News Column

RIVERSIDE: Grants help ambitious Latino art initiative to take root

June 16, 2014

By David Olson, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.

June 16--UC Riverside's ARTSblock and the Riverside Art Museum will be part of an ambitious series of exhibitions and events across Southern California that will focus on Latino and Latin American art.

"Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA," scheduled to open in September 2017, will include 46 exhibitions and events, with more to be confirmed.

The Los Angeles-based Getty Foundation gave the institutions a combined $5 million in grants for research and planning.

ARTSblock received $150,000 for an exhibition on Latin American and Latino artists who use science fiction art to explore social, cultural and political issues.

"It's such a rich theme, and we haven't really seen a show of Latin American and Latino science fiction on this scale," said Joanna Szupinska-Myers, curator of exhibitions at the California Museum of Photography, which is part of ARTSblock.

Szupinska-Myers said the term "science fiction" is used broadly to include art that incorporates fantasy and magic. Such art can cause viewers to look at topics such as immigration policy and racism in new ways, Szupinska-Myers said.

For example, some artists have used aliens in art, said Robb Hernandez, an assistant professor of English at UCR and a researcher for the exhibition.

"There is a debate in the United States on cultural belonging and how do we define 'citizen,'" he said. "What a lot of Latino artists in the United States are doing is using the alien as a metaphor to re-examine who belongs and who does not belong."

The Riverside Art Museum is receiving $75,000 for its exhibition on the use of the Spanish colonial revival style in architecture and design in the Inland Empire.

The style emerged during a time of growing tourism in the area, said Lindsey Rossi, curator of the exhibition.

"It was rooted in an effort to create a mythical and romanticized perception of California," Rossi said.

Researchers "will look at it in the context of our history and culture in the Inland Empire at the time and how the architecture reflected that," said Drew Oberjuerge, executive director of the museum.

Contact the writer: 951-368-9462 or


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Source: Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA)

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