For the Los Angeles sister blog, María Margarita López went to the March opening of “L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective" at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The stories of Latino history are Los Angeles centric, but the impact of this mural's history belongs to the Southwest. The story was first posted at viewfromaloft on March 10.
By María Margarita López
As a Girl Scout walking through the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Barbara Carrasco never dreamed her work would one day grace its walls.
After 25 years of being stored away, Carrasco’s controversial 1981 mural, “L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective,” will be on view in Los Angeles for the second time. It was a highlight of “¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals Under Siege,” co-curated by LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes and the California Historical Society as part of the Getty-led Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. It hung in Union Station.
This time it will be featured at the Natural History Museum’s (NHMLA) for “Sin Censura: A Mural Remembers L.A.” It runs from March 9 through August 18, 2018.
Carrasco stood mid-room, absorbing the impact of her mural displayed as she had never seen it before, wrapped around three walls giving it a more intimate feel. She is excited how the piece is uncensored and and it can be seen at the institution that helped make the mural possible in the first place. The late NHMLA curator William Mason helped Carrasco when she first researched subjects in the vignette, and loaned her photographs for source material. Much of the imagery was used in the final work. “This was my chance to show what I wish was in the history books.” said Carrasco.
It was the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the same agency that commissioned it in the first place, that objected to fourteen of the depicted scenes. Some of those stories do not place the city of Los Angeles or the CRA in the best light. Both had histories of injustice in under served communities. These are the L.A. stories you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
“As she grew older she became more aware of her surroundings and really started to open up her eyes regarding the injustices that surrounded her and our communities and many of us growing up.” said Supervisor Hilda Solis of the artist. “I think her art has a way in which she shared those lived experiences meanwhile drawing attention to problems in our society. Barbara is a community champion.”
Supervisor Solis went on to suggest that NHMLA is the best place to give this mural a permanent home.
A highlight of the exhibition is the 70-inch digital touchscreen that details the people, places and events in each of the vignettes. From an image of Juan Francisco Reyes, LA’s first black mayor, to the lynching of 20 Chinese residents to memories of Grand Central Market, Luis Valdez’s “Zoot Suit," and a group portrait tribute to LA that includes Dolores Huerta, Jane Fonda, Ricardo Montalban, Martin Sheen, Rick James and other artists, activists and politicians.
The interactive touchscreen gives full details of people and place in English and Spanish.
Los Angeles has many untold stories. This mural beautifully depicts Los Angeles’s past, and present with a nod to the future, also including portraits of the interns who helped make the mural. It’s a history lesson worth visiting.
María Margarita López has covered arts and performances for viewfromaloft since 2011. On behalf of viewfromaloft, her photos have also appeared at KCET.org, the LATimes, and Hyperallergic. As a film producer, she is co-founder of AjuuaEntertainment, plus consulted and produced media under her company ValorFilms since 2005.
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NEXT DAY ADD "The Smithsonian’s Burning Man Art Show Is Actually Quite Good"I Bloomberg
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More coverage of the trip and outcome at Review Journal.
If you missed it, Trump signed spending bill that increases NEA funding. Also: "Earlier this month, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and the NEA released a report that found that the arts contribute $763.6 billion to the US economy, which is more than the agriculture, transportation, or warehousing industries. It also stated that the cultural sector employs $4.9 million workers across the country who earn more than $370 billion" I ArtForum.
Curated Instagrams of the local arts community.
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'Photographers Harry Gamboa Jr. and Luis Garza on pushing back against 'bad hombre' Chicano stereotypes" I LATimes
"The Chicano Art of a Red-Blooded American Sangre Colorado, an exhibition by Carlos Frésquez, reminds viewers that 'American' is an abstract and malleable concept" I Hyperallergic
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Ancient statue of a winged bull destroyed by ISIS recreated by Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz. It is the "latest public art installation to sit on a sculpture platform here known as the Fourth Plinth, on Trafalgar Square" I NYTimes + ArtNet
There was buzz about Justine Ludwig's move from Dallas Contemporary to New York art nonprofit Creative Time. In an interview with ArtNet News, Ludwig spoke with ArtNet on the importance of public art. She said: "Public art is an integral part of New York City’s urban landscape. It’s a city that lives and breathes art, and public art is central to that—greatly expanding the art-going audience by enabling greater accessibility. A major issue facing cultural institutions right now is the sense so many people have of not belonging: the feeling that they don’t have access or that these institutions are not tailored to them. Central to public art is the idea that art should be part of the everyday, of everyone’s life. It’s a very different way of presenting art. Everyone has access and everyone belongs, because it’s a part of the urban fabric itself."
Banksy recently invaded New York with politically outspoken works I Art Newspaper
Artist Haifa Subay used street art to mark the third anniversary of full-scale war in Yemen I
The best public art opening in New York this Spring I Observer
Photo: Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services
The UNLV Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art gets edgy with "Subversive Saturday." This is a "Zines & Feminism Workshop" that will be held in the lobby from 1 to 5 p.m. in the lobby. The Feminist Zine Workshop & Lecture is held by Gemma Marmalade, who will performing prose from 5 to 5:30 in the auditorium. From the website.
At UNLV, parking on Saturday is always free in all metered, staff, and student spots.
Above: "Blue Angel: Between Heaven and Earth" at The Neon Museum's Ne10studio.