think photos by Antonio Turok showing how intertwined Disney icons are with everyday Latin American life or Liliana Porter’s work juxtaposing Disney toys with figures like Che Guevara.

    On view September 9, 2017 to January 15, 2018.
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    7. "Memories of Underdevelopment” at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego
    One of the southernmost exhibits in Pacific Standard Time, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s Memories of Underdevelopment is a collaborative effort among the California museum, Mexico City’s Museo Jumex, and Lima’s Museo de Arte de Lima. The exhibit focuses on the works of artists in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela after World War II, when many citizens of those countries were eagerly embracing a postwar modernization that soon collapsed into political and military oppression. Artists including Venezuelan Eugenio Espinoza and Budapest-born, Sao Paulo–raised Thomaz Farkas struggle with ideas of development, dependency, and decolonization in their works.

    On view September 17, 2017 to January 7, 2018.
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    8. “Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.” at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at University of Southern California Libraries, Los Angeles
    In the first exhibit to showcase queer Chicano artists from the 1960s through the 1990s in the context of the time, Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. is a visual map of queer art between the gay liberation movement and the AIDS crisis. The chosen works, which include some by L.A.-based Chicana artist Patssi Valdez and Chicano artist Mundo Meza (who died in 1985 due to complications from AIDS), range from mail art and alternative print media to queer artists’ take on fashion and punk music, as well as artistic responses to the AIDS crisis.

    On view September 9, 2017 to December 31, 2017.
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    9. “Talking to Action” at the Otis College of Art and Design Ben Maltz Gallery, Los Angeles
    How can art lead to social change? That’s a question that Talking to Action, an exhibition at the Ben Maltz Gallery at Los Angeles’s Otis College of Art and Design, aims to answer. Argentinian, Brazilian, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Mexican, and American artists will showcase works spanning live performance to object making and tackle immigration, the environment, gender rights, violence, and indigenous cultures. One example? A thoughtful exchange between Buenos Aires–based Eduardo Molinari and Los Angeles–based Sandra de la Loza, who correspond about how social activism looks in their respective cities.

    On view beginning September 16, 2017.
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    10. “Hollywood in Havana: Five Decades of Cuban Posters Promoting U.S. Films” at Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena
    For Hollywood in Havana: Five Decades of Cuban Posters Promoting U.S. Films, the Pasadena Museum of California Art draws from the collection of the Instituto Cubano del Arte Industria Cinematograficos (ICAIC). The promotional posters were part of an initiative of then-fresh leader Fidel Castro, who was looking to develop cultural awareness in Cuba in the wake of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. The exhibit offers a glimpse into Fidel-era Cuba, how Latin America and especially Cuba viewed Hollywood at that time, and how Los Angeles made a worldwide impact.

    On view August 20, 2017 to January 7, 2018.
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    11. “Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915–1985” at LACMA, Los Angeles
    The exhibit Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915–1985 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) zeroes in on design dialogues between California and Mexico in the 20th century. It includes works such as House at 131 Rocas, Jardines del Pedregal, Mexico City, shown here. The dreamy home, designed by the late Mexican architect Francisco Artigas, was styled and shot by Mexican photographers Roberto and Fernando Luna, a father-and-son duo who were inspired by the late Angeleno architectural photographer Julius Shulman. The photo blurs the line between LA and LA—which is the point of this celebration beyond borders.
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