Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Museums celebrate Mexico independence

Allison Agsten, Director of Communications

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

5905 Wilshire Boulevard

Los Angeles, California 90036

 T 323 857 6543, F 323 857 4702




Los Angeles (January 12, 2010)—To commemorate the 2010 centennial of the

Mexican revolution as well as the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence, Los

Angeles museums will present an array of exhibitions that span both media and

millennia. Beginning this month, the Autry National Center of the American West,

the Fowler Museum at UCLA, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Villa, the

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Museum of Latin

American Art will each mount exhibitions that collectively will be on view for

approximately one year. Artists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros, David Mecalco,

and Felipe Ehrenberg will be represented as will ancient Aztec, Olmec, and pre-

Columbian works and more.

Autry National Center of the American West

Siqueiros in Los Angeles: Censorship Defied

September 2010–January 2011

Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros was one of the greatest muralists of the

twentieth century. Revolutionary in technique, content, and social comment, his

work established Los Angeles as a key center for this public art form and started

a movement that continues today. The Autry National Center of the American

West, in partnership with noted academic and cultural leaders, will present the

world premiere exhibition Siqueiros in Los Angeles: Censorship Defied to bring a

renewed focus to the life and work of this renowned muralist and to explore his

significance and legacy within the art of Los Angeles.

Fowler Museum at UCLA

Fowler in Focus: X-Voto—The Retablo-Inspired Art of David Mecalco

January 31–May 16, 2010

For more than two decades artist David Mecalco has sold hand-painted

devotional images (retablos) from a stall in Mexico City’s La Lagunilla Sunday

antiques fair (commonly referred to as the Thieves’ Market). In recent years

these vibrant works—pulsing with images of the Virgin Mary, the devil, skeletons,

animals, petitioners, and more—have brought him international recognition.

Traditionally, wooden or metal-backed Mexican retablos are placed in churches,

shrines, or home altars and many are now commissioned as expressions of

gratitude (retablos ex votos) for prayers answered. See dozens of examples of

Mecalco’s lively re-conceptualization of the art form, inspired by the realities of

life in the barrios and pulquerías (saloons) of Mexico, which show a keen interest

in the suffering of those marginalized or abused by mainstream society.

Additionally, the Fowler plans a presentation of pre-Columbian works from

Mexico in the fall of 2010.

Getty Research Institute

Obsidian Mirror-Travels

November 16, 2010 – March 27, 2011

Curators: Khristaan Villela, University of New Mexico, and Beth Guynn, GRI

This exhibition explores representations of Mexican archaeological sites and objects

made during the past two centuries. Drawn mainly from the Getty Research Institute’s

vast holdings of books, engravings, drawings, photographs, objects, letters, and

postcards relating to Mexican archaeology, the exhibition features both well- and littleknown

images of ancient Maya and Aztec ruins made by archaeologist explorers such

as Frederick Catherwood, Désiré Charnay, and Augustus and Alice Le Plongeon.

Specific themes explored in the exhibition include the Aztec Calendar Stone, panoramic

visions of Mexico, and Mexican antiquities in relationship to the nineteenth-century

French intervention in Mexico, and later, during the long presidency of Porfirio Diaz


Getty Villa

The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire

March 24–July 5, 2010

The Aztec Pantheon explores the parallels between two great empires—the

Aztec and Roman. Organized to celebrate the 2010 bicentennial of Mexican

independence, the exhibition illuminates the ongoing dialogue between the Old

and the New Worlds—a dual heritage that has shaped the modern contours of

Mexico. The Aztec Pantheon includes masterworks of Aztec sculpture, largely

from the collections of the National Museum of Anthropology and the Museo del

Templo Mayor in Mexico City, as well as the Florentine Codex, an iconic

chronicle of Aztec culture and history, returning to this continent for the first time

in over 4 centuries.


Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico

Opening October 2010

Olmec is the first West Coast presentation of colossal works and small-scale

sculptures produced by Mexico’s earliest civilization, which began around 1400

BC and was centered in the Gulf Coast states of Veracruz and Tabasco. Olmec

architects and artists produced the earliest monumental structures and

sculptures on the North American continent, including enormous basalt portrait

heads weighing up to twenty-four tons, of their rulers. Small-scale jadeite objects,

which embody the symbolism of sacred and secular authority among the Olmec,

attest to the long-distance exchange of rare resources that existed as early as

1000 BC, and Olmec artists were unsurpassed in their ability to work this

extremely hard stone with elementary tools of chert, water, and sand. The

exhibition is organized by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia,

LACMA, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and is curated at LACMA

by Virginia Fields, senior curator of Art of the Ancient Americas.

Museum of Latin American Art

Manchuria: Peripheral Vision—A Felipe Ehrenberg Retrospective

May 22–August 15, 2010

MOLAA presents one of Mexico’s most illustrious and iconoclastic contemporary

artists. Organized by the Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City, the exhibition is

the first in the United States to profile Ehrenberg as an early proponent of the

postmodern aesthetic. Known as a neologist (one who invents or uses new

words and forms), Ehrenberg first experimented in England with the 1970s

Fluxus movement and returned to Mexico engaging in the practice of artist’s

books, performance, installation, media and intervention art. Recently Mexico’s

cultural attaché in the artistically progressive Sao Paulo, Brazil, his initiatives

continue to infuse the international art scene.

Museum of Latin American Art – Project Room

Mariana Castillo Deball

June 17–September, 12, 2010

Installation of objects including sculptures inspired by the Aztec goddesses

Coatlicue and Coyolxauhqui, the goddesses of death and the moon, respectively.

This project continues the artist’s critical exploration of Mexico’s complex

relationship with its archaeology. The exhibition will address the history of these

goddesses within the mythology, in an archeological and sociological context,

since their discoveries signified an important shift in the history of Mexican


Museum of Latin American Art – Project Room

Jorge Méndez Blake, All the Poetry Books

September 23, 2010 – January 3, 2011

This exhibition is part of a series of actions in Los Angeles public libraries in

which the artist will temporarily remove the poetry books and create site-specific

installations. This project is organized in collaboration with LAND (Los Angeles

Nomadic Division).

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