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Los Angeles is Latin America: Art, driving and the city

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Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Latin American & Latino Art in Los Angeles thematically linked more than 70 exhibitions and programmes exploring Latin American cultural roots alongside contemporary Latin American and Latinx influences on art in the greater Los Angeles area. The third iteration of an expansive Getty Foundation initiative, LA/LA stretched across Southern California from September 2017 through January 2018. This review essay connects the experience of viewing LA/LA exhibitions with the inevitably intertwined experience of driving in the city. Driving across Los Angeles, the shifting urban landscape reinforced the narratives being dissected in exhibition spaces, which in turn blurred the lines of where LA/LA ended and daily life in Los Angeles began. The review addresses exhibitions at the Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Library, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Union Station. The LA/LA exhibitions provoked questions of borderlands and migrants, cultural histories and traditions, and home and family that extend beyond the walls of the exhibition spaces to permeate urban life.
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Keywords: Latinx art; Los Angeles; Pacific Standard Time; driving; the city; visual art

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Arizona State University

Publication date: 01 March 2018

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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