Gusmano Cesaretti | Notes on Looking

Go Tell It on the Mountain, Papel Tejido, JC Muñoz Hernandez, East LA Photos, Paper Fashion, Ave 50 Chicanos & Brinco

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit the studio of artist and curator Nery Gabriel Lemus.  Lemus, who was raised in Los Angeles by Guatemalan parents, combines fine art with social and political beliefs and bi-cultural issues.   Through his use of drawing, painting, installation and video, Lemus is able to discuss issues of stereotypes, immigration, poverty, domestic violence, and prejudice. Many of the works he shared with me revealed the division between African-Americans and Latinos, such as in his series Black is Brown and Brown is Beautiful which focuses on the prejudices Latinos have toward African Americans, and in his barber shop series Fallen Nature and the Two Cities, in which Lemus documents a stylized haircut shared between African Americans and Latinos. In his series Friction of Distance (which was shown at Steve Turner Gallery), Lemus juxtaposed and appropriated images to make the audience compare and contrast birds and humans as a way to challenge the issues of immigration. Fortunately you can check out Lemus’ current show, which he has curated at Charlie James Gallery.  But you have to hurry as it ends February 18th. Go Tell It on the Mountain appropriately opened during the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as the show stems from the inspiration Lemus found in James Baldwin’s 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain.  The novel reveals the double-sided role of the Christian church for African-Americans.  On one side, the church could be viewed as hypocritical and a vehicle to oppress people, whereas on the other side the church could be seen as a place for community and social awareness. ...