Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Growing up in California, 1947-1959. By Lawrence G. Desmond.

Growing up in California, 1947-1959.                                        By Lawrence G. Desmond.

Strictly speaking, this book, Growing up in California, 1947-1959. Toy Racers and Giant Salamanders, is not about archaeology. It’s about the photographic skills I acquired over a period of 12 years that led directly to the more professional-level photography of later years in support of my archaeological and ethnographic projects in Mexico, and work with the 19th century photos of Alice Dixon and Augustus Le Plongeon.

A few years ago I began making my photos publically available. I began by publishing a co-authored book about backpacking in the Sierra Nevada of California, then a book about my four years in the Coast Guard, another of my photos of the 1969 San Francisco peace march, and finally four books of photos of Mexico.

But, Growing up in California brought me back to 1947 when I started taking photos as a pre-teen living at home where I was influenced by the family album photos of people and the environment taken by my mother and other family members. In choosing the photos for this book I looked closely at my photography for those first 12 years, but then extended my review to 1970. During the first 12 years my skills improved quickly, but there were a few years when the learning curve was much less steep. Then, beginning around 1968 my photographic output suddenly increased ten fold, and my photography matured with the help of photographers Ansel Adams and Pirkle Jones.

The following summarizes my photography through 1970:

“Looking back at my first 12 years of photography, I consistently documented the people and environment in my life, and that pattern has continued even to this day. My sense of design and technical expertise had its greatest gain in the two years prior to my departure for Mexico to study archaeology. Those gains were due to the training I received from masters of photography such as Adams, Jones and others, a ten fold increase my photographic output, and careful review of my camera work. By 1970, I was prepared to take on the photographic challenge of Mexico, and while my studies in archaeology at the university were invaluable, photography took me far beyond the classroom to villages and archaeological sites where I learned directly about Mexico’s ancient history and culture.” (Growing up in California, 1947-1959, 2014.Page 102)

Growing up in California, 1947-1959 is organized into two parts. The first part has photos taken from 1947 to 1953, and the second has those taken from 1954 to 1959. Part I begins with photos of students and activities in the 7th grade, and ends when I graduated from high school. Part II includes photos taken during my university years of dorm life and some family photos, and ends with photos of Coast Guard shipboard life.

A link to all DesmondBooks, including this new book available from Blurb of San Francisco is below. Photos in all the books can be viewed standard size or full screen by using the Preview command.


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José Antonio Rodriguez’s exhibit titled Otras miradas. Fotógrafas en México 1832-1960 focuses on women photographers in Mexico, and has opened in Madrid at the Casamérica (Casa de America). It will run until January 9, 2012. The exhibit was previously shown at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City. Plans are underway for the next showing to be at the Museo Amparo in Puebla, Mexico in 2012.

Featured in the exhibit is an album of over 100 photographic prints of the ancient Maya ruins made by Alice Dixon Le Plongeon in the 1870s. It is shown along with the work of such important photographers as Tina Modotti, Helen Levitt, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Greta Sager, Caecilie Seler-Sachs, and paintings by Frida Kahlo.

For additional information on the exhibit link to: Otras miradas. Fotógrafas en México 1872-1960 | Casamérica, Madrid

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The exhibit– Mex/LA: Mexican modernism (s) in Los Angeles 1930-1985— opened in Long Beach at the Museum of Latin American Art on September 18 to rave reviews.

  • During the 1930s, two well-known Mexican painters, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco, created public murals in downtown L.A. and Pomona. Jesse Lerner, co-curator with Rubén Ortiz-Torres, of “Mex-LA” at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, says the artists’ work had a ripple effect in the Southland.
  • Lerner was interviewed by Southern California Public Radio and explained: “We were interested in using their presence in Southern California as a point of departure in thinking of the impact of Mexican modernism on the art world of Southern California and other exchanges back and forth between the arts communities of Mexico and Southern California.”
  • To hear the entire interview on Southern California Public Radio: Mex-LA exhibit explores Mexican-American two-way street | 89.3 KPCC
  • For the full exhibit description just go to the MOLAA link: MOLAA | MEX/LA: Mexican Modernism(s) in Los Angeles 1930-1985

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Opens September 8, 2011 at the Richard J. Riordan Central Library in Los Angeles, California.

Women ready to receive Ràbago / Horne
A Nation Emerges: The Mexican Revolution Revealed– Sept. 8, 2011–June 3, 2012. 
The Mexican Revolution (1910–20), which lasted a decade and transformed the nation, was extensively chronicled by Mexican, American, and European photographers and illustrators. Thousands of images captured a country at war. From postcards of the 1910 Fiesta del Centenario, to images of a war that was waged on several fronts by ever-shifting revolutionary factions, to photographs of the 1923 assassination of Pancho Villa, this exhibition chronicles this complex, multifaceted chapter in Mexico’s history.Organized by the Getty Research Institute with support from Edison International.

