The works of icons like Richard Neutra, Luis Barragán, the Eames, and Clara Porset and some 300 other historical objects come together in LACMA's upcoming exhibition, “Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915–1985”. Opening September 17, the exhibition explores the various architecture and design dialogues between California and Mexico from 1915 to 1985.
From architectural drawings to models to posters, the exhibition illustrates the unique sense of place that characterized California's and Mexico's architecture.
Organized by Wendy Kaplan (curator and head of LACMA's Decorative Arts and Design department) and Staci Steinberger (assistant curator of Decorative Arts and Design), “Found in Translation” focuses on the centuries-long cultural exchange between Mexico and California. These interdependences are covered in four main themes: Spanish Colonial Inspiration, Pre-Columbian Revivals, Folk Art and Craft Traditions, and Modernism.
The themes demonstrate how both Mexican and Californian architecture + design are deeply rooted in a sense of place, “with local materials and traditions used to form a culture of specificity rather than an ‘international style.’ And [how] each found a more distinct voice through ‘translations’ of the other,” LACMA describes.
“In organizing Found in Translation, we have made it a priority to acquire for LACMA’s collection Mexican and California objects that speak to a dialogue between the two places,” Wendy Kaplan and Staci Steinberger said in a statement.
Highlights include Modern Mexican design gems like posters from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, a Hand Chair by Pedro Friedeberg, Felix Tissot's ceramics, and enamels by Miguel Pineda. The Modernism theme covers the impacts of California architects like Richard Neutra and John Lautner in Mexico, and vice versa with Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, who began receiving commissions in California in 1985.
With L.A. preparing to host the 2028 Summer Olympics, the exhibition also spotlights a timely comparison between the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. “The bold graphic and environmental design program devised for Mexico 68 had a marked influence on the visual language of L.A. 84,” LACMA says.
“Found in Translation demonstrates LACMA’s ongoing commitment to Latin American art from the pre-Hispanic period to the present day,” said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. “This groundbreaking exhibition highlights the unique strength of an encyclopedic museum. Curators from many different departments leveraged their expertise to contribute to the catalogue and advised on object selection.”
The exhibition will be on display from September 17 - April 1, 2018.
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