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LACMA, Los Angeles, California, USA
August 20, 2017 – February 19, 2018
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents A Universal History of Infamy featuring sixteen U.S. Latino and Latin American artists and collaborative teams who work across a range of media—from installation and performance to sculpture and video—and adopt methodologies from diverse disciplines, including anthropology, history, linguistics, and literature. Most of the works on view are new projects that began during two-month residencies at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. The exhibition spans three venues—a school (Charles White Elementary School), an artist residency complex (18th Street Arts Center), and an encyclopedic museum, LACMA—offering different perspectives, approaches, and scales in each location.
A Universal History of Infamy is presented as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, and curated by Rita Gonzalez, curator and acting department head of contemporary art at LACMA; José Luis Blondet, curator of special initiatives at LACMA; and Pilar Tompkins Rivas, director of the Vincent Price Art Museum.
The title for the exhibition is borrowed from Jorge Luis Borges’s A Universal History of Infamy, a 1935 collection of short stories in which the Argentinian author draws on disparate literary sources—from Mark Twain to Japanese tales—to devise an incomplete encyclopedic volume on infamy. The “A” that begins the title announces the shortcomings of any “universal” history or comprehensive survey. Similarly, the artists represented here upend any notion of absoluteness—regarding what constitutes Latin America and its diaspora, the art that can be associated with this region, and how to approach the complex relationship between culture and place.
“A Universal History of Infamy addresses Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’s concept of mutual enrichment and dialogue between Latin America and Los Angeles,” says Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. “With most of the featured works produced just this year, this exhibition presents a unique opportunity to experience artworks created by U.S. Latino and Latin American artists today.”
Co-curators Rita Gonzalez, José Luis Blondet, and Pilar Tompkins Rivas add, “One of the goals of the exhibition is to showcase compelling artists from different generations and various levels of international recognition. For many of the featured artists, this is their first time exhibiting work in Los Angeles.”
Artists in exhibition: Ángela Bonadies, Mariana Castillo Deball, Carolina Caycedo, Josefina Guilisasti, Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj, Runo Lagomarsino, Fernanda Laguna, Michael Linares, Mapa Teatro, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, NuMu [Stefan Benchoam, Jessica Kairé], Gala Porras-Kim, Vincent Ramos, Oscar Santillán, Carla Zaccagnini, Zinny & Maidagan