For directions and hours: Los Angeles Public Library, Central Library

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An important new exhibit opens at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach on September 18, 2011.

Curated by Rubén Ortiz-Torres in association with Jesse Lerner, the exhibition MEX/L.A.: “Mexican” Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985, focuses on the construction of different notions of “Mexicanidad” within modernist and contemporary art in Los Angeles. The period from 1945 to 1985 is attributed as the time when Los Angeles consolidated itself as an important cultural center. However, this time span excludes the controversial and important presence of the Mexican muralists and the production of other artists such as Philip Guston and Jackson Pollock who responded to their ideas and later influenced other artists in New York and throughout the United States.

It is often perceived that Los Angeles’ Mexican culture is alien and comes from elsewhere when in fact it originated in the city—it was in Los Angeles and Southern California where José Vasconcelos, Ricardo Flores Magón, Octavio Paz and other intellectuals developed the idea of modern Mexico while Anglos and Chicanos were developing their own culture. This is the place where Siqueiros and Orozco made some of their first murals and Los Angeles is the capital of Chicano art.

The purpose of this exhibition is not so much cultural affirmation and/or historical revisionism, but rather to understand how nationalism and internationalism are modernist constructions that are not necessarily exclusive but often complementary and fundamental in the formation of Mexican, American, Chicano art and the art of the City. The exhibition’s historiography and non-linear narratives will explore different media, points of view and notions of art and culture including painting, photography, film, video, animation, lowrider culture and design.

For the full exhibit description just go to the MOLAA link:

MOLAA | MEX/LA: Mexican Modernism(s) in Los Angeles 1930-1985

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Phillip Hofstetter, chair of the department of art at California State University East Bay, has recently published a book of enchanting and eye bending photographic panoramas of Maya archaeological sites.

Maya Yucatán: An Artist’s Journey

Author: Phillip Hofstetter; Foreword: David Freidel


“Before ever setting out on my adventures in Yucatán I did not know that I was preparing to walk a spiritual path in that ancient country. Before going there I had not taken much account of my yearning to seek out sacred places. But in Yucatán I discovered this longing for wandering among the people and landscapes of the peninsula. I eventually understood that there was an invisible spirit world of the Maya that animated their stories, their ancient ruins, and all their works from two thousand years of civilization in that ancient land.”–from Maya Yucatán. 

Phillip Hofstetter first visited Yucatán in 1987 and was entranced, as much by the sheer physical beauty of the region as by the enduring character of the Maya people still inhabiting the region. For more than twenty years he has been documenting his travels in Yucatán and his professional collaboration with archaeological excavation projects there. His reflections on the Maya culture emphasize survival and adaptation, while images of ancient sites, the churches of the Franciscan mission period, and the ruined haciendas of the henequen period serve as physical reminders of the enduring ways in which the Maya have shaped the landscape of Yucatán over millennia.

Hardback- 11 x 9 in., 160 pages, 102 color and black-and-white photographs, 1 drawing, 2 maps.

University of New Mexico Press

ISBN 978-0-8263-4694-0

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Jesse Lerner, filmmaker and curator, and professor in the Intercollegiate Media Studies program of the Claremont Colleges has just published his new and insightful book that examines visual interpretations of the “mysterious” Maya “characterized by a continuing series of reinterpretations, collaborations, and exchanges in which Yucatecans, Mexicans and foreigners, mestizos, Mayas, and others all participate and are free to endorse, misunderstand, reinterpret, or reject each other’s ideas.”

The Maya of Modernism: Art, Architecture, and Film 


From the time when archaeologists first began to discover the civilization’s spectacular ruins, Mexico’s Mayan past has been a boundless source of inspiration, ideas, and iconography for the modernist imagination. This study examines the ways artists, architects, filmmakers, photographers, and other producers of visual culture in Mexico, the United States, Europe, and beyond have mined Mayan history and imagery.

Beginning his study in the mid-nineteenth century, with the first mechanically reproduced and mass distributed images of the Mayan ruins, and ending with recent works that address this history of representation, Lerner argues that Maya modernism is the product of an ongoing pan-American modernism characterized by a continuing series of reinterpretations, collaborations, and exchanges in which Yucatecans, Mexicans and foreigners, mestizos, Mayas, and others all participate and are free to endorse, misunderstand, reinterpret, or reject each other’s ideas.

Hardback– 6 x 9 in., 224 pages, 24 halftones

ISBN-10: 0826349811

ISBN-13: 978-0826349811

University of New Mexico Press, 2011

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