Getty brings Latin American artists to Los Angeles

Foundation is providing cash for residencies in the city ahead of 2017 programme of exhibitions and events

by Julia Halperin  |  16 December 2015
Getty brings Latin American artists to Los Angeles
The Bogotá-based Mapa Teatro collective, which is creating new work in Los Angeles. BORIS HORVAT/AFP/GettyImages
Latin American artists, some of whom have not visited Los Angeles before, are taking up residence in the city to create new work ahead of the Pacific Standard Time (PST): LA/LA programme. They are digging into archives, visiting fellow artists’ studios and even taking tours of film studios to research projects that will debut during the Getty Foundation-sponsored collaboration among dozens of Southern California institutions, which focuses on Latin American art, in 2017.

Every artist chosen for the residency is “breaking disciplinary boundaries between art making, theatre and performance—and between artists and researchers”, says Joan Weinstein, the deputy director of the Getty Foundation. The artists’ research-heavy practices align with PST’s aim to sponsor “the creation of new knowledge… not just exhibitions”. To date, the Getty has awarded $5.5m to fund research for 45 exhibitions (compared with $3.6m for 23 projects at this point during the first PST, which opened in 2011).

Guatemala dreaming

Members of the Swiss-born, Colombia-based theatre collective Mapa Teatro spent their residency researching the film industry through the film archive of the University of California, Los Angeles, and a back lot tour of Paramount Pictures Studios. Jessica Kairé and Stefan Benchoam, who run the exhibition space NuMu, are planning to bring a replica of their museum to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) and invite Los Angeles-based artists for a reciprocal residency in Guatemala.

Curators from Lacma visited more than 200 studios in Latin America, Europe and North America to identify artists for the residency at the 18th Street Art Center. Four artists and collectives have participated to date; at least five more are expected by next autumn. (The centre received $60,000 from the Getty to support the programme.)

A monumental billboard

After the residencies, which range from two weeks to two months, the artists will submit proposals and “we have to figure out how to fundraise and produce them”, says Rita Gonzalez, a curator of contemporary art at Lacma. The museum spent $138,000 of Getty funding on the initial research phase; a second grant, due to be announced in March, will likely cover some but not all production costs, Gonzalez says.

Most of the site-specific works will debut at Lacma in 2017 as part of the exhibition A Universal History of Infamy. Other work by the same artists will be shown at 18th Street Art Center and at an exhibition space at the Charles White Elementary School.

The Argentina-born, Germany-based artists Dolores Zinny and Juan Maidagan are developing a site-specific installation for Lacma’s façade. They plan to hang a monumental billboard covered in palms in front of the museum’s original 1965 William Pereira-designed building, which faces possible demolition to make way for a planned $650m renovation. Inspired by Los Angeles’s history as a place “built on neglecting its own past”, the project “wouldn’t have been possible” without visiting the city, Zinny says.

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