Graphic consisting of ten headshots
Conversations

Voices of the Diaspora

In an afternoon organized by the Asian American Pacific Islander Arts Network, ARTNOIR, and The Here And There Collective, artists, art historians, and curators discuss the ways that their identity shapes their lives and creative practices. Panelists address how artists of various diasporas navigate existing systems and band together for cultural code switching, when excluded from the art market. These conversations demonstrate that collectives can catalyze cultural innovation, while individual artists can give nuance to identity expressions through their studio practice, and systems can shift towards more visibility for marginalized artists in the mainstream art world. Panels are introduced by independent curator, writer, and art historian, Danielle Shang.

Schedule

Diasporic Artists in Community
2:00pm

Moderator and REDCAT Chief Curator and Deputy Director, Programs, Daniela Lieja Quintanar is joined by artist Harry Gamboa Jr. (ASCO), Marvella Muro (Self Help Graphics), Claire Kim (The Here And There Collective), and independent curator Kris Kuramitsu to examine the relationship between artists and their communities and how diasporic artists create networks, initiatives, and interventions to lift up the marginalized status of their communities.

Artists’ Diasporic Experiences and Identity Expressions
3:30pm

Artists Charles Gaines, Tala Madani, Gala Porras-Kim, and Vincent Valdez discuss identity as a dimensional, discursive, and embedded part of their practices and explore how diasporic experiences inform their artistic, pedagogic, and social practices. Moderated by ARTNOIR co-founder Larry Ossei-Mensah.

Bios

Asian American Pacific Islander Arts Network is a network of self-identified Asian American Pacific Islander visual artists, cultural workers and patrons in Los Angeles coming together to build open relational platforms that affirm and give agency to the rich complexity of the Asian American Pacific Islander experience through the collective exploration and sharing of their practices. (aapi-artsnetwork.org)

The Here And There Collective is a New York based non-profit organization committed to highlighting and supporting art practitioners from the Asian Diaspora. (thehereandthere.co)

ARTNOIR is a New York based, female-majority, black + brown led, global non-profit collective with a mission to celebrate and highlight the work of creatives of color while catalyzing cultural equity across the arts and culture industries. (artnoir.co)

A pivotal figure in the field of conceptual art, Charles Gaines’ body of work engages formulas and systems that interrogate relationships between the objective and the subjective realms. Using a generative approach to create a series of works in a variety of mediums, he has built a bridge between the early conceptual artists of the 1960s and 1970s and subsequent generations of artists pushing the limits of conceptualism today. Born in 1944 in Charleston, South Carolina, Gaines began his career as a painter, earning his M.F.A. from the School of Art and Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1967. In the 1970s, Gaines’s art shifted dramatically in response to what he would later call ‘the awakening.’ Gaines’s epiphany materialized in a series called Regression (1973–1974), in which he explored the use of mathematical and numeric systems to create soft, numbered marks in ink on a grid, with each drawing built upon the calculations of the last. This methodical approach would carry the artist into the subsequent decades of his artistic journey. Working both within the system and against it, Gaines points to the tensions between the empirical objective and the viewers’ subjective response. The concept of identity politics has played a central role within Gaines’s oeuvre, and the radical approach he employs addresses issues of race in ways that transcend the limits of representation. Gaines lives and works in Los Angeles. He recently retired from the CalArts School of Art, where he was on faculty for over 30 years and established a fellowship to provide critical scholarship support for Black students in the M.F.A. program.

Harry Gamboa Jr. is an artist, author, and educator.
He is the founder and director of Virtual Vérité (2005–2017), the international performance troupe.
He is a co-founder of Asco (1972–1985), the East Los Angeles-based performance group.
He is Faculty of the Photo/Media Program at California Institute of the Arts.

