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TemporarySplendors?:LACMA's'Mexico'ExhibitHasStruckaChordbutArtLeaders
WonderIfInterestWillRemain
December03,1991 | SHAUNASNOW|TIMESSTAFFWRITER

WhileacomprehensiveexhibitionofMexicanartisdrawingcapacitycrowdsattheLosAngelesCountyMuseumofArt,membersoftheLatinoartscommunity
areheraldingtheaccompanyingfestivalsashavingbroughtunprecedentedpublicawarenessandappreciationofbothtraditionalandcontemporaryMexican
andChicanoartforms.

"Mexico:SplendorsofThirtyCenturies,"onviewatLACMAthroughDec.29,has"drawnaphenomenalresponse"and"vastlyincreasedthe(museum's)
Hispanicaudience,"saidmuseumdirectorEarlA.(Rusty)PowellIII.Twothirdsthroughits12weekrun,"Splendors"showssignsofbeingoneofLACMA's
mostpopularshowsever,havingdrawn234,755visitorsthroughSunday.

"Ithinkwe'llendupat400,000,probablymore,"saidPowell,notingthat"Splendors"couldchallengethemuseum'stopblockbuster,"ADayintheCountry:
ImpressionismandtheFrenchLandscape,"whichdrew460,000in1984.

Powellestimatedthatthe"Splendors"audiencehasbeen30%to40%Latino,andthatanumberofLatinofamilieshavetakenoutmuseummemberships.

"Wecertainlyaretalkingaboutotherprojects(fortheseaudiences)andarebuildingourpermanentcollectionsintheseareas,"saidPowell,notingthatalarge
exhibitionofpreColumbianartfromSouthAmericaandCentralAmericaisplannedfor1994.

Meanwhile,inarecentbriefingtothecity'sCulturalAffairsCommission,AdolfoV.Nodal,CulturalAffairsDepartmentgeneralmanager,laudedthelocal,
grassroots"ArtesdeMexico"andMexicangovernmentsponsored"Mexico:AWorkofArt"festivals,producedinconjunctionwith"Splendors."

"ThisisasbigastheL.A.Festival....It'skeepingthattremendousartisticenergygoingandbuildingbridgesforfutureevents,"Nodaltoldthecommission.

ButwhileartsleadersarecreditingthefestivalswithcreatinganewsenseofcooperationandteamworkwithinLosAngeles'Latinocommunities,theyarealso
questioninghowmuchofthebreakthroughsuccesswillremainwhenthescoresofeventsendlaterthismonth.

"Thequestionisn'twhethertheworkwillstop,becausewe'regoingtokeepgoing,"saidSisterKarenBoccalero,thefounderofSelfHelpGraphicsinEastLos
AngelesandaleaderintheChicanoartmovement."Therealquestionis:Aretheygoingtoignorewhatwe'redoing?Aretheysmartenoughtotakeadvantageof
thetalentsandhardworkoftheseartists...andthegrowingaudiencesthatareveryinterestedinthiswork?"

BoccaleroandseveralothersinterviewedwerereferringtomainstreaminstitutionsandartscenterswhichhavepreviouslyshownlittleornoLatinowork,but
jumpedinwitheventsunderthe"Artes"and"Mexico"umbrellas.

Thetwofestivalswhichfocusonthevisualartsbutalsofeatureanumberofmusic,theater,poetry,danceandfilmprogramswilltotalabout300events,with
manyinsuchmainstreamvenuesastheMusicCenter,SantaMonicaMuseumofArt,HollywoodBowlandnumerousWestsideartgalleries.

TomRhoads,directoroftheSantaMonicaMuseumofArt,whichjustclosedanexhibitionofcontemporaryMexicanphotographyandwillopena
contemporaryMexicanpaintingshowFriday,planstomountfutureLatinoexhibitions.

"ThephotographyshowbroughtinanewaudienceforusandIhopethosepeoplewillcomeback,"Rhoadssaid."ItwouldbeapityandIthinkthereissome
sense(ofthis)outthereifpeoplesaid,'OK,we'vedoneMexico,sonowwe'llmoveon.'Thepointofthesefestivalsistobenefitnotonlytheaudiences,butthe
institutionstomakethemfamiliarwiththeMexicanartformsandintegratesomeofthatintotheirfutureprogramming."

