Culture

Latin American Art Goes Global With These Expansive Exhibitions

by Liz Ohanesian

January 26, 2018
Photo by Michael Christopher Brown, used with permission.

For years, art institutions have been criticized for only populating their galleries with artists who were anything but diverse.

Recently, however, a widespread arts initiative has aimed to change that perception by presenting the works of Latino artists across dozens of institutions in Southern California.

The exhibition is called “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.” It was launched in September 2017 with the help of $16.3 million in grants from the Getty Foundation. And soon, this initiative will bring some of these shows to museums and galleries across the country.  

Their goal: rewrite art history.

It sounds ambitious, but it was a necessary move.

In a time where immigration has become a crucial issue dominating our political discourse, “PST: LA/LA” helped Southern California institutions reflect the true cultural makeup of the region. In Los Angeles County, Census data shows that 47.7% of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latin American, but the regional art world didn’t quite reflect the population. “PST: LA/LA” is an attempt to rectify that disparity with exhibitions showcasing the diversity of both art in Latin America and the work of Latin American artists in the United States.

Photo by Javier Calvo, used with permission.

It took five years of preparation, but the initiative was a rousing success. From museums to universities to art galleries, more than 140 venues participated in showcasing the work of more than 1,100 artists. While some of “PST: LA/LA” exhibitions are officially coming to an end in Southern California on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, some of the shows are hitting the road, bound for destinations across the U.S. and abroad.

From displays of beautiful pre-Hispanic artifacts to groundbreaking performance art by cutting-edge contemporary artists, “PST: LA/LA” is significant not just for its focus on Latin American artists, but for the breadth and scope of the exhibitions included in the initiative. But, it wasn't just centuries that “PST: LA/LA” spanned — these exhibits crossed borders too. Shows also explored the ethnic diversity in Latin America, from Afro-Brazilian to Chinese-Caribbean. It delved into artistic practices by marginalized or overlooked communities like the pioneering feminist artists featured in the show “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985” — which will tour Brooklyn and São Paulo this year — and the work of queer artists in “Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.”

“PST: LA/LA” also highlighted Latin American artists with landmark retrospectives. Body positive photographer Laura Aguilar has a career that goes back to the 1980s, but her exhibition "Show and Tell" — which is set to head to the Frost Art Museum in Miami in March 2018 — is the first expansive survey of her work. “Aztlán to Magulandia: The Journey of Chicano Artist Gilbert ‘Magu’ Luján” is the first survey of the late artist Gilbert “Magu” Lujá, who, as part of the collective Los Four, helped kickstart the Chicano Arts movement in 1970s Los Angeles. 

For “PST: LA/LA,” showcasing Latin American artists throughout Southern California was only beginning. Now, they’re bringing them to the world.

Below are forthcoming dates for “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” exhibits around the world:

Photo by Laura Aguilar, used with permission.

Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell
Originally presented at the Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles

On tour:
The Frost Art Museum, Miami, Florida
March 3 to May 27, 2018

The Schoolhouse and the Bus" (formerly known as "Suzanne Lacy & Pablo Helguera"
Originally presented at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara

On tour:
The 8th Floor, New York City, New York
Feb. 9 to May 12, 2018

The U.S.-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility
Originally presented at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles

On tour:
561 Arts, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jan. 27 to April 14, 2018

Mono-Made: New Expressions in Craft by Latino Artists
Originally presented at Craft in America, Los Angeles

On tour:
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts
Dec.15, 2018, to Sept. 8, 2019

David Lamelas: A Life of Their Own
Originally presented at the California State University, Long Beach/University Art Museum

On tour:
Fundación Costantini, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Argentina
March 23 to June 11, 2018

The Metropolis in Latin America (1830-1930)
Originally presented at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

On tour:
Americas Society, New York City, New York
March 22 to June 30, 2018

Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas
Originally presented at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

On tour:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Feb. 27 to May 28, 2018

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985
Originally presented at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

On tour:
Brooklyn Museum, New York City, New York
April 13 to July 22, 2018

Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Brazil
Aug. 18 to Nov. 19, 2018

Painted in Mexico, 1700-1790: Pinxit Mexici
Originally presented at Los Angeles County Museum of Art

On tour:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York
April 24 to July 22, 2018

Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals Under Siege
Originally presented at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Los Angeles

On tour:
California Historical Society, San Francisco, California
April 7 to Sept. 2, 2018

Memories of Underdevelopment
Originally presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

On tour:
Museo Júmex, Mexico City, Mexico
March 21 to Sept. 9, 2018

Museo Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Nov. 20, 2018, to Feb. 23, 2019

Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago
Originally presented at the Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles

On tour:
Wallach Gallery of Columbia University, New York City, New York
May 2018 to September 2018

The Frost Art Museum, Miami, Florida
October 2018 to December 2018

Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine
January 2018 to May 2019

Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware
June 2018 to September 2019

The Words of Others: León Ferrari and Rhetoric in Times of War
Originally presented at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, Los Angeles

On tour:
Pérez Art Museum, Miami, Florida
Feb. 15 to Aug. 12, 2018

Valeska Soares: Any Moment Now
Originally presented at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

On tour:
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
March 24 to July 15, 2018

Aztlan to Magulandia: The Journey of Chicano Artist Gilbert 'Magu' Luján
Originally presented at the University Art Galleries, University of California, Irvine

On tour:
Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, California
June 2 to Sept. 29, 2018

Share image (Tlacolulokos, Untitled, 2017) by Faust Nahúm, courtesy of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.

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Latin American Art Goes Global With These Expansive Exhibitions