Claire Kim is a curator and writer based in New York City. She is currently the Director of Curatorial Strategy at the Here and There Collective. Kim previously served as the Special Assistant to the President at BRIC, in Brooklyn, as well as a 2020–21 curatorial fellow at NXTHVN, in New Haven, CT. She has worked in museum education and programming with arts organizations, including the Asian American Arts Alliance, New Museum, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. She has organized exhibitions at James Cohan Gallery, New York; Hessel Museum of Art, CCS Bard; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, Brooklyn; and BRIC, Brooklyn. Kim completed her MA at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

Kris Kuramitsu is an independent curator and educator in Los Angeles. She is currently Senior Curator at Large at The Mistake Room, where she has organized exhibitions since 2014. In 2019, she worked with the Under the Sun Foundation to launch the biennial Candlewood Arts Festival, a community centered public art program in the Anza Borrego Desert opening its third edition in March 2024. She was the 2022 Curatorial Resident at Occidental College and OxyArts, where she organized the exhibition Voice a Wild Dream: Moments in Asian American Art and Activism, 1968–2022.

Tala Madani (b. 1981, Tehran, Iran) makes paintings and animations whose images bring together wide-ranging modes of critique, prompting reflection on gender, political authority, and questions of who and what gets represented in art. Her work is populated by mostly middle-aged men engaged in acts that push their bodies to their limits. Bodily fluids and beams of light emerge from their orifices, generating metaphors for the tactile expressivity of paint. In Madani’s work, slapstick humor is inseparable from violence and creation is synonymous with destruction, reflecting a complex and gut-level vision of contemporary power imbalances of all kinds. Her approach to figuration combines the radical morphology of a modernist with a contemporary sense of sequencing, movement, and speed. Thus, her work finds some of its most powerful echoes in cartoons, cinema, and other popular durational forms. Tala Madani has been the subject of solo exhibitions at museums worldwide, including The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2023); Start Museum, Shanghai (2020); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2019); Secession, Vienna (2019); Portikus, Frankfurt (2019); La Panacée, Montpellier, France (2017); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2016); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2016); Nottingham Contemporary, England (2014); and Moderna Museet, Malmö and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2013). She participated in the 16th Istanbul Biennial: The Seventh Continent, Istanbul, Turkey (2019); Whitney Biennial 2017, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Made in L.A. 2014, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, among many other international group exhibitions. Madani’s work is in the permanent collections of institutions including Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Malmö, Sweden; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Modern, London; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Madani lives and works in Los Angeles.

Marvella Muro is Director of Artistic, Curatorial, and Education Programs at Self Help Graphics and Art, spearheading the long-standing Professional Print Program, Barrio Mobile Art Studio, the Annual Day of the Dead celebration, and exhibitions. Since joining in 2019, the Beyond the Press artist-in-residence program was established for emerging or underrepresented artists, launched the Youth Committee and the Creative Lab partnership with the neighboring high school, and produced city-wide art projects, including the short documentary about six street vendors during the pandemic. She is the curator of the upcoming exhibition Sinks: Places We Call Home for the Getty Foundation’s PST: Art x Science initiative highlighting the environmental contamination and impact in two communities of color in Los Angeles. Her work bridges the gap between artists and the broader community and initiates access points for artistic expression.

She holds a B.A. in Art History from Cal State University, Fullerton, and an M.A. in Arts Management from Goucher College in Maryland. Before joining SHG, she worked in the curatorial and education departments at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, concluding as the Community Engagement Manager, where she developed art programs with local community partners and artists in three communities of Los Angeles County.

