Between Aztlán and the River's Edge: Curatorial Practices
for a Multicultural L.A.
Is there a breadth of Latinidad featured in recent art exhibitions,
or are the same themes and
artists being selected with no clear insight by museum curators
to new directions in the field
since Chicano / Latino art emerged onto the scene in 1974?
It seems that Chicano / Latino
art is caught in a perpetual reflection on Aztlán. Prado
investigates Chicano / Latino art within
the paradigm of the public museum and current exhibition practices
to underscore the power
relations inherent in these sites of cultural affirmation.
Analyses of power relations central in the
sites of cultural affirmation are at the core of Prado's study.
Who is on display in the public
museum exhibition? Who is (re)membered? Yet, an underlying
question remains; can curators,
art directors, and artists break free from a nepantlismo of
feeling caught between Aztlán and the
river's edge when curating exhibitions about Chicano / Latino
art in Los Angeles?
Through an analysis of exhibitions presented 2000-01- East of the River, Just Another Poster, and Road to Aztlán - Prado queries how these shows continue to privilege particular identity discourses of Chicano / Latino art. She argues that current curatorial practices do not acknowledge the diversity of Chicano / Latino art, as an example few artists by "Generation Ń or Generation Mex" are included. Furthermore, she examines the curatorial aim of these projects since collectors and "community" voices could also consider them collaborations due to their participation. She concludes by considering alternative approaches to curate for a multicultural Los Angeles by including the exhibition Tierra Incógnita, curated by Prado, which reflects upon contemporary responses to questions of identity politics through six mixed media and photographic installations.
Copyright © 2003