Call and Response, When We Say... You Say
From January 28 – April 14, 2019, the museum presented Call and Response, When We Say…You Say, curated by Mario Ybarra Jr. and Karla Diaz, co-founders of the renowned Wilmington art collective Slanguage. With the permanent collection as their inspiration, Ybarra and Diaz examined how “high art" and pop culture intersected, as they addressed social inequities and different inter-generational aesthetic perceptions over the course of this evolving group exhibition. The title reflected the playfulness at the heart of the Slanguage practice, taking cues from the volleying collaborative interaction between artist, art, and audience.
Kim Abeles, Richard Bosman, Patricio Cabrera, Albert Contreras, Adolph Gottlieb, Graciela Iturbide, Lee Krasner, Piotr Kowalski, Ken Light, Ken Price, Lorna Simpson, Andy Warhol
Abel Alejandre, Valerie J. Bower, Karla Diaz, Gabriel "Gobs" Fernandez, Alonso Garzon, Rosalie López, Antonio De Jesus Lopez, Aydinaneth Ortiz, Marlene Tafoya, Arnoldo Vargas, Mario Ybarra, Jr.
Call and Response created content to engage diverse student populations in a meaningful way. Its programs focused on relevant issues, active participation, and restorative negotiation. Educational activities encouraged exchange based learning to find new ways for modern and contemporary art to have personal resonance. Building these connections emphasized the relevance of participatory practices in art making and strengthens communal understanding.
Dialogue, critique, and cooperation were key to this project, as one of the gallery spaces will transformed into a classroom/lab space for university students. Conversations and class sessions within the gallery spaces challenged institutional practices while they inspired a deeper appreciation of the arts. Collaborations with visiting artists questioned the histories, assumptions, and biases of the museum acquisition processes. New themes, artwork, and participation arose out of this mediation, a negotiation that centered on shared values, common ground, creative agency, and artistic empowerment.
Slanguage is an artist-run space that grew organically from an active studio to a public engagement space. Located in Wilmington–at the heart of the Port of Los Angeles–Slanguage has led teen workshops, hosted art exhibitions, and presented music and performance events since 2001. Its residency SlangA.I.R. has been a catalyst for young emerging artists, youth, teaching artists, and the community. In acknowledgment of their groundbreaking practice, Mario Ybarra Jr. and Karla Diaz have been invited to pilot events, exhibitions, and programs in diverse cities, museums, and art galleries all over the world. Their work has been presented at ICA Boston, the Whitney Museum, LACMA, MOCA, Tate Modern, Chicago Hyde Park Center, and was included in the first Made in LA Biennial.