There are three notable photo exhibitions up at the Getty right now — a survey of nudes and seven decades of André Kertész among them — but the largest and most grabbing is the first Los Angeles museum show of photos by Graciela Iturbide. Born in Mexico, she took stunning images of indigenous life and customs in the Oaxacan village of Juchitán — including a woman wearing a headdress of live iguanas — and also shot a ritual goat slaughter and gritty frontera scenes along the U.S. border. In 1986, on assignment for the "Day in the Life of America" book, she got inside the White Fence barrio in East L.A. and took a bunch of images that form a large part of the exhibition. Lynell George in the Times:
In "Cholas, White Fence, East L.A.," the women of White Fence (some deaf) throw gang signs as they pose in front of figures from Mexican history -- Juarez, Zapata, Villa -- none of whom they recognize. "They thought they were mariachis," she says.
For all the proximity, the strength of the yearning embrace, there is vast distance between reality and fantasy: "These people live in the United States, but they have a nostalgia for Mexico," says Iturbide. "They have the Virgen de Guadalupe on tattoos and on the wall. It's everywhere. And it is incredible to me because . . . in Mexico, we have many problems -- we have poverty, no jobs -- but it is idealized here" in the U.S.
"The Goat's Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide" opened Dec. 18 and runs at the Getty through April 13.
Photo: Copyright Graciela Iturbide via the Getty