Home Need Not Be Permanent:
HOME – So Different, So Appealing
By Sydney Walters
Through October 15th
Organized by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, LACMA presents HOME – So Different, So Appealing. The exhibition features U.S. Latino and Latin American artists from the late 1950s to the present whose work represents the vitality and creative manipulation of material to discuss class systems, trauma, relationships and immigration.
In Such is life in the tropics (On How to Make Weapons for Self-defense) Guatemalan-born artist Jessica Kaire takes the format of cooking shows and DIY videos and instead teaches the audience how to create self-defense weapons out of local produce. She bends over a cutting board in a blue and white-checkered apron. Combating violence with lightheartedness is a theme in Kaire’s work. Despite her playful workshops, there is an undeniable and sober link between prevalent violence and necessity for self-defense in Guatemala City.
Part of Pepon Osorio’s large installation Badge of Honor is a garish bedroom of the ultimate sports fan. The walls are covered with baseball cards tacked so close to each other it makes a wallpaper of players. Worn shoes are lined against the wall and a hamper is half full of dirty clothes sits next to the disheveled bed. Item in the room clue the audience into the transition of a boy from childhood into adulthood. Stuffed animals and action figures are adjacent to a vinyl player and cigar. In a neighboring room, Osorio fabricates a stark prison cell. Its barren walls have a few family photographs pinned to the walls. These rooms represent alternate realities of a father and a son. Video projections of the father and son are on the walls of their respective rooms and they dialogue back and forth, asking one another questions. Each question more intimate than the last, finally ending in the son saying, “Dad, I would be wiling to give up anything just to have you home.” Thus, Badge of Honor insinuates family pride rather than it’s common root as a military notoriety.
In Carmen Argote’s 720 Sq. Ft: Household Mutations, the artist excavates the entire carpet that covered the floors of her childhood home and reinstalls it in the gallery. The stained and discolored tan carpet with a thick brown border hangs from a large roll near the ceiling of the gallery and drapes dramatically on the floor. The carpet’s stains and discoloration in highlights the lived-in attribute of home. Unlike a rectangular textile per usual of fabric hangings, the carpet followed the contours of the house and looks more like a blueprint than a rug. Here, the positive and negative spaces contextualize the ebb and flow of family life making Household Mutations essentially a compressed timeline.
This exhibition differs from many notorious artists such as Jeff Koons ostentatious imaginings of consumerism and Jackson Pollock’s renegotiation of what it means to paint. These artists are not as occupied with reinventing artistic mediums than they are in using emblems of the past as a vehicle for conjuring memory and rethinking domesticity. They use elements of their past, either actual or comprised, to replicate memorials of a journey. They carve out space to present landmarks of their past in order to embolden the line stretching between a point of origin to present thereby asserting a deeply complex and absolute existence. HOME – So Different, So Appealing also includes internationally known artists such as Daniel Joseph Martinez, Gordon Matta-Clark, Raphael Montanez Ortiz, Guillermo Kuitca and Doris Salcedo.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036
HOME – So Different, So Appealing
BCAM, Level 3
June 11-October 15, 2017