California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820–1930

Ferdinand Deppe, San Gabriel Mission , oil on canvas, c. 1832, 27 x 37 inches, Laguna Art Museum Collection, gift of Nancy Dustin Wall Moure

California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820–1930
October 15, 2017 – January 14, 2018

California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820–1930 explores how Mexico became California. Following the U.S.-Mexican War (1846–1848), lands that had belonged for centuries to New Spain, and later Mexico, were transformed into the 31st state of the U.S. The visual arts played a strong role in this transformation, creating distinct pictorial motifs and symbols that helped define the new California while establishing dialogues and intersections with the land’s previous identity as Mexico. Juxtaposing paintings with popular posters, prints, and some of the earliest movies made in Los Angeles, the exhibition reveals how this image of California spread worldwide. Objects range from picturesque landscapes of Alta California and still life paintings featuring fruits, flowers, and other plants that celebrated the state’s agricultural growth, to works by early modernists such as the Mexican painters Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. California Mexicana: Missions to Murals demonstrates how a unique amalgam of Mexican and Anglo visual traditions created a profile for California distinct from any other U.S. state.

This exhibition is curated by Professor Katherine E. Manthorne, The Graduate Center, CUNY, assisted by Professor Alberto Nulman, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820–1930 is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA takes place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California, from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, and from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

The catalog for California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820–1930, edited by Professor Katherine E. Manthorne, authored by Professor Katherine E. Manthorne, Professor Alberto Nulman, Professor Clara Bargellini, and Professor Michael Komanecky, is supported by a grant from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.