Getty to screen Latin Amer­i­can videos

The event is part of a long project to map and col­lect video art of a sprawl­ing re­gion.

Los Angeles Times - - CULTURE MONSTER - By Carolina Mi­randa carolina.mi­randa @la­times.com

The video be­gins with the open­ing pi­ano chords of De­bussy’s melan­cholic “Clair de Lune” as the viewer is taken in­side the empty Peru­vian Congress. The cam­era lingers on ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails: the clas­si­cal col­umns, a weighty bronze bas re­lief, the bril­liant colors of the stained glass ceil­ing. Ever so slowly, bits of what ap­pear to be dust cir­cu­late through the air. Only it isn’t dust; it’s some sort of white pow­der, and it’s ac­cu­mu­lat­ing into a moun­tain on the floor.

Ti­tled “The Act,” the 31⁄ 2- minute video is a work by Peru­vian artist Diego Lama that will be shown at the Getty Cen­ter on Wed­nes­day evening as part of “Re­cent Video from Latin Amer­ica,” an oc­ca­sional screen­ing se­ries put to­gether by the Getty Re­search In­sti­tute. Also fea­tured will be works by artists from Colom­bia, Gu­atemala, Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador.

The screen­ings are part of a years­long project at the Getty de­voted to map­ping and col­lect­ing the video art of Latin Amer­ica — a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Glenn Phillips, a cu­ra­tor at the Getty in­sti­tute, and Elena Shtromberg, an art his­to­rian at the Uni­ver­sity of Utah.

“The idea is to ac­quire enough videos to build up a col­lec­tion” for the in­sti­tute, ex­plains Phillips. “It’s so dif­fi­cult to teach this work be­cause stu­dents can’t see it. And while we have some im­por­tant Latin Amer­i­can video at the Getty, the re­gion doesn’t have the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of other parts of the world.”

The pair have been trav­el­ing through­out the con­ti­nent in­ter­view­ing artists, cu­ra­tors and aca­demics to gain an un­der­stand­ing of the medium’s his­tory there. Thus far, they have brought back more than 800 videos to re­view, study and map.

“Video ex­hi­bi­tions ask so much of the viewer,” Phillips says. “So we thought we’d in­tro­duce the work to pro­vide con­text. And it’s a good op­por­tu­nity to in­tro­duce a lot of the artists.”

Wed­nes­day’s screen­ing fea­tures videos cre­ated by artists from Cen­tral Amer­ica and the An­des — short pieces in­tended to be viewed from be­gin­ning to end.

“They’re very dif­fer­ent re­gions, but there are similarities,” he says.

The video artists may not be familiar to U.S. au­di­ences, but they’re well-known in their own coun­tries. Among them are Donna Con­lon and Jonathan Harker of Panama, San­dra Mon­ter­roso of Gu­atemala, and Os­car Muñoz and José Ale­jan­dro Restrepo of Colom­bia.

“José is like the Gary Hill of Latin Amer­i­can video art,” Phillips says, re­fer­ring to the pi­o­neer­ing Amer­i­can video artist from Seat­tle. “He pro­duces th­ese phe­nom­e­nal video in­stal­la­tions. You see th­ese and you ask your­self, how is this per­son not be­ing shown in the U.S.?”

On Wed­nes­day, that changes.

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