Breaking down borders and walls is the call to action for "Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA," the Getty Foundation-supported initiative showcasing Latino and Chicano art and artists who infiltrated over 70 institutions around Southern California. PST:LA/LA is so committed to the idea of crossing borders, there was even outreach to institutions from San Diego to Santa Barbara. To my delight, inland cities are also included as venues.
On Saturday, Riverside Art Museum's "Myth & Mirage: Inland Southern California, Birthplace of the Spanish Colonial Revival" will have a joint reception with UCR ARTSblock's "Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas," two exhibitions that refer to different fantasies: California infrastructure creating a myth of the land, and science fiction-driven identity of aliens.
"Myth and Mirage" is housed in the Riverside Art Museum, a Mediterranean Revival standout with a red clay roof, designed for the YWCA by Julia Morgan in 1929. The building shows how the architect behind Hearst Castle and the Herald Examiner could create intimate curbside appeal that fits in with a California fantasy. That built mirage is the main theme of the exhibition: how Spanish Colonial Revival came from an imagined history that gave California a visual identity.
"We sought to make clear that Mexican and Spanish Colonial artistic and cultural traditions were the fundamental basis for the majority of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, but that the mostly-Anglo patrons, architects, and civic leaders who commissioned these sites created idyllic, hybridized, and ultimately completely fantastical interpretations," says Lindsey Rossi, curator of "Myth & Mirage."
In the 184-page catalogue there are rarely people seen with buildings being reinterpreted as sculpture, though the exhibition has dedicated references to the Native American and Latino workforce declared as an integral part of early local architectural history. "We were curious to know how residents of the Inland Empire, particularly the majority Latino population, interact with this architecture that is so widely believed to be rooted in their culture; many of us take for granted the proliferation of stucco, tiled roofs, and arched colonnades seen in nearly every Southern California outdoor shopping area or Home Depot," says Rossi. "We intend to clarify people's understanding of it and hopefully inspire thoughtful appreciation for their surroundings--both old and new."
In an essay for "Myth & Mirage," Riverside-based novelist Susan Straight wrote: "Alta California. Colonized eternally, murderously, artistically, and architecturally, and inextricably by many nations. The perfect coalescing of architecture and style, climate and desire, and open space and money, the California people see even now in film and print as vision all over the world." When attendees walk from the Riverside Art Museum to UCR ARTSblock they will walk past examples of the Spanish Colonial Revival style, making downtown Riverside an outdoor gallery.
About Those Aliens at UCR: Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas" at UCR ARTSblock in Riverside brings in international artists from across the Americas to test science fiction's genre to imagine utopian and dystopian realities. "We always imagine indigenous people being part of our past," said Beatriz Cortez, an El Salvador-born artist, to the New York Times. "I wanted to imagine indigenous people as part of our future." That runs through February 4, 2018.
More Inland Presence: Palm Springs Art Museum surveys South American artists of the international Kinetic Art movement, which may challenge Southern California's claim to be the only North American source of Light and Space art in the 1960s, a response to European centers for kinetic art. Kinesthesia: Latin American Kinetic Art, 1954-1969 features 50 works--primarily kinetic sculptures and sculptural installations--by artists including Jesús Rafael Soto, Julio Le Parc, Carlos Cruz-Diez, and Martha Boto. Lights are on through January 15, 2018.
On the Edge of LA County: Prometheus 2017: Four Artists from Mexico Revisit Orozco at the Pomona College Museum of Art is testimony to a long-lasting influence. The exhibition has four contemporary women artists from Mexico: Isa Carrillo, Adela Goldbard, Rita Ponce de León, and Naomi Rincón-Gallardo, responding to José Clemente Orozco's 1930 mural with new socially-engaged artworks. Through December 16.
Revolution and Ritual: The Photographs of Sara Castrejón, Graciela Iturbide, and Tatiana Parcero is nearby, at Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College. "For these artists, identity is not based on an abstract concept but lived experience," writes Mary Davis MacNaughton in the exhibition catalogue. It runs through January 07, 2018.
When you are on the Scripps campus, seek out the Margaret Fowler Garden, home to "The Flower Vendors," a 1946 mural by Alfredo Ramos Martinez. It is not part of PST: LA/LA, but Martinez is a link between modernism and murals, and his works are one of the many featured in "Found in Translation" at LACMA.
Activism: Another important show is Judithe Hernández and Patssi Valdez: One Path Two Journeys at Millard Sheets Art Center; this exhibit runs through January 28, 2018. It is the first time Hernández and Valdez share exhibition space with each other, even though they blazed similar paths in leading an aesthetic in a male-dominated art world, including through art collectives. Hernández was the only woman invited to join Los Four; Valdez was a founding member, and the only woman, in Asco.
Final Note: A full list of exhibitions that are inland, and other neighborhoods, are listed at PST: LA/LA. While it is almost improbable for Angelenos to view everything, the regions that the Getty Foundation reached out to in the spirit of expanded curation makes it easy for Southern Californians to find a way to be enlightened by PST:LA/LA.