Alternate Habitats focuses on Latin American artists as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, bringing together works that are culled from both spiritual and site-specific inquiries. The show explores the ways in which our strictly defined structures of institution, language, and other implicit acts of naming and measurement are broken and expanded to reflect inclusive contours of interaction. The works on display – encompassing diverse media of video, painting, photography, installation, and works on paper – sought historically to take art beyond commercial and institutional boundaries. They are here gathered to address contemporary gaps in diversity and dispersion of art on an international scale. The exhibition includes works by Emilia Azcarate, Elda Cerrato, Guillermo Deisler, Mirtha Dermisache, Rafael Hastings, Leandro Katz, Marta Minujín, Norberto Puzzolo, Luis Roldán, Eduardo Santiere and Horacio Zabala.
For the 2017 edition of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Cirrus Gallery is pleased to collaborate with Henrique Faria Fine Art in the interest of re-invigorating Los Angeles as a dynamic platform for the interchange of ideas. With locations in New York and Buenos Aires, Henrique Faria is among the galleries selected to participate in proyectosLA, by way of which the artists Marta Minujín, Leandro Katz, and Horacio Zabala, and others will be represented in corresponding exhibitions at the Getty Center, the Hammer Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego.
Emilia Azcárate’s works on view keep with her ritual-based personal history and professional practice. Selections from two series, Practicables (2012-present) and Gohonzon (2013-present), show an aesthetic and conceptual interpretation of traditionally devotional formats, highlighting how participation and tradition function within the existing gallery model. Done on paper, canvas, and board, the Gohonzonseries (2013-present) reference the traditional scroll central to Nichiren Buddhist dogma. These works offer insight into how, in shifting the traditional habitat of spiritual imagery from a religious space to accommodate white walls, our view of either institutional space might be altered and informed. Azcarate’s abstraction can be understood as a flexible, comprehensive, and multifaceted form capable of including the complex relationship of the spiritual with reality.
Elda Cerrato participated with Horacio Zabala and many others in the generational renewal that marked the beginning of the 70’s under the influence of the conceptual trend, which drew from conventions in architectural representation. In large paintings like Serie de la Realidad: Repertorio de los Sueños. El Sueño de la Naturaleza (1976) Cerrato explores how painting from a historical perspective acknowledges gentrification and those displaced by it within a natural landscape.
Guillermo Deisler’s alternate habitat is a de-centralized one. His collages on display fall within a greater context of the artists’ collaborative initiatives centered on the release, circulation, and exchange of experimental publications. These various publications, originating in coincidental fashion at various states in Latin America and Europe throughout the 1960’s, wove a powerful web of communication and creative cooperation extending broadly over subsequent years into the practice of postal art. Venturing to construct other circuits for art outside of its established channels, Deisler identified social networks as powerful, democratic, and mobile habitats unrestricted by walls and hierarchical barriers to entry.
The show includes works on paper by legendary Argentine asemic writer Mirtha Dermisache. Made from the 1970’s-2000, these documents address historical and current physical, social, and temporal barriers of text art and it’s display. The word asemic means “having no specific semantic content”. A wordless, open semantic form of writing, it’s non-specificity invites the viewer to fill its lack of meaning with their own interpretation. The drawings in the show provide a unique foundation for understanding asemic writing as a practice and as seed for Dermisache’s creation of various platforms of engagement that are inclusive and democratic. A retrospective exhibition of Dermisache’s work will open on August 10th, 2017 at Malba Museum. Curated by Agustín Pérez Rubio, the show will display work from her first book produced in 1967 to her final pieces produced in the 2000’s.
For Rafael Hastings’ film Peruvian (1978), Manongo Mujica (a Peruvian musician and artist) is filmed in a studio walking towards the four cardinal points. Like other videos of the time, the work presents a studio edition with “chroma” background. In the film Mujica appears to occupy and re-occupy his own body while maintaining the flat neutral expression more typical of a static photograph than a film. By highlighting differences between internal and external, movement and stasis, Hastings presents cultural and personal identity as mutable spaces and terms. His videos had the support of the CETUC (teleducation center of the Catholic University).
A visual artist, writer, and filmmaker known for his films and his photographic installations, Leandro Katz’ works include long-term projects dealing with Latin American subjects that incorporate historical research, anthropology, and visual arts. On view with his film Mucho ha cambiado París / Paris has changed a lot (1977) are three photographs, each showing change in phases of subjects we usually see only in their fixed states, such as the moon in Blue Moon (1979).
Marta Minujín’s black-and-white film La Menesunda documents her legendary 1965 show of her installation of the same name. Described as “A total work of art” during its 2016 reconstruction at Buenos Aires’ Museum of Modern Art, La Menesunda was a collection of environments. Each chamber within the installation created for the spectator a unique encounter of extremes in temperature, color, texture, and social comfort, changing the role of ‘museum-goer’ from spectator to key performer. Minujin is perhaps best known for her installation The Parthenon of Books (2017). Commissioned by Documenta 14 with support from the Ministry of Media and Culture of Argentina, the installation made of steel, books, and plastic sheeting is a decisive symbol of resistance to any banning of writings and the persecution of their authors.
Luis Roldan’s Eidola is a grouping of painted sculptures searching for corporeality. These gathered objects used to be hat molds – the volumes that shaped hollow felts into hats. Flesh-like in their pursuit of completeness, they stand in the place of the head like expectant wood brains searching for real estate. The sculptures organized in the exhibition space are fragments that invite us to continue completing, enlarging, and augmenting the myriad hypotheses that might justify their existence.
The two Norberto Puzzolo pieces included in the show were made in 1966, the year of his first solo show at the Carillo gallery in Rosario. This was same year in which he joined the movement that founded Rosario’s Grupo de Arte de Vanguardia (‘Avant-garde Art Group’). These paintings on paper show his venture into the avant-garde languages being questioned by the artist and his peers in the 60’s.
Eduardo Santiere’s works use paper as a springboard for imagining a distant and uncertain future, where playful, dream-like forms interact with biomorphic constellations. For the works in this exhibition, he used a technique he has termed “scratching”: a manipulation of the surface of the paper as if it were a bas-relief sculpture to create delicate scratches, stipples, tears and mounds. Building the composition up from the paper itself in exacting detail, Santiere’s works envision futuristic, science-fictional landscapes.
In 1975, Horacio Zabala co-organized the Last International Exhibition of Mail Art at the Galería Arte Nuevo in Buenos Aires and a year later, while residing in Rome, proposed an international poll as well as a socio-aesthetic intervention aimed at artists, art historians and art critics under the banner Hoy el Arte es una Cárcel (Today Art is a Jail). Included in the exhibition are selections from his series Hipótesis, made from 2010 -2015. Based on his works from the early 1970’s, titled Anteproyectos de Cárceles (First Drafts of Jails), Hipótesis (Hypotheses) are a series of intriguing “hypotheses” about art. In essence, these hypotheses are monochrome planes connected by punctuation signs and algebraic symbols that create impossible propositions and nonexistent mathematical equations. The endless combinations of the elements (monochromes, punctuation signs and algebraic symbols) that make up these Hypotheses are but a mere indication of the myriad possibilities that still coexist in art today.
The exhibition opens on September 14th and will run through December 31st, 2017. Alternate Habitats 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 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.
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