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Amon Carter Museum of American Art - An American Collection


Gabriel Orozco,  Untitled , 2016 (detail). Image courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City. Photo by Estudio Michel Zabé.

Joining the Getty and the arts organizations across the region for Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American art in dialogue with Los Angeles, the Marciano Art Foundation welcomes the opportunity to highlight Latin American artists in the Marciano Collection, reinforcing the Foundation’s focus on revealing an active global dialogue and drawing connections amongst a diverse group of international and Los Angeles-based artists.

Presented in the Foundation’s third floor Ballroom Gallery, the exhibition features work by artists from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, including Allora & Calzadilla, Pia Camil, Alex Da Corte, Jose Dávila, Haroldo Higa, Gabriel Kuri, Gabriel Orozco, Damián Ortega, Analia Saban, Gabriel Sierra, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Erika Verzutti.

Please note, two additional works are on view outside of the Ballroom Gallery: Adrián Villar Rojas’s  Two Suns (II) (2015), a monumental replica of Michelangelo’s  David , can be viewed in the backstage of the ground floor theater, and Erika Verzutti’s new work,  Centipede (2017), hangs on the building’s north wall, beside the parking lot.

Damián Ortega,  Tool in the expanded field. Dissection in the open  space (Alexander Calder tool), 2013. ©Damian Ortega and White Cube

Gabriel Orozco,  Untitled , 2016 (detail). Image courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City. Photo by Estudio Michel Zabé.

Joining the Getty and the arts organizations across the region for Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American art in dialogue with Los Angeles, the Marciano Art Foundation welcomes the opportunity to highlight Latin American artists in the Marciano Collection, reinforcing the Foundation’s focus on revealing an active global dialogue and drawing connections amongst a diverse group of international and Los Angeles-based artists.

Presented in the Foundation’s third floor Ballroom Gallery, the exhibition features work by artists from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, including Allora & Calzadilla, Pia Camil, Alex Da Corte, Jose Dávila, Haroldo Higa, Gabriel Kuri, Gabriel Orozco, Damián Ortega, Analia Saban, Gabriel Sierra, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Erika Verzutti.

Please note, two additional works are on view outside of the Ballroom Gallery: Adrián Villar Rojas’s  Two Suns (II) (2015), a monumental replica of Michelangelo’s  David , can be viewed in the backstage of the ground floor theater, and Erika Verzutti’s new work,  Centipede (2017), hangs on the building’s north wall, beside the parking lot.

Damián Ortega,  Tool in the expanded field. Dissection in the open  space (Alexander Calder tool), 2013. ©Damian Ortega and White Cube

Having thoroughly enjoyed Vivien Johnson’s previous book, Once Upon a Time in Papunya , her attempt to chronicle the rise of Papunya Tula Artists, I didn’t really think twice when Rosina Di Marzo of New South Books reached out to ask if I would be interested in reviewing Johnson’s newest publication, Streets of Papunya: the re-invention of Papunya painting .  A few weeks late the handsome volume appeared in my mailbox, and I settled in to read.

Johnson’s allegiance to the town of Papunya itself has not wavered over four decades since she and her husband at the time, the artist Tim Johnson, trekked out to the settlement to investigate the new art movement that was taking shape there.  And although the town donated its name to the longest-lived and most prosperous Aboriginal art company to date, the force of the movement went west, “Kintorelakatu,” as the Warumpi Band sang it, in the great exodus of the Pintupi to their homelands, first at Kintore, or Walungurru, and later even farther west at Kiwirrkura, where the movement and the company continue to flourish to this day.

In recent years, with the flourishing of the desert art movement again in the central and southern reaches, Papunya’s name has come into common parlance in a new way, associated now with Papunya Tjupi, a new company that remains firmly rooted in the Honey Ant, or Tjupi, Dreaming.  In her new book, Johnson sets out to chronicle art in the town of Papunya from the early day soy the 1950s up to the present, and in doing so she has woven a story that fills in many blanks and provides much-needed continuity.  She has also, for me, told a tale that evoked many partly forgotten memories of my own earliest explorations of the art of the desert.

The literal streets of Papunya have long held a fascination for me, ever since I first saw an aerial view of the town that displayed an uncanny resemblance to a traditional sand drawing of four people seated around a campsite.  It took a while to track down the origin of this striking design as documented in the Rev. J. H. Downing’s Aboriginal ‘Dreamings’ and Town Plans: a report on traditional Aboriginal camp layout in relation to town planning (Institute for Aboriginal Development, 1979).

The conscious decision to pattern the settlement’s growth on the honey-ant designs has found new expression in recent times. The legacy of the founders of the Papunya art movement (as distinct, in some cases, from the founders of Papunya Tula) now lives on in the streets of Papunya, which bear names like Warungkula Court and Possum Crescent.  In a new access of pride in their history, the residents of Papunya, many of whom are direct descendants of the old men who initiated the painting movement and became it earliest household names, have rememorialized the families that are the backbone of tradition in the community.

Johnson’s history begins in the 1950s, an early chapter being the story of Albert Namatjira’s six months of court-ordered house arrest after his conviction for supplying alcohol to a “ward of the state.”  The presence of the most famous Aboriginal artist of all time in the town seems to have ignited a keener interest in the production of art, although the majority of the earliest attempts were either watercolors in the style of the master, or wood carvings that, despite their complexity and beauty, could easily be hawked to the tourist trade.


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