Opening Reception 9/23 – Indianapolis Art Center
Opening Reception 9/23 – Indianapolis Art Center
Showcases strategies to create more vibrant, innovative cities and engage the public in the design, planning and civic realm of cities.
The show is trending on Twitter #PSTLALA
Art and Science Fiction in the Americas
September 16, 2017 – February 3, 2018
UCR ARTSblock presents Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas in fall 2017. A wide-ranging survey exhibition, it brings together contemporary artists from across the Americas who have tapped into science fiction’s capacity to imagine new realities, both utopian and dystopian. Science fiction offers a unique artistic landscape in which to explore the colonial enterprise that shaped the Americas and to present alternative perspectives speculating on the past and the future. In the works featured in the exhibition, most created in the last two decades, artists employ the imagery of science fiction to suggest diverse modes of existence and represent “alienating” ways of being in the world. Mundos Alternos brings into dialogue the work of international artists from across Latin America with Latino artists from throughout the US. Drawing on UCR’s strong faculty and collections in science fiction, ARTSblock offers a groundbreaking account of the intersections among science fiction, techno-culture, and the visual arts.
Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas is curated by Tyler Stallings, interim Executive Director of ARTSblock; Joanna Szupinska-Myers, CMP Curator of Exhibitions; and Robb Hernández, Assistant Professor, UCR Department of English. Kathryn Poindexter, CMP Curatorial Assistant, is Project Coordinator. This project is made possible with support from the Getty Foundation. Additional support is provided by UCR’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CHASS) and the City of Riverside.
Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 60 cultural institutions from Santa Barbara to San Diego, and from Los Angeles to Palm Springs. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.
For more information about the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, visit http://www.getty.edu/pacificstandardtime.
Image: Hector Hernandez, Bulca, 2015 (detail). Courtesy of the artist and UCR ARTSblock.
Web Site PST:LA/LA
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Getty Foundation today announced $8.45 million in exhibition grants to 43 Southern California organizations participating in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a region-wide exploration of Latin American and Latino art opening September 2017 and running through January 2018. Together with the $5.5 million in planning and research grants previously awarded to participating institutions, nearly $14 million in funding has been awarded since 2013.
Arts organizations from Santa Barbara to San Diego, and from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, will be presenting exhibitions and programs highlighting different aspects of Latin American and Latino art from the ancient world to the present day. Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA has been in preparation for over three years, with hundreds of curators and other scholars researching dozens of topics that will now help shape upcoming exhibitions, programs and events.
“Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA will take a fresh look at vital and vibrant traditions in Latin American and Latino art through a series of thematically linked exhibitions and programs across Southern California,” said James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “The Getty Foundation grants have made it possible for participating institutions to create a dynamic program of exhibitions. Using the collaborative approach that characterized the first Pacific Standard Time initiative, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA involves visual and performing arts organizations in partnership with colleagues and institutions across Latin America – an extensive network that is alive with discoveries.”
“All of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’s exhibitions are grounded in significant original research carried out by teams of curators— including scholars, artists, and critics— in the United States, Latin America, and Europe,” said Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “The fruits of their collaborative research will be evident in the resulting exhibitions. The exhibitions will also leave a lasting legacy of scholarship through numerous catalogues and other publications. The Getty Foundation is proud to support all of this work.”
The Getty also announced that Bank of America will be the presenting sponsor. “We are deeply grateful that Bank of America will support this important initiative, which will reinforce Los Angeles’s role as a cultural leader in the Americas,” said Maria Hummer-Tuttle, Chair of the J. Paul Getty Trust Board of Trustees.
“We’re proud to be part of this exciting project which is going to help people better understand the extraordinary contributions of Latin American artists to the culture and consciousness of the Southland,” said Janet Lamkin, California State President for Bank of America. “In addition, as we learned from our engagement with the original Pacific Standard Time, which brought more than $280 million to the region and created nearly 2,500 jobs, a cultural undertaking of this size and scope is going to provide a tremendous boost to the Southern California economy.”
