Your Life Work: An Exhibition by Beatriz Cortez, the 2015 Cerritos College Art+Tech Artist-in-Residence

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Your Life Work, 2016
Your Life Work: An Exhibition by Beatriz Cortez, the 2015 Cerritos College Art+Tech Artist-in-Residence
Curated by: James MacDevitt

Fine Arts - 50
11110 Alondra Blvd
Norwalk, CA 90650
March 1st, 2016 - April 1st, 2016
Opening: March 1st, 2016 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

san gabriel valley
(562) 860-2451 x 2612
Mondays (11AM-4PM, 5PM-7PM), Tuesdays (1PM-4PM, 5PM-7PM), Wednesdays (11AM-4PM), Thursdays (1PM-4PM)
CA), Cerritos College (Norwalk
ART+TECH, technology, automotive, autobody, Metal Shaping, welding, modern, video-art, sculpture, mixed-media, installation, conceptual
Free, $2 daily parking


Your Life Work
an exhibition by BEATRIZ CORTEZ
2015 Cerritos College Art+Tech Artist-in-Residence

March 1, 2016 – April 1, 2016
Opening Reception: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 @ 6-9PM

Inspired by Beatriz Cortez’s time as the 2015 Art+Tech Artist-in-Residence, the exhibition Your Life Work invites the viewer to imagine different possibilities for the present, and the future, through a series of speculative interventions into the past. The large-scale installation explores the way vocational education was conceived as part of a plan for population control that put into practice ideas about the predetermination of people’s lives that were inherited from colonial times and then recycled into modern national discourse. In other words, the installation explores the role of education in the predetermination of different groups of people based on divisions of class and race. The exhibition invites the viewer to examine critically the links between education, biopolitics, and capitalism, particularly through ideas put into practice during World War I and World War II. In addition, the installation examines the social and pedagogical implications of a series of educational videos titled “Your Life Work,” which were originally made in the 1940s in Iowa. These videos functioned as an effective mechanism to further the ideas expressed in the Federal Vocational Education Act of 1917, a historical effort to streamline people into the workforce by establishing a clear distinction between vocational training and higher education, thereby widening the gap between the industrial workforce and creative/intellectual processes. By coopting the productive possibilities of the standard tools and materials used within the vocationally-oriented Automotive Collision Repair program at Cerritos, the exhibition explores the creative potential of metal shaping as a practice that can exist both within industrial labor and outside of it, as part of a creative practice.

Beatriz Cortez is a visual artist and a cultural critic. She was born in El Salvador and migrated to the United States in 1989. She holds a MA in Studio Art from Cal State Northridge and a MFA from CalArts. Her work explores simultaneity, as well as the existence in different temporalities and different versions of modernity, particularly in relation to memory and loss in the aftermath of war and the experience of immigration, and in exploration of possible futures. She has had solo shows at the Grand Central Arts Center in Santa Ana, Tractionarts in LA, and Museo Municipal Tecleño (MUTE) in El Salvador, and the Stamp Gallery at the University of Maryland in College Park. She also holds a Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Arizona State University, where she wrote her dissertation on post-war Central American fiction. She teaches in the Department of Central American Studies at California State University, Northridge. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

To see previous projects, visit her artist website at:

Panel Discussion: Monday, March 21, 2016 @ 6:30PM

The Artist and Curator will be joined by James Wiltgen, Professor of Critical Studies at CalArts


About the ART+TECH Artist-in-Residence Program: Established in 2014, the Cerritos College ART+TECH Artist-in-Residency is a unique annual program, which pairs a local professional visual artist with the amazing technology resources available on the Cerritos College campus. During the Fall 2014 residency period (with Jeff Cain), the divisional Technology partner was the Engineering Design Technology department and the 2015 residency (with Beatriz Cortez) is the Automotive Collision Repair department (with future annual partners to include Machine Tool Technology, Welding, Woodworking, Plastics, and Cosmetology).

About the Cerritos College Art Gallery: The Cerritos College Art Gallery presents rotating exhibitions highlighting the work of emerging and mid-career artists. A special emphasis is placed on works that confront challenging and pressing issues in contemporary art and culture. In support of exhibitions, the Cerritos College Art Gallery also regularly hosts workshops, lectures, and performances. The mission of the Cerritos College Art Gallery is to serve as an educational, social, and culture enhancement for the Cerritos academic population, as well as the immediate surrounding communities.

About the Automotive Collision Repair Program at Cerritos College: The Automotive Collision Repair department at Cerritos College provide state-of-the-art curricula that trains vocational students in three primary areas: collision repair, automotive refinishing technology, and damage estimating and management.

About Cerritos College: Founded in 1955, Cerritos College is a public comprehensive community college in southeastern Los Angeles county. The campus is located at 11110 Alondra Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650.