Wednesday December 13, 2017

Cuban Artists on View in “Changing the Focus: Latin American Photography 1990-2005“

At L.A.'s MoLAA, traditional photography meets contemporary art

Gabriel Orozco (b. Mexico 1962), Waiting Room (Sala de espera), 1998
Gary and Tracy Mezzatesta Collection, Los Angeles

At the Museum of Latin American Art in Los Angeles, Changing the Focus: Latin American Photography 1990-2005 presents contemporary photography from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Organized and curated by Idurre Alonso, the exhibition includes more than 75 works by 37 artists. Photographic styles and techniques range from traditional social documentary to manipulated digital photography, installations, and photo-based art.

Changing the Focus includes works by such Cuban artists as Alexandre Arrechea, Marta María Pérez, Manuel Piña, and Carlos Garaicoa. Despite the absence of works by other outstanding Cuban artists—for instance, René Peña´s starkly beautiful images offering ironic comment on black stereotypes, or Tania Bruguera´s photographed performances—Cuban participation in the exhibition illustrate many of the new concepts that began to emerge in Cuban photography in the 1990s: the rupture of the documentary aesthetic, the questioning of photographic objectivity, and as the shift from photo-reportage to photographic art. Cuban historian Grethel Morell discusses these changes in detail in her thoughtful essay “La Fotografía Cubana de los 90: Estrategias para la Supervivencia,”  available online.

Changing the Focus also features works by artists from Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela, including Alexander Apóstol, Aziz+Cucher, Mario Cravo Neto, Luis González Palma, Alfredo Jaar, Marcos López, Teresa Margolles, Vik Muniz, Oscar Muñoz, Gabriel Orozco, Liliana Porter, Miguel Río Branco, Daniela Rosell, and Gerardo Suter. According to Los Angeles Times critic Leah Ollman, “Humor and irony have their place here, as do searing critiques of class and consumerism, as well as personalized takes on ritual, belief and memory.”

The show runs through May 2.