Larry Ossei-Mensah is a Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic who uses contemporary art and culture as a forum to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. Ossei-Mensah has organized exhibitions, conversations, and programs with commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe featuring artists such as Firelei Baez, Steve McQueen, Amoako Boafo, Catherine Opie, Nick Cave, Cheryl Pope, Guadalupe Maravilla, Ebony G. Patterson, Judy Chicago, Allison Janae Hamilton, Zeh Palito, and Stanley Whitney, to name a few. The global venues Ossei-Mensah has collaborated with on exhibitions include such spaces as MOAD in San Francisco, the Contemporary at Museum in Houston, MOCAD, MASS MoCA, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, LUCE Gallery Ben Brown Fine Arts in Hong Kong & London, MCA Denver, Simoes de Assis in Sao Paulo, and the 7th Athen Biennale in Athens, Greece, which he co-curated with OSMK Social Club. A native of The Bronx, Ossei-Mensah co-founded ARTNOIR, a nonprofit whose mission is to drive racial equity in the art world by centering creatives, curators, collectors, and communities of color.

Gala Porras-Kim (b. 1984, Bogotá) lives and works in Los Angeles and London. Her work is about the social and political contexts that influence how intangible things, such as sounds, language and history, have been framed through the fields of linguistics, history and conservation. The work considers the relationship between a historical past and contemporary motivations of its representation, and how objects also shape the contexts in which they are placed. She has had solo exhibitions at Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City, The Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, Seville, Kadist, Amant Foundation, Gasworks, London, CAMSTL, MCA Denver, Leeum Museum of Art and MMCA in Seoul. Her work has been included in the Whitney Biennial and Ural Industrial Biennial (2019), and Gwangju and Sao Paulo Biennales (2021) and Liverpool Biennial (2023). She was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2019), the artist-in-residence at the Getty Research Institute (2020-22), and currently a fellow at Museo delle Civiltà in Rome.

Daniela Lieja Quintanar is a curator and writer originally from Mexico City. Her curatorial practice takes inspiration from everyday life, spaces of political struggle, and communal forms of knowledge production. She is the Chief Curator and Deputy Director, Programs at REDCAT Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater. Recently, she organized The Feminist Art Program (1970–1975): Cycles of Collectivity and Lisa Alvarado: Pulse Meridian Foliation for REDCAT. From 2016–2022, Lieja Quintanar served as the Chief Curator and Director of Programming at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE). In 2018, She was awarded the Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Research Fellowship. Some of her exhibitions at LACE included Intergalactix: against isolation/contra el aislamiento (2021), CAVERNOUS: Young Joon Kwak & Mutant Salon (2018) and Emory Douglas: Bold Visual Language (2018, co-curated with Essence Harden). In 2016, she coordinated Teresa Margolles’s La Sombra project for the Public Art Biennial CURRENT: LA Water. Lieja Quintanar was part of the curatorial team of the MexiCali Biennial (2018–19) and Contributing Curatorial Advisor to the PST: LA/LA exhibition, Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action in 1990s Mexico at the Armory Center for the Arts (2017–18). Lieja Quintanar has been part of the Los Angeles Tenants Union since its foundation, collaborating with the East Side local/Union de Vecinos.

Danielle Shang is a Los Angeles based art historian and exhibition organizer. Her research focuses on the impact of globalization, urban renewal, social change, and class restructuring on art-making and the narrative of art history.

Vincent Valdez blends large, representational paintings—the scale of which recall Western traditions of history painting as well as mural painting and cinema—with contemporary subject matter. He focuses on subjects that explore his observations and experience of life in the twenty-first century. The results are powerful images of American identity that confront injustice and inequity while imbuing his subjects with empathy and humanity. Valdez states, “My aim is to incite public remembrance and to impede distorted realities that I witness, like the social amnesia that surrounds us all.” A recipient of the Ford and Mellon Foundations Latinx Artist Fellowship (2022), Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painters and Sculptors (2016), as well as residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting (2005), the Vermont Studio Center (2011), the Kunstlerhaus Bethania Berlin Residency (2014), and the Arion Press’ King Residency (2023), Valdez currently lives and works between Houston and Los Angeles. Exhibitions and Collections include: The Ford Foundation, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and The National Portrait Gallery, among others. He lives and works in Houston and Los Angeles.

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Generous support is also provided by Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy, the Elizabeth Bixby Janeway Foundation, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, an anonymous donor, and all Hammer members.
 
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