Getty Funds Extensive Latin American Art Project in Southern California

Getty_Center_2The influence of Latin American art in the Southern California scene has always been present, and it seems people are starting to take notice. Recently, The Getty Foundation announced that it will be investing $5 million dollars for its yearly Pacific Standard Time project that will focus on Latin American art and its influence in the Southern California art scene. The Getty Foundation will be giving grants to a variety of Southern California museums and institutions to plan exhibitions that will focus on Latin American art to display in 2017. A great amount of research and resources will be invested in this project, which is something new since focus on Latin American art has not been very prominent in the California area.

Grant recipients will be presenting their Latin American exhibits through a variety of methods and with a variety of focuses as well. Some museums will be focusing on individual Latin American artists, specific time periods, specific countries, movements and many other aspects of the broad Latin American art realm.

UCLA’s very own Chicano Studies Research Center has received a $210,000 grant to have an exhibit at LACMA titled Home. This exhibit will focus on about 30 and more different Latin American artists from the 1950’s to present. Home will focus on the intersectionality of being an American and Latin American and the binary of what home means to such artists. There will be a variety of topics such as that of belonging, nationalism, and the way that Latin American and American methods plays directly into these artists’ pieces.

The Fowler Museum at UCLA has also received $170,000 in funding and will be having an exhibition titled The Roads that Lead to Bahia: Visual Arts and the Emergence of Brazil’s Black Rome. It focuses on African inspired arts of Bahia in Brazil and the manner in which they have had a strong presence in El Salvador. Taking note of the complex national, ethnic, racial, and religious aspect of Afro-Brazilian art in El Salvador and expanding parts of the world will allow the Fowler to further examine the importance of Latin American art at a more international level.

Another Los Angeles recipient will be the Hammer Museum who has received $225,000 in funding to bring an exhibit on Women artists in Latin America from the 60’s to 80’s. This focus has been inspired by the Women’s Rights Movement that will bring about varous artistic media from about 80 artists from 12 countries in the exhibit titled The Political Body: Radical Women in Latin American Art 1960–1985.

 The Getty’s decision to focus on Latin America is great news for the Southern California art scene as there has never been a strong devotion to acknowledging and analyzing the manner in which Latin American Art impacts Southern California. Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA will allow the link between these arts to be made more visible and, most importantly, LA/LA has the potential to create a larger awareness and recognition of how Latino/Latin American art has changed and continues to change the dynamics of Southern California.

Dia de Los Muertos: Hollywood Forever Cemetery

On November 2, Hollywood Forever hosted its 14th annual Dia de Los Muertos. The theme for the celebration was El Magico Mundo de Los Alebrijes, brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of magical creatures. The event featuring an altar contest, arts and crafts, food and local vendors, a Calaca costume contest, and live performances, highlighting special performers such as Saul Hernandez and Buyepongo. Photos by Melissa Merrill and Erika Ramirez


Dia de Los Muertos: Placita Olvera

The Dia de Los Muertos celebration at Placita Olvera took place from October 25 through November 2. During this time, there were candlelit Novenario processions every night with free pan dulce and champurrado offered at the end. On the actual Day of the Dead, hundreds of people were able to enjoy face painting, Aztec dancers, folklorico, strolling mariachi bands, and street theater performances. Traditional community and merchant altars were on display outdoors in the Plaza area as well. Photos by Mayra Jones

Art photography by Abelardo Morell

What credits a photograph as art?

Nowadays, it is  hard to think of that possibility with all the new technologies and apps meant to improve photography so you can share them on all the social networks with only a click and a few filter changes. Thinking of photographs as art is now very questionable.

Also, with the trivialization of photography – where everyone has become an “Instagram” photographer, sharing pictures of their daily meals, cute pets and “selfies” that show how great they look in an elevator’s mirror – it is quite understandable how professional photographers are easily losing their credibility.

When looking at these issues it’s quite odd to believe in photography as art. Yet, they develop complex themes, use different and innovative ways of photographing, while not forgetting the most important factor: the possibility of making people feel certain emotions only by looking at their pictures.

Abelardo Morell is one of those photographers. Born in Cuba, but raised in America, he can be called an artist. By using the earlier techniques of photography, such as Camera Obscura, Photogram, Cliché-Verres and also various simple but yet very strong objects, such as tents, he created a unique kind of photography, and for those reasons he became an artist photographer who has his work exhibited in many famous museums and galleries.

What is most interesting about Morell’s work is the way he develops his photos’ themes, which go deeply into the photo, making a strong and relevant, simple everyday photograph. One of his collections is entitled “Books”, where he used actual books to create shadows and lights through different angles and positions and demonstrated the art of photography.
Books_02Another good example is his incredible work, “Camera Obscura”, in which he darkened rooms and made small holes that would reveal the outside as images reflected inside those rooms. He used this technique of photography to create a very colorful and illuminating snapshot; he also did it in black & white photography. With “Camera Obscura” he proved that it’s possible to be avant-garde by still using old ideas.
CameraObscura_01The collection “Tent” is similar to “Camera Obscura”, but it has a unique element that Morrell used to create these photos. By using a tent as a tool for his photographs, he shows the audience that we can use all kinds of elements, the most simple ones, to create strong pictures. What matters here are the “eyes”, all the different looks you implement to make a photo unique and singular. This is what makes photography an art , and Abelardo knows very well how to do it.

Tent_03You can see all these incredible pictures of Abelardo Morell at The Getty Museum, until January 14th. If you like photography and if you like art, don’t miss it!

Go to for more information.
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