ArmandoDuron,presidentofthe"Artes"planningcommittee,wasoptimisticthatthefestivalswouldpromptlongtermresults.

"Ithinkwe'vegottenourmessageacross,thatourcultureispartofallofL.A.,"Duronsaid."Ithinksomemightusetheironeshottosay,'Well,wedon'thaveto
dothisnowforthenextfiveyears,'butourhopeisthatwe'veconvincedvenuesthattheycanwidentheirofferingsandattractawholenewaudience.We
certainlydon'texpecta100%successrate,butwethinkthatwe'veshownthediversityofeventsthatisMexicanculture."

OneoftheconcretelongtermresultsistheestablishmentoftheMexicanCulturalInstituteintheOlveraStreetbuildingthatformerlyhousedtheMexican
Consulate.OpenedinlateSeptember,thenonprofitinstitutewillhouseexhibitions,filmseries,performancesandcoursesonMexicanculture.Theinaugural
exhibitionfeaturesprintsbyRufinoTamayo.SponsoredbytheMexicangovernment,theinstituteisthethirdofitskindintheUnitedStatesandismodeled
aftersimilaroperationsinSanAntonioandWashington.

Anotherlongtermresultofthefestivalsisatleasttwonewpermanentfineartgalleries.

"WearestayingIthinkthatwearegoingtomakeit,"saidSofiaGonzalezPerez,coowneroftheJansenPerezGalleryintheWilshireCourtyardnearLACMA.
Forthepastthreeyears,PerezhascoownedagalleryfocusingonLatinAmericanandChicanoartinSanAntonio,theprevioustourstopfor"Splendors.""It's
beenslowbecauseoftherecession,butwealreadyhavealittlegroupofcollectors,"shesaid.

AlsoplanningtostaypermanentlyisWashington'sKimberlyGallery,aLatinAmericanartgallerywhichalsocametoL.A.aspartofthe"Splendors"hoopla.
"We'vehadlotsofvisitorsandlotsofinterest,andcollectorswhohavesaid,'ThankGodyou'rehere,L.A.reallyneedsyou,'"saidElyseKlaidman,directorof
theMelroseAvenuegallery."Idon'tthinkweknewwhattoexpectwhenwecamehere,butIthinkwe'rebreakingeven,andthereseemstobealotofinterestin
LatinAmericanartandpotentialforushere."

ParallelProjectGallery,however,aSantaMonicacollectiveofthreeMexicangalleries,willnotstayinLosAngeles,butwillcloseasplannedDec.17withthe
endofitscurrentMexicansculptureexhibition,"ANewAntiquityofForm."

TopShowsatCountyMuseumofArt

EXHIBITYEARRUN"ADayintheCountry:Impressionism1984111/2weeksandtheFrenchLandscape""Mexico:Splendorsof30Centuries"199112weeks
"ImpressionisttoEarlyModern19868weeksPaintingsFromtheU.S.S.R.""Impressionism,PostImpressionism:1990121/2weeksTheAnnenberg
Collection""GeorgiaO'Keeffe:18871986"1989111/2weeks"GreatBronzeAgeofChina"198110weeks"DavidHockney:ARetrospective"198811weeks"The
ShogunAge"'838410weeks

EXHIBITATTENDANCE"ADayintheCountry:Impressionism460,000andtheFrenchLandscape""Mexico:Splendorsof30Centuries"*400,000
"ImpressionisttoEarlyModern360,000PaintingsFromtheU.S.S.R.""Impressionism,PostImpressionism:300,000TheAnnenbergCollection""Georgia
O'Keeffe:18871986"298,793"GreatBronzeAgeofChina"255,827"DavidHockney:ARetrospective"216,622"TheShogunAge"200,000

*Estimated.Attendancethroughthefirst8weeksofa12weekrun:234,755.

Note:The"TreasuresofTutankhamun"exhibitionin1978drew1.25millionpeople,butisnotfiguredinLACMAattendancerecordsbecauseoffactorssuch
asextendedlengthoftheshow(18weeks)andhoursofoperation,plusreducedticketprices.

Source:LosAngelesCountyMuseumofArt*PAPERWORK:PapiermachesculpturebyMexico'sLinaresfamilyondisplay.F4

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