Exhibitions in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA will range from tightly focused single-artist shows, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s look at Chicano artist Carlos Almaraz or the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s exhibition on Brazilian-born artist Valeska Soares, to broad surveys. Examples of the latter include Laguna Art Museum’s exhibition about the unique amalgam of Mexican and American culture in California during the 19th and early 20th centuries, a show on South American kinetic art of the 1960s at the Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Hammer Museum’s examination of Radical Women in Latin American Art, 1960-1985.
Other survey shows include Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas at the J. Paul Getty Museum; Memories of Underdevelopment, a collaboration between the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Museo Jumex in Mexico City, and the Museo de Arte Lima; and Axe Bahia: The Power of Art in an Afro-Brazilian Metropolis at UCLA’s Fowler Museum. (A complete list of exhibitions, with descriptions and images, is available at http://pacificstandardtime.org/press.)
Film, performing arts, and literature will also play an important role in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, UCLA Film and Television Archive, and Los Angeles Filmforum all receiving grants. Other performing arts participants, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music Center, are still in development.S
“Hector Hernandez and Robert Jackson Harrington: Impossible to Tell” at grayDUCK Gallery
This exhibition’s plastic hues and triumphant assemblages convey the belligerent optimism of American-style consumerism
REVIEWED BY SETH ORION SCHWAIGER, FRI., JAN. 1, 2016
This is the perfect weekend to see Robert Jackson Harrington and Hector Hernandez’s “Impossible to Tell.” While we’re still nursing the hangover from our annual Christmas consumerist binge (and another kind of hangover from New Year’s Eve), and as we enter 2016 with all the unfounded hopes for a better cycle, the atmosphere of this exhibition makes the most sense. The brightly colored photographs and assemblage sculpture built from mostly newly purchased tools and other items (some still with price tags) invoke a quintessentially American air of victory and pride. Here, though, that patriotism takes a strange form with tokens of low-level labor (think mop heads and utility lights) and a color palette deeply informed by current marketing strategy. Even without the American flags poking out the back of several sculptures like battle banners, few could miss the unspoken chant of “USA, USA” filling the gallery, or maybe just simply, “‘Merica!”
In this exhibition, the aesthetics of current-day labor and manufacturing are torn from their contexts of utility and veer surprisingly pop: harshly saturated, high-visibility oranges, pinks, and greens, coupled with vacuformed glossy plastic casings, shrink wraps, and graphic-heavy cardboards. It’s far from the monochromed, oil-stained images of industry found in our collective memory, but a much more accurate depiction of the current state of things, that is, the defusing of simple, childlike marketing strategies toward an increasingly broad do-it-yourself demographic, a demographic previously dominated by unadulterated machismo.
Both artists stick to their own patterns quite closely, but of the two, Harrington seems to take greater risks, testing his limits and creating works that, though consistent in style, vary considerably in scale and form. Hernandez’s practice is more narrow and risks coming across as following the same recipe ad infinitum (stage a model in brightly colored tights in the center of the composition in an industrial environment, hide the upper body and head with a whimsical, brightly colored constructed shape or cloth, photograph, repeat). The strongest of his works move furthest away from that formula, such as Never the Machine Forever, in which the model is altered in a more thorough and interesting way, or Sun Shower with its painted-over graffiti in the background, building a dynamic composition and layered concept.
The best works in the show, however, are collaborative, a fact that makes sense in light of the two artists’ frequent curatorial endeavors as members of artist collective Los Outsiders – their greatest strengths come from unity and working with other creatives. These collaborative works tie Harrington’s machinelike sculptures and material eccentricity to Hernandez’s ability to animate unique characters and focus the viewer’s attention. In this way, photographs become more engaging with additional beguiling props and collage added to the standard mix. On the other side, the largest assembled sculptures become oddly human, like worker robots ready to colonize (and maybe destroy) whatever’s put in front of them.
