Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Recommended: Asco at the LACMA

There are many things to like about the current Asco exhibit at the LACMA, "Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987." For one, it is the first major retrospective of this pioneering Chicano art collective.

Second, it is good, quality, high-brow art that was doing new (crazy) things in the art world--and doing a lot of them in public! (In the streets of East L.A. nonetheless).

Third, there is the historical side of it. I, for one, was very giddy to see photos and art that featured early East L.A. punk bands, Los Illegals and The Brat. (Also, a treat to see pics of a young Marisela Norte, an L.A. poet).

The exhibit itself is very wild, as it tries to capture the essence of the group. A lot of different mediums, like paintings, video, costumes, but mostly, photographs make up the exhibit. An article from the NY Times best explained their style in the following manner:

Asco’s method was a kind of bombastic excess and elegant elusiveness that would have made Tristan Tzara proud, not to mention Cantinflas and Liberace. The Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight wrote that the group “brought Zurich Dada of the late-1910s to 1970s Los Angeles.” But it was a distinctly Chicano brand of Dada, by way of David Bowie and Frank Zappa, drag and Pachuco culture, telenovelas and oddball UHF television stations, and New Wave and silent movies.

Exhibit closes December 4, 2011.

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