Over the past few weeks, I have visited as many PST: LA/LA's exhibitions as time will allow. Prior I did my homework, I went on their site, decided to try things their way; by geographic location and by theme. Yeah, it completely failed!
First and foremost, I live in Los Angeles, geographical distance changes by the hour of the day, so that's out. I found myself in their "Hollywood and West Hollywood" category only to find that according to Siri most of the locations lumped together were in fact further than if I mixed geographical regions, such as the "Downtown and East LA" locations, so I got discouraged to travel by neighborhoods according to PST, I suppose this only works for the South Bay or Inland Empire. Later I decided to try their "themes," and that really only helped me to weed out those exhibitions I have very little interest in attending, which not surprisingly are also in institutions I rarely frequent. Sorting exhibitions by medium doesn't help me at all; I love conceptual art almost as much as Participatory Art Action. So now what?
I truly disliked how PST: LA/LA is encouraging me to enjoy PST: LA/LA. So I thought why not do this by nation? I will have a Venezuela Day, a Guatemala day, a Chile Day, so on and so forth... after some light googling, I realized that PST is almost 75% Mexico, Brazil, and Cuba... (sigh) ok so that is out too. Then the serious questions came; why am I trying to do this in a pre-formatted way that makes very little sense to me? Why am I trying to PST "the right" way... what makes me think that categorization is the right way? I mean I have my exhibition booklet and I've started crossing off locations ferociously, but really some call to me more so than others, and some are flat out telling me "stay away!"
Which ultimately guided me, and I decided once and for all... to just feel PST: LA/LA. "There will be art," so there will certainly be emotions, lots of them; some great, some awesome, some horrid, some confusing, and some nauseating. And thus PST: LA/LA is giving me all the feels as follows...
Regent Projects: Quixotic, geeky, and impressed.
The exhibition itself titled "Primordial Saber Tararear Proverbiales Sílabas Tonificantes Para Sublevar Tecnocracias Pero Seguir Tenazmente Produciendo Sociedades Tántricas" (which I will epically fail in translating so I will not even try) is breathtaking, the artwork brought forth from all over the world by Co-Curators Gabriel Kuri and Abraham Cruzvillegas is short of magical. "Untitled (Bubble machine)" by Ariel Schlesinger is by far one of the most complex artworks I have ever witnessed. The piece consists of two propane tanks that serve as fuel to mechanicals arms that blow soap bubbles into a high voltage transformer which turns them into instant flames. Making reference of course to transnationalism and the bursting of bubble economies around the globe quite literally. Need-More-Now!
Vincent Price Art Museum: Accepted, enthralled, and rapturous.
Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell, is a truly spectacular exhibition. This marks a very intriguing retrospective of the Chicana Photographer. The exhibition contains some of her most renown works in which the artist a plus size Latinx female with black hair photographs herself naked, relaxing on her couch with a fan blowing air on her face, laying in a white room near a pile of rocks, or tied in ropes, bare-breasted while the United States flag covers the lower part of her body, and the Mexican flag simultaneously covers her face. This exhibition raced so many questions for me, some about body image, some about being Latinx, some about humanity, but it also raised a new fascination with black and white photography for me. So... more, please!
Hammer Museum: Empowered, rushed, grateful.
Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985 is an extensive query Co-curated by Cecilia Fajardo Hill and Andrea Giunta. I should clarify that I have witnessed this exhibition twice and have yet to indulge in a comprehensive understanding of the entire thing. That exhibition is massive (in the best of ways), it is comprised of over 120 female artists from Latin America who were feminist before feminism became a thing. It's a beautifully curated exhibit, however, it's overwhelming; a few of the pieces are very graphic in nature, some are very eclectic, some taste funny, some made me never want to get pregnant, clearly its a lot. This exhibition left me feeling empowered as a female but exhausted at the same time. There's just so much to see (I know... first world problem), great stuff at that, but it's constant engagement that drains you because of the sheer volume. I am very happy however that I need to head to Hammer possibly five times to digest this entire exhibition thankfully Hammer realized this and jam-packed their engagement strategies by the dozens... oh yeah symposiums, lectures, artist talks, musical performances, movie screenings. Good job Hammer with this exhibition (special shout out to the design team, cause that is simply glorious), it might tire me out, but I want to basically live at Hammer for the next few months. You keep it coming, I will be there!
Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego: bewildered, shocked, uncomfortable.
Memories of Underdevelopment: Art and the Decolonial turn in Latin America, 1960-1985 (same year gap as Hammer for those keeping score) is a beautifully playful exhibition of artwork that includes too many living animals for my personal taste. Helio Oiticica's "Tropicalia" as shown in MCASD has a few caged birds in the labyrinth-like installation. Leon Ferrari's "Cage with Birds from the series Excrements," has, even more, birds. These birds, however, are making art by pooping onto the "Final Judgment" by Hieronymus Bosch (a print obviously); very provocative, very critical, very uncomforting at the same time. And my personal favorite Juan Downey's "Anaconda, Map of Chile," which features a green one at that. Ana, the green anaconda which I quickly learned is the largest species of snake on the planet, can measure up to 33 feet and weigh over 600 pounds. Ana is currently on residency at MCASD (take that artist everywhere), she is residing specifically on a water receptacle and wooden structure which shows a map of chile that she crawls over all day long, held by clear plexiglass that is just far enough removed from the surface of the wooden box for Ana to stick her tongue out and terrify me, while making me wonder if she could eat my hand in a single swallow.. will it hurt? I was informed she has no teeth, I still panicked. The exhibition itself had some wonderful photographs and a few awesome installations that I remember very little about because Ana is the show stopper, not only is she terrifying but she is also a 1970s evocation of the involvement of the Anaconda Copper Mining Companies in the overthrow of President Allende's government. Again; critical, provocative and oh so uncomfortable. I don't want more of this at all... More photographs maybe?
Other PST: LA/LA's exhibition spaces by mood include...
- Rio Hondo College Art Gallery: Amused, playful, and hungry (hungry is a mood... yes?).
- MOCA Grand: Amazed, sentimental, and inspired.
- Muzeo: Pensive, proud, and aware.
And last but not least...
- Fowler: Dancy-bouncy, joyful, and blissful (I will delve into the specifics in a later article).
For now, I deeply encourage everyone to visit all these spaces, especially those with a higher tolerance for stale cookies and massive anacondas, but also if you just want to enjoy economically challenging soapy flames!