Potential energies of all sorts dominate the show, from the optimistic USA hurrah founded more on what could be than what has been to direct physical manifestations. Hernandez’s figures are frequently caught in midstep, and Harrington’s constructions are in some instances even plugged into wall sockets without practical reason. Even the placement of works precariously close to the pedestals’ edge helps to build that energy. This conjured sense of suspended action and anticipation is a unique success of the exhibition and one worth spending time with – even through the sharp soberness of the first day of the year.
“Hector Hernandez and Robert Jackson Harrington Impossible to Tell”at grayDUCK Gallery
Hector Hernandez at BLUEOrange
Commutes are something we are all familiar with. We spend anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more sitting in our cars just to get to work. The world around us melts away as we focus on getting from point A to point B, slowly becoming complacent and unaware of the space we occupy. What if you took the time, though, to slow down, pull over, and visit the places you pass so many times a week? It’s this simple idea that drives Hector Hernandez’s work in The Longest Distance, on view at BLUEorange Gallery through July 2.
Within the space, Hernandez has reconstructed scenes from his daily commute, creating foam sculptures of trees, birds, and telephone poles, that leave viewers feeling as though they’re stepping into Minecraft or walking onto a lego play set. The pieces create a very playful environment for the viewer and set the stage for the photographs which make up the conceptual bulk of The Longest Distance.
The exhibition displays a body of work built around Hernandez shifting the focus of his commute. Instead of allowing the world around him to melt into a blur, he focused in on the objects, foliage, and landmarks that dot his trail and from there wove what he uncovered into an exhibition that activates these spaces, so often unconsidered by passing commuters, in multifarious ways. For the viewer, the activation might seem to be in the final product. Hernandez showcases the spaces in unaltered digital photographs featuring model Jordanlehn, who can be seen swirling fabric around her body.
Truly, though, the initial activation of these spaces is not this final documentation but the performative photoshoots between Hernandez and his model that created a series of colorful characters who occupy these places. By bringing Jordanlehn in and having her swing these giant swathes of fabric around her body, the artist activated these spaces long before the work was put on display. Hernandez not only gave attention to these landmarks through performative photoshoots, but, he undoubtedly drew the attention of those passing by while he and the model created a series of colorful characters who occupy these places. This cast of characters adds a strong aesthetic element to the photographs as the model hits poses that may leave the viewer questioning how exactly she got into some of the positions Hernandez captured.
Through these characters, he begins to construct a mythos for the unknown yet familiar community that houses these ignored spaces. The viewer gets a glimpse into what secret wonders these spaces potentially hold, but as of this exhibition, only the surface has been scratched. There are valid arguments for whether the lack of depth or development in these figures draws away from the merit of the work. On one hand, it can be said that only representing this introductory level is enough: It piques the interest of the viewer and may drive them to find out more about the places they neglect. The swirling fabric reflects back on the idea of these spaces and the people who occupy them, melting away as the commuter speeds by.
But the other hand is empty. It isn’t satisfied with the unexplained appearance of characters and yearns for dedication to these characters and development of who they are and what we’re missing by not visiting the spaces that house them.
The aesthetic value of Hernandez and Jordanlehn’s characters is unquestionable. Without them, the work would be nothing more than meek portraits of empty lots, and the meaning and feeling of the exhibition would be wholly altered. But is that enough to justify their label as characters? Something to think about on your next commute.
– MICHAEL MCFADDEN
Solo show in Houston
My commute is about getting from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. However, the daily routine of commuting to and from work over time turns into visual white noise. The repetition of treading the same landscape loses its clarity as trees melt into a green blur.
What if I changed the goal of the trip? What if I focused on the journey and ignored the destination? Suddenly, objects, foliage, landmarks, previously ignored take on greater meaning and hold my interest longer. Attempting to answer these questions generated new questions and subsequently new artwork, ultimately leading to the work for this exhibition titled, The Longest Distance.