Taking as their point of departure the magnificent socio political murals of Miguel Covarrubias, Pageant of the Pacific, which also inaugurated the San Francisco Pan Pacific Expo of 1939, co curators Cruzvillegas and Kuri launch me on my way through the second, even more expansive effort by the Getty and its many partners all over California to expose, inform, distill and highlight our most distinguishing historical feature: the enormous contributions of Latin and South America in our California, American and other cultures.
The first Getty effort, a more domestic one, looked at California's great contribution to modern art through its California artists. This current effort promises to be both exhilarating and documentary, and to be honest, almost impossible to fully absorb: finally, our city, our state, and hopefully our nation, will recognize the enormous importance and influence of the Latino culture on our home shores and in the world.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I was struck by how little most people had explored Latino culture in California where, as of the last census, they were the dominant ethnic majority(close to 15 million). They had never been to our glorious missions, or many homesteads of our founding fathers and mothers. When they went to Mexico, our closest neighbor, they went to the beach, ignoring the sophisticated majestic cities of Mexico City, Guanajuato, San Miguel, Queretaro, Morelia, Oaxaca, equal to anything Europe has to offer.
Though this has changed slightly, in fact most people I know still have not explored these culturally dynamic resources so close to home.
Now, they have a chance to change all this, and the Regen Projects show is an excellent way to begin. The curators have been clever to sample and spin the Covarrubias murals. And by introducing us to some lesser known modern and contemporary artists (both Latino/a and other) we see juxtaposed in the best possible way how fertile this import/export energy has been and can be.
This monumental PST LA LA effort, with perfect timing, stands up to every Obama-era immigration rollback our President has taken and intends to further push back. How fortunate we are then to get more ammunition with which to confront his mindset. This is a must-see collection of important exhibitions. Those of you in other parts of the US and the world should also make their way. California is leading the country now, both politically in terms of immigration and climate policy. This iteration of PST shows we are firmly in a leadership role in the arts.