The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery is pleased to announce Here, a group exhibition examining the shifting physical and geographical boundaries, along with conceptual and imagined boundaries and boundlessness, in and around Los Angeles.
Boundaries contain an inherent paradox. As political theorist William E. Connolly suggests in his book The Ethos of Pluralization, “Boundaries provide pre-conditions of identity, individual agency, and collective action; but they also close off possibilities of being that might otherwise flourish. Boundaries both foster and inhibit freedom; they both protect and violate life.”
Connolly’s suggestion also evokes other definitions and connotations of boundaries—ones which provide us the physical and conceptual framework to delineate the idea of “self” from “other” and “here” from “there”. It additionally calls to mind the complex history of Los Angeles’ human geography and its constructed boundaries. Native Americans settled in the Los Angeles Basin around 500 BCE, and in 1781, eleven families of African, Native American, and European descent settled in the area from Spanish-controlled Mexico. Since its founding, Los Angeles (El Pueblo de la Reina de los Ángeles) has always been a hybrid, fluid and intersectional space, with diverse peoples from many parts of the world.
Diverse in nature and practice, the artists in Here, who are all connected to Los Angeles, explore/challenge/reimagine/implicate boundaries through different media and modes of presentation. Mario Ybarra Jr.’s installation examines his neighborhood in Los Angeles’ Harbor Region, where global trade and the petroleum industry provide a means of subsistence for many of its residents, but also where class boundaries become heightened, and residents inhale the deathly effects of the localized economy. Gloria Galvez’s video probes the contradictions embodied by a particular wall in her neighborhood that divides public from private yet acts as a locus for unity and resistance. Using colorants and pigments native to the Los Angeles area, Sandy Rodriguez maps state sanctioned violence from the colonial period to the present in the Los Angeles Basin. iris yirei hu breaks the historic and cultural boundaries of Los Angeles by exploring women-centered, intergenerational, and transcultural transmissions through objects and sounds. While Umar Rashid’s paintings reimagine Los Angeles’ colonial past, obscuring the boundaries between history and fantasy, and Sandra de la Loza performs and documents the vestiges Los Angeles’ early transportation infrastructure that helped create and perpetuate Los Angeles’ early race and class divisions.
The artists assembled in Here investigate the localized frictions, hybridity, and fluidity of local barriers, to uncover the bounded and unbounded landscapes that make up the city of Angels.
Here features work by: Heimir Björgúlfsson, Sandra de la Loza, Gajin Fujita, Gloria Galvez, iris yirei hu, Annetta Kapon, Patrick Martinez, Jane C. Mi, Alison O’Daniel, Renée Petropoulos, Nancy Popp, Umar Rashid, Sandy Rodriguez, Anna Sew Hoy, Fran Siegel, Henry Taylor and Mario Ybarra Jr.