Abstraction and the Everyday in Latin American Art

Abstraction and the Everyday in Latin American Art
Abstraction and the Everyday in Latin American Art

REDCAT hosts distinguished artists Emilio Chapela, Rubén Ortiz-Torres and Mariángeles Soto-Díaz, along with REDCAT Gallery Director and Curator Ruth Estévez, and moderated by SPACE Art Collection Chief Curator Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, in a discussion entitled Abstraction and the Everyday in Latin American ArtTuesday, November 17, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Admission is free. RSVP to redcatrsvp@calarts.edu or call the REDCAT box office at 213-237-2800.

Part of a series of events entitled Abstraction in Action, on the subject of Contemporary Abstraction and its relevance across cultures, focusing in particular on Latin America, created through the SPACE Art Collection, housed at newly-debuted SPACE Headquarters in Irvine, California, Abstraction in Action is an integral division of SPACE, the visionary platform that unites entrepreneurship, art and technology. SPACE Art Collection is the only collection in the United States focused on post 1990s Latin American Abstraction--a growing field of innovative art, which expands the continent's rich experimental tradition in abstract art and dialogues in dynamic ways with contemporary culture. Internationally acknowledged as an important contribution to 20th century art, SPACE is committed to inspiring and expanding the understanding of Latin American Abstraction within the global context.

Speakers will include:

Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, a British/Venezuelan art historian and curator of modern and contemporary art, specializing in Latin American art and currently based in Southern California. Fajardo-Hill currently serves as Chief Curator for SPACE Art Collection as well as the Guest Curator for the Hammer Museum's PST LA / LA 2017 exhibition, Radical Women in Latino American Art: 1960-1985. She holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Essex, England and a MA in 20th century Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England. Fajardo-Hill was the Chief Curator at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach, California between 2009 and 2012. She was the Director and Chief Curator of the Cisneros Fontanals Arts Foundation (CIFO), a non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of contemporary art from Latin America; and the Ella Fontanals Cisneros Collection, an international collection of contemporary art, Miami, Florida between 2005 and 2008. She was General Director of Sala Mendoza, an alternative space for contemporary art in Caracas, Venezuela between 1997 and 2001.

Emilio Chapela, a conceptual artist with an academic background in mathematics and communications. His works inspect systems of data, language, scientific experimentation, and networks of information exchange--or otherwise use them to generate the works. Chapela embraces the absurdity and humor in apparently objective systems. In fact, even his artist statement is computer generated. His works manifest in a number of mediums, guided by the principle that data and its (mis)representation are forms of expression. One of his best-known works is a monumental undertaking titled According to Google (2008), comprised of a 45-volume encyclopedia containing images extracted from using Google Image Search as its source. Other works draw from literary influences, particularly the works of Roland Barthes.

Rubén Ortiz-Torres, a Mexican-born artist who has been living and working in Los Angeles since 1990. Ortiz-Torres began his career as a photographer, printmaker, and painter in the early 1980s, well before he received his M.F.A. from the California Institute of Arts in 1992. He is widely regarded as one of today's leading Mexican artists, and as an innovator in the 1980s of a specifically Mexican form of postmodernism. Ortiz-Torres has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants from, including the Fulbright Foundation. Over the past ten years, he has produced a body of work in a wide range of media--extended series of photographs, series of altered ready-mades, a feature film, several videos (including three in 3D), large scale video installations, major painting series, sculptures, customized cars and machines, photo collages, performances and curated exhibitions that has been featured in 25 solo exhibitions, over 100 group shows in the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and more than 50 screenings of his films and video works. Over 150 written pieces cover his work in publications such from The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Reforma (Mexico), La Jornada (Mexico), and El Pais (Spain; to significant art world publications ArtForum, Art Images, Frieze, New Art Examiner, Poliester, Bomb, Flash Art, and Art in America; and numerous exhibition catalogues and books.

Mariángeles Soto-Díaz, holds an MFA in painting from Claremont Graduate University (CA), where she studied with Karl Benjamin. Her work is informed by conceptual art as well as by Latin American and North American traditions of abstraction. Soto-Díaz has exhibited internationally and her work is in many private and public collections, and it has been reviewed in publications such as the L.A. Times, Art Nexus and Arte al Día. She is also represented by the Ruth Bachofner Gallery in Los Angeles and the Galería Alternativa in Caracas, Venezuela. She lives and works in Southern California. Her artworks bear strong political references.

Ruth Estévez is the curator and director of the Gallery at REDCAT. Between 2007and 2011 Estévez served as the chief curator at the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, where she curated various exhibitions and projects with artists such as Guy Ben-Ner, Mark Manders, and Fernando Ortega, among others. In 2010 Estévez cofounded LIGA Space for Architecture, the first space in Latin America devoted to the critical reflection and presentation of architecture. She has written for numerous exhibition catalogues and art publications and has independently organized exhibitions in Spain, Belgium, and the United States as well as in Mexico.


SPACE is currently presenting its inaugural exhibition Monochrome Undone, a show about the contemporary monochrome in Latin America, on view through April 1, 2016

SPACE fulfills its philanthropic mission by supporting individuals and institutions dedicated to the promotion of contemporary abstract art that Latin America produced since the 1990s, created to make a relevant contribution to the Southern California, Latin America, and international artistic community by promoting intercultural dialogue, awareness, the enjoyment of art through exhibitions, art projects, educational and public programs such as guided tours, artists and curator's talks and performances. Encompassing a dynamic database of Latin American contemporary abstract artists, the interactive website provides context, information, and resources for the field, it is created as a project to promote curatorial and research based projects focusing on contemporary abstract art from Latin America. These projects aim to provide an international platform for artists working in the field, while promoting critical debate and creative frameworks for contemporary abstraction.

The multifaceted website, Abstraction in Action, allows for public interaction, encompassing digital exhibitions, an interactive database of contemporary abstract artists and valuable contextual information while incorporating the multiple voices of artists, curators, writers and researchers in the field. Please visit www.abstractioninaction.com



REDCAT, CalArts' downtown center for contemporary arts, presents a dynamic and international mix of innovative visual, performing and media arts year round. Located inside the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles, REDCAT houses a theater, a gallery space and a lounge. Through performances, exhibitions, screenings, and literary events, REDCAT introduces diverse audiences, students and artists to the most influential developments in the arts from around the world, and gives artists in this region the creative support they need to achieve national and international stature. REDCAT continues the tradition of the California Institute of the Arts, its parent organization, by encouraging experimentation, discovery and lively civic discourse.


For current program and exhibition information call 213-237-2800 or visit www.redcat.org.



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