The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has acquired new work from five politically-engaged artists as part of their 2020 Art Here and Now (AHAN): Studio Forums Acquisitions.
As an acquisition fund, AHAN serves to not only exhibit emerging artists to a rotating international viewership but to highlight Los Angeles’ local talent. This approach adjusts the scope of access to contemporary and culturally significant artwork and how it engages with an audience that is personally relevant to the artist’s own community.
Among selected works are Mexican-American painter and graphic designer Gabriella Sanchez and Mexican-American installation and performance artist Rafa Esparza. Both L.A.-based artists challenge social, racial and cultural norms along with institution accessibility through their work by using signifying cues to an audience that can communicate with the culture and systems they identify with.
In the AHAN artist interview, Esparza describes how viewing the ‘70s and ‘80s East Los Angeles based Chicano artist collective, known as ASCO in 2008’s LACMA exhibition, was a notable experience for him that felt long overdue in its representation of Brown artists. Now that LACMA has acquired his work, Esparza hopes to bring more visibility to the migrant detention centers that have largely impacted Brown bodies.
Meanwhile, Sanchez touches on the importance of having her work displayed at a place that’s part of her local upbringing and can be viewed by her family. “It means they can walk into this space and know they’ve contributed to the life of this museum just as they’ve contributed to my life for this work, as with all my work, it is a labor of generations,” she says.
You can learn more about AHAN, Rafa Esparza, and Gabriella Sanchez via LACMA Unframed.