Monday, July 25, 2016

Neo-Kitsch: A New Old Latin America at Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance

 by Patricia Frischer
Neo-Kitsch: A New Old Latin America plus SD Art Prize New Contemporaries artists: opening Fri. July 22 from 6 to 9 pm and showing until Aug. 27 at Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance RSVP and directions: Tom Sergott 858-756-2377

Kitsch is a German word that I grew up with in a Jewish home in Kansas City. You knew if something was kitsch it might be fun to look at but not suitable for a contemporary home in the 1950s. There was very little kitsch in the  Danish Modern movement which my parents embraced. Kitsch was poor or common taste and was usually garish or sentimental. But I could not help but like the lava lamp of my hippie days or the hula doll I saw on many dashboards.  Barbie and Ken are certainly  the poster couple for Kitsch. The Cuckoo clock is classic kitsch.

Kitsch is more associated, perhaps, with Latin American than Germany. Probably because art is integrated entirely into their life style. Anyone who has crossed the border and waited in line has driven past an array of brightly color plaster figures ranging from Jesus Christ to the Keep on Trucking hat toting dude. 

Somehow over the years, what was out is now in. And maybe it will be out again next year. But this show is not just about  fashion, but history and the present being interpreted with irony and humor. 

Many thanks to the curator of this exhibition Andrew Utt for sending me the photos of all the works. 

Tatewaki Nio (Brazil)
Tatewaki Nio, Neo-Andina, 2015, Pigment print on paper © Tatewaki Nio

Einar and Jamex de la Torre

Chiachio & Giannone (Argentina)


Liliana Correa (Colombia)

Mauricio Garrido (Chile)

Becky Guttin (Mexico)

Paola Villasenor (PANCA) (Mexico)


Esteban Schimpf (Colombia)

 "We all have stories of where we came from and where we want to go. Letters from the Wall  is an ongoing series of vignettes based on  actual letters and real life stories of those affected by the United States/Mexico international border wall, immigration, deportation and  separation. Originally written as a bi-national theatrical event by Dave Rivas, it was first performed on both sides of the border wall in San  Ysidro, California and Playas, Tijuana, Mexico, with actors performing simultaneously on the United States and Mexico side in English and  Spanish. Each “letter” is woven together from the true stories, letters, emails, and even bedtime stories that Rivas has collected.  And more content is being added all the time as –with each performance—audience members share their own stories or experiences.  It is an ever growing and changing series that seeks to address the human experience in pursuit of a better life."

One of the stories we heard on the opening night was of a Mexican American without a passport. He lived in the USA all of his life and was recruited into the arm forces where he served his county. The armed forced gave him an identity card instead.of a passport and he traveled the world defending our country. After he left the service,  he was paid with a bad check for a job. An investigation team decided he needed to be deported for no particular reason except he did not have a passport.   He  was sent out of the county to Mexico. He became ill and although eligible for veteran care in the US was not allowed over the border to get that care. He died and his ashes were allowed back into the county to be given to his rightfully distressed parents. This story was presented beautifully by Dave as a letter, but not dramatically overstated. But the plea is clear....hear the stories and become aware. Do what you can.

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