MEX/L.A.: “Mexican” Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
MEX/L.A.: “Mexican” Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985
Curated by: Rubén Ortiz-Torres

628 Alamitos Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90802
September 18th, 2011 - February 5th, 2012
Opening: September 18th, 2011 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

long beach
Wed,Fri,Sat,Sun 11-5 ; Thur 11-9


Curated by Rubén Ortiz-Torres in association with Jesse Lerner, the exhibition MEX/L.A.: “Mexican” Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985, focuses on the construction of different notions of “Mexicanidad” within modernist and contemporary art in Los Angeles. The period from 1945 to 1985 is attributed as the time when Los Angeles consolidated itself as an important cultural center. However, this time span excludes the controversial and important presence of the Mexican muralists and the production of other artists such as Philip Guston and Jackson Pollock who responded to their ideas and later influenced other artists in New York and throughout the United States. 

It is often perceived that Los Angeles’ Mexican culture is alien and comes from elsewhere when in fact it originated in the city—it was in Los Angeles and Southern California where José Vasconcelos, Ricardo Flores Magón, Octavio Paz and other intellectuals developed the idea of modern Mexico while Anglos and Chicanos were developing their own culture. This is the place where Siqueiros and Orozco made some of their first murals and Los Angeles is the capital of Chicano art. The purpose of this exhibition is not so much cultural affirmation and/or historical revisionism, but rather to understand hownationalismand internationalismaremodernist constructions that are not necessarily exclusive but often complementary and fundamental in the formation of Mexican, American, Chicano art and the art of the City. The exhibition’s historiography and non-linear narratives will explore different media, points of view and notions of art and culture including painting, photography, film, video, animation, lowrider culture and design.

Artists in the exhibition include Carlos Almaraz, Asco, Louis Carlos Bernal, Chaz Bojórquez, Barbara Carrasco, Jean Charlot, Miguel Covarrubias, Walt Disney Studio Artists, Charles and Ray Eames, Juan García Esquivel, Harry Gamboa Jr., Rubén Guevara, Roberto Gil de Montes, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Graciela Iturbide, Rico Lebrun, Robert Legorreta (Cyclona), Po Shun Leong, David P. Levine, Yolanda López, Mónica Mayer, Adolfo Mexiac, Tina Modotti, Pablo O’Higgins, José Clemente Orozco, Paul Outerbridge, Adolfo Patiño, Martín Ramírez, Alfredo RamosMartínez, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Millard Sheets, Julius Shulman, Robert Stacy-Judd, Jesse Valadez, John Valadez, Ricardo Valverde, Edward Weston and Max Yavno, among others.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue with color and black and white illustrations, published by Hatje Cantz Verlag, with essays by Mariana Botey, Olivier Debroise, Jennifer Flores Sternad, Harry Gamboa Jr., Renato González Mello, Anna Indych-López, Josh Kun, Jesse Lerner, Ana Elena Mallet, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Rubén Ortiz-Torres, Catha Paquette, and Denise Sandoval.

The exhibition MEX/LA: “Mexican” Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985 is presented by The Getty Foundation, The Walt Disney Company, and Wells House Hospice. Additional support is provided by the Robert Gumbiner Foundation, Arts Council for Long Beach, City of Long Beach, Verizon Wireless, and MOLAA’s Annual Exhibition Fund. MEX/LA: “Mexican” Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985 is a part of Pacific Standard Time which is an unprecedented collaboration ofmore than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, which are coming together to tell the story of the birth of the LA art scene. Initiated through grants from The Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time will take place for six months beginning October 2011. Pacific Standard Time is presented by Bank of America.


MEX/LA: Artists and Historical Contexts, 1930-1985

Sunday, September 18, 2011, 2:00-3:30pm
Free Admission to Museum and event

This panel discussion will include MEX/L.A. curators Rubén Ortiz-Torres (moderator) and Jesse Lerner as well as Catha Paquette and Harry Gamboa Jr. who will discuss the exhibition’s artists and historical contexts. The panelists will also sign copies of the exhibition catalogue at the Museum Store after the discussion.

Sunday, October 2, 2011, 1:00 – 3:00pm
Free Admission to Museum and event

MEX/LA: Popular Culture, 1930-1985

Thursday, October 13, 2011, 7:30 - 9:00PM
Free Admission to Museum and event

Sunday, December 4, 2011, 2:00 – 4:30pm
Free Admission to Museum and event

2:00 pm - Josh Kun and Little Willie G, performance and discussion of the music
3:30pm -concert featuring Rubén Guevara & the Eastside Luvers

MEX/LA: Photography and Film 1930-1985

Thursday, January 12, 2012, 7:30 - 9:00PM
Free Admission to Museum and event

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