Camilo Ontiveros | Notes on Looking

From LA to Seoul: Félix González-Torres retrospective, Interactive art at MOLAA and Kumho, Artspectrum at Leeum, Do Ho Suh, Gala Porras-Kim

This past month I’ve been roaming around Asia, not only eating amazing food but also checking out the local art scenes in each place.  My first stop was Seoul in South Korea.  Notes on Looking contributor Andy St. Louis, who lives there, nicely organized a detailed itinerary of important and interesting art spots in this lively city.  Luckily NOL readers will soon be able to read Andy’s coverage of the upcoming 9th Gwangju Biennale. As I walked around Seoul’s many museums and galleries, I couldn’t help but make connections with LA’s art scene, more specifically LA’s Latin art scene.  First of all, the big show going on this summer until Sept 28 is Cuban-born Félix González-Torres, his first retrospective in Asia.  We know his work well in the U.S. as he died quite young in NYC in 1996, due to AIDS. Surprisingly, I first came across his work in a Seoul  subway station, a billboard of an unmade, unoccupied bed with two pillows.  Immediately I felt the sense of loss and longing that González-Torres often portrays in his work.  But I also noticed the two pillows together and touching; a feeling of love and connection is equally created.  As I traveled around the city, I began to spot the same billboard, six in total. This retrospective on view at Plateau, Samsung Museum of Art in central Seoul also has work on view at its sister museum Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, such as two round wall clocks Untitled (Perfect Lovers), which plays with the notions of love, partnership and duality (The clocks are set at the same time but...

Hecho en Los Angeles: Slanguage, Vincent Ramos, Nery Gabriel Lemus, Analia Saban, Camilo Ontiveros

I have to admit that I was thrilled to see that several of my favorite Latino artists were chosen to participate in Made in LA.  According to the 2010 census, Latinos make up 44.4% of Los Angeles’ population.  So I would only expect that they get some attention and recognition in a biennial about art made here.  Fortunately artists like Slanguage are making sure to educate and foster new talent in areas of LA where many Latinos live but are not traditionally recognized by the art world.  ­¡Que viva Wilmington! If you haven’t heard the news yet, Slanguage is one of the five finalists up for the Mohn award.  If they win the prize, they will receive $100,000 to continue doing the great work they do.  !No hay excusas, vota ya! This socially engaged collective includes Mario Ybarra Jr., Karla Diaz and a long list of collaborators.  Their interactive installation at LAXART This Is a Takeover, A Ten-Year Survey of Slanguage documents 10 years of projects by artists such as Christopher Reynolds, Mario “Dred” Lopez, Mario Ybarra Jr., Rick “Taker” Saenz, Christopher Rivera, Betty Marin, Gabriel “GOB” Martinez, Angelica Muro, Eric Marques, Emilio Venegas Jr., Steve De La Torre, Antonio De Jesus Lopez…The Slanguage crew es impresionante!  Their “takeover” of LAXART is like the Indians of All Tribes takeover of Alcatraz Island in 1969.  But unfortunately Slanguage won’t be there for 19 months and most likely will not be forcibly thrown out by the US government (but I won’t speak too soon…).   Not only have they taken over the building inside and out (with their incredible mural on the...