Call and response transcend generations
By Alexa Moreno Perdomo, Editorial Internship
Karla Diaz and her partner, Mario Ybarra Jr., believe that community involvement is fundamental to art. This is easy to see in the couple's ongoing exhibition at the University Art Museum in Cal State Long Beach, which makes viewers part of the conversation right from the title: Call and answer, when we say … you say.
Diaz and Ybarra are co-founders of the artistic collective of Wilmington, Slanguage. This exhibition, which opened on January 28, connects pop culture and high art to highlight the conversations that take place between art, artists and patrons.
This is done by juxtaposing the Diaz and Ybarra pieces taken care of by the permanent collection of the Museum of Art of the University with the original works of the artists Slanguage. The original art of the Slanguage artists is based on cultural significance; the pieces of "high art" serve as a "call" to which the artists of Slanguage create their "answer".
Pieces like those of Alfonso Garzon Moth eating and the installation of Marlene Tafoya's video art, Tortillas, Demonstrate how artists can draw inspiration from "high art", but channel it into art that is representative of their communities and themselves. Seeing the video of Tafoya in which he is on a street, with only the panties on, while the passers-by throwing tortillas, they are exposed in the same space as Piotr Kowalski Pour Here demonstrate the differences in art.
Although not all pieces of Slanguage are in direct response to a certain UAM piece, there are some pieces that are direct answers to each other. Gabriel "Gobs" Fernandez, an artist from Slanguage, had Polaroid from his collection based on Instagram Bunch of chicanos, which demonstrates the diversity in the appearance of Chicanos / Chicanas, displayed in response to Andy Warhol's Polaroids of celebrities such as Dorothy Hamill and O.J. Simpson. Although they were filmed using a similar medium, the subjects of the photographs demonstrate the way in which art can resonate with artists of different generations and aesthetics.
During the care of the collection, Ybarra Jr. and Diaz chose to center the pieces on love, time and access.
"To show you love – someone or something – you have to get in on time," Ybarra said. "To do this, you need to log in."
It is the combination of these aspects that constitute the necessary synergy to create the conceptual dialogue between the UAM and the works of art of Slanguage.
Unlike a traditional exhibition, Call and answer, when we say … you say has a class as part of the exhibition where students can go to attend seminars and classes.
"What [Diaz] He has worked with students on different pedagogical tools … such as the design of the exquisite cadaver which is an introductory project to collaborative art, "said Ybarra." It's about working on something, passing it on to someone else and letting it take control. It is difficult for artists to have this kind of collaboration. "
Although different, the appearance of the exhibition hall is an integral part of the Slanguage mission. As indicated on its website, Slanguage focuses on "education, community building and interactive exhibits"; Slanguage uses this three-pronged approach when it comes to making art.
Union of community and art
Founded in 2002, Slanguage was born as an art studio in what used to be a bakery. It evolved into an area of public involvement where members could make art and community members could attend artistic education seminars.
Although both Diaz and Ybarra Jr. have shown work internationally in museums such as the London Tate and the Cervantes Museum in Spain, the ability to return communities like Wilmington is important to them.
"When I was young, I went to take classes in a cultural center … for me to come and be part of that mentorship with my mentor has really instilled this notion of mentorship in the community," said Diaz. "He stayed with the community, which I thought was so admirable".
Experiences like this have inspired Diaz and Ybarra Jr. to open the doors of the study to the community. Slanguage offers residents of various ages and backgrounds the space to create.
With new pieces added throughout its duration, Call and answer, when we say … you say continues to evolve the conversation and inspires the public to gain further appreciation for a creative agency and artistic empowerment within the art.
"I hope people leave the show with questions," Diaz said. "Above all, I hope they get involved with the pieces because that's what you want with the art: the effort".
The exhibition is on display until April 14th.
Time: From 12 to 17 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and 12 to 8 pm Wednesday
Details: 562-985-5761; www.tinyurl.com/yxd6qv4h
Office: University Art Museum, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach