Published: August 5, 2008
As part of its ongoing transformation, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has unveiled its newly reinstalled Latin American galleries in the Art of the Americas building, featuring ancient American, Spanish colonial, modern and contemporary works.
A number of recent key acquisitions will be on view for the first time, including a mid-Fifth Century carved and incised box, the largest known object of its kind, once the receptacle for the valued possessions of a Maya king; a group of powerful works by Francis Alÿs; Wifredo Lam’s iconic “Tropic (Trópico),” 1947; José Clemente Orozco’s “Street Corner, Brick Building,” 1929; and Joaquín Torres-García’s “Construction with White Line,” 1938.
Each of these additions represents the museum’s ongoing effort to expand the collection of ancient, modern and contemporary Latin American art and showcase its extraordinary diversity and sophistication.
A notable acquisition of Spanish colonial paintings by Mexican artists Miguel Cabrera, José de Ibarra and Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz, among others, also plays an important role in the new galleries, as do highlights from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, which includes examples of Spanish colonial decorative arts, silver and painting. This marks the first time in the history of LACMA that there is a presentation of Spanish colonial art.
The reinstallation also features experimental innovations from LACMA’s senior curator of art of the ancient Americas, Virginia Fields, and Los Angeles artist Jorge Pardo. Rather than the traditional culture-chronology layout in which the art of individual civilizations is presented in separate cases, Fields takes a thematic approach, providing a greater cultural, intellectual and aesthetic context.
Pardo’s temporary design incorporates a palette of reds, oranges, yellows and greens to support the different themes in the installation and further engages the space by continuing the color relationship through an undulating system of drapes. The space provides a total art environment by encapsulating the gallery walls with fluid casework.
On view in the Pardo-designed casework is an important addition to LACMA’s permanent collection of art from the ancient Americas, the Muñoz Kramer collection, gift of Camilla Chandler Frost and Stephen and Claudia Muñoz Kramer. The collection spans 3,000 years of prehistory, from around 1500 BC to AD 1500 and covers in great depth and breadth the nine archaeological periods and cultures of Colombia.
Included in the collection are numerous examples of sculptural forms and decorative techniques found on figures, bowls, musical instruments, jars, ornamental and ceremonial objects, plates and funerary urns.
LACMA is at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard. For information, www.lacma.org or 323-857-6000.
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