On October 15, Laguna Art Museum will open the exhibition California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820-1930 as 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. Led by the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is the latest collaborative effort from arts institutions across Southern California presenting thematically linked exhibitions and programs designed to celebrate the region’s vibrant cultural history. Laguna Art Museum is one of only four participants in Orange County.
California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820-1930 explores how Mexico became California. After the U.S.-Mexican War, lands that had belonged for centuries to New Spain, and later Mexico, were transformed into the 31st state of the U.S. The visual arts created distinct pictorial motifs and symbols that helped define the new California while establishing dialogues and intersections with the land’s previous identity as Mexico.
Showing paintings along with posters, books, photographs, and some of the earliest films made in Los Angeles, the exhibition demonstrates how images of California spread worldwide. The selection ranges from picturesque landscapes of Alta California and still life paintings of fruits and flowers that celebrated the state’s agricultural growth, to works by modernists such as Diego Rivera who were inspired by the art of ancient Mexico. California Mexicana reveals how a unique combination of Mexican and Anglo visual traditions created a profile for California distinct from any other U.S. state.
California Mexicana comprises over 100 artworks, including loans from museums across the United States and in Mexico. The exhibition is curated by Professor Katherine E. Manthorne of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, assisted by Professor Alberto Nulman of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Major support for the California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820–1930 exhibition and publication is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation.
Additional support for the exhibition is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. The publication, edited by Professor Katherine E. Manthorne, authored by Professor Katherine E. Manthorne, Professor Alberto Nulman, Professor Clara Bargellini, and Professor Michael Komanecky, is supported by a grant from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.
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