I visited the Art Museum of the Americas earlier this week for the Traveling Light/Material Ligero and Common Place/Lugar Común exhibits. Again, I am reminded that something always gets lost in the translation, whether its language, iconography, or other cultural or ethnic nuances.
You don’t have to be Chilean or Latin American to “get” these works, but I think it helps in getting there. I mean, we all bring our own baggage to art, and the way we understand it, ingest it, react to it. For me, the more I listened to curator Laura Roulet discuss the work in Traveling Light, and the more I stood in the middle of these very different works, the more they made sense, but the more I found myself connecting to them as a Mexican-American.
What does that mean? Mostly it meant that I related what I was seeing to cultural familiarities with papel picado (cut paper banners), my grandmother’s tatting, Latin American class warfare and large scale urban Mexican or Chicano murals. The art in this exhibit isn’t directly evocative of any of these things, but I can’t help but feel the echoes. Like I said, we all bring our own baggage.
Exhibit runs through January 22, 2012.