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Photos: Joe Pugliese
Exquisite L.A. is a blueprint of a collective shape. Drawing on the history of the Surrealist Exquisite Corpse, we wish to create a communal portrait of the current Los Angeles art world.
Consisting of photographic portraits, and spanning a year of consecutive Carla issues, each artist photographed introduces the next with a short text accompanying their portrait, outlining their connection or interest in the artist that will follow them in the series. This is an ongoing story of Los Angeles—its twists and turns, side streets, and freeways.
Rooted in classical portraiture, the photographs presented capture the artists in a neutral space, isolated from their work or studio. Their individual gazes, poses, or gestures become continuous visual markers for the exquisite corpse that is Los Angeles.
Featuring Anna Sew Hoy, Guadalupe Rosales, & Shizu Saldamando…
Sandra de la Loza, gloria galvez, & Steve Wong…
Patrick Martinez, Ramiro Gomez, & John Valadez…
Harry Gamboa Jr., Gala Porras Kim, & Carolina Caycedo.
John Valadez on Harry Gamboa Jr.
I chose Harry Gamboa as the next artist, because I am impressed by how Harry has progressed as an artist and a cultural thinker. I’ve known him for over 40 years. We were some of the frontline Chicano artists that came out of the late ’60s, early ’70s—the Vietnam War, protesting, social justice. At times I had the chance to show alongside the Asco group with him. I’ve seen Harry evolve into an important cultural figure in Los Angeles. He teaches at CalArts and Cal State Northridge. He’s influenced and mentored many students who are becoming important cultural workers in Los Angeles and beyond. He travels extensively. I always admire what he does and how he has evolved.
Harry Gamboa Jr. on Gala Porras-Kim
I first met Gala when she was a UCLA student and then she wound up attending CalArts, where I teach. She is a highly skilled practitioner, very inventive—a researcher. What I’ve enjoyed is that she has a subtle sense of humor in doing research, in reconfiguring her findings and reconstructing mythical pasts and superimposing them upon actual historical fact. For instance, in the work that she had at the Hammer’s 2016 Made in L.A., there were various found objects that were reconstructed to tell a narrative which was really a commentary on postcolonial thought. And her work recording the Zapotec language here in West L.A. (a native language that has been in the Southwest and Mexico for a very long time), and placing it on an LP, and basically making it a top ten hit. She does this thing about incorporating indigenous culture, pop culture, and scholarly culture, combining it all and breaking it to pieces. She creates pyramids that are intellectual pyramids, ones that we can glance upon and wonder how they were actually configured and imagined—the puzzle is so complex that probably only Gala knows the math to that.
Gala Porras-Kim on Carolina Caycedo
Carolina’s work is important in showing how art can deal with issues concerning the corporate impact on nature and surrounding communities, specifically with river dams and the people they displace. Also as a person, she inspires me as a woman, parent, and friend. I’m so grateful to have her in my life.
Claressinka Anderson has worked as an art dealer, adviser and curator and is the owner of Marine Projects. She is also a writer of poetry and fiction, some of which can be found at Autre Magazine, The Los Angeles Press, Artillery Magazine, and The Chiron Review.
Joe Pugliese, a California native, specializes in portraiture and shoots for a mixture of editorial and advertising clients. He has recently completed projects for such titles as Wired, Vanity Fair, Men’s Journal, and Billboard magazines, as well as advertising campaigns for Netflix, Sony, and AMC.
This essay was originally published in Carla issue 16.