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Ridley-Tree Museum Displays Modern Guatemalan Art

The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art offers a rare glimpse of modern and contemporary art from Guatemala in an exhibit, Guatemala From 33,000 km: Contemporary Art, 1960–Present, Sept. 17-Dec. 17.

The exhibit, which includes works that will be shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Community Arts Workshop, is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles at arts institutions across Southern California.

Guatemala From 33,000 km: Contemporary Art, 1960–Present explores a rich period of artistic production that began during the 36-year-long civil war that began in 1960 and extends to the present day.

“It demonstrates the surprising extent to which artists in Guatemala participated in the broader movements and practices of Latin American art, such as geometric abstraction, performance and conceptual art, and new media,” said Judy Larson, museum director and R. Anthony Askew professor of art history.

“Even during the worst years of war and political repression, artists Roberto Cabrera, Marco Augusto Quiroa and Elmar Rojas, members of Grupo Vértebra, produced work, sometimes covertly, that directly engaged the country’s socio-political realities,” she said.

The exhibit also includes a younger generation of Guatemalan artists who came to international prominence following the 1996 peace accords.

“They reveal an artistic history still largely unknown, and showcasing the country’s vibrant contemporary art scene today,” Larson said.

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, through a series of thematically linked exhibitions and programs, highlights different aspects of Latin American and Latino art from the ancient world to the present day.

The exhibits range in topics about luxury objects in the pre-Hispanic Americas, 20th-century Afro-Brazilian art, alternative spaces in Mexico City and boundary-crossing practices of Latino artists.

They include monographic studies of individual artists to broad surveys that cut across numerous countries.

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, supported by more than $16 million in grants from the Getty Foundation, involves more than 70 cultural institutions from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, and San Diego to Santa Barbara.

Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

— Scott Craig for Westmont College.


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