This new Fall art season takes off with a bang in Southern California, as the Getty’s second installment of Pacific Standard Time (PST) gets under way all over Los Angeles. PST: LA/LA spotlights Latin American art and Latino art. Once we started digging into what’s going to be out there, we at Artillery realized that we have a gold mine here.
Los Angeles art lovers can experience Latin art like never before. We have a special package in this issue devoted solely to PST, including recommendations. You will find profiles of some local artists who are participating in PST retrospectives and group shows. As no one can get to everything, Associate Editor Christopher Michno will be your guide with his intro to our PST coverage.
Just a cursory look at all the offerings suggests that art in the U.S. is very different from Latin American art. But if you focus on the Latino art that’s being exhibited in tandem with the Latin American art, there are similarities. The Latino art here in Los Angeles shares much of the same sensibility as Latin American culture, though seemingly with a lighter touch. Although it’s really too early to tell, as most of the shows aren’t up yet.
One of the earlier shows on display opened at LACMA in July—a teaser, if you will. The title, “Home—So Different, So Appealing,”—borrowed from the title of the most famous work by British Pop artist Richard Hamilton—perhaps served as a preview for what’s in store; I found it to be compelling. The works selected were similarly accomplished, yet also raw and honest. One Argentinian artist filled up an entire gallery with used child-sized mattresses on bed frames. Every grimy mattress had an image of a map on it. This installation seemed to epitomize the Latin sensibility: gritty, honest and intelligent, with a flair for aesthetics. Many Latinos were included in the exhibit as well, and seemed to share that sensibility. There seems to be an international bond, whether it be political, environmental or social; a commitment to making art about what matters to us as a society.
Missing from these varied exhibitions will be big shiny objects, oversized sculptures, multiple works churned out by assistants and metal foundries. “Bigger is better” just got shot down to smaller and more intimate; active not static, more message than brawn.
The Latin American art that we will be exposed to will reveal a culture that responds to social injustices with integrity and soulfulness, that resonates and communicates. In these troubled times, we can’t just be one lone nation with our heads in the sand. I feel this PST: LA/LA couldn’t have come at a better time.