The Museum of Latin American Art presents “Defiant Chronicles,” the second exhibition organized by MOLAA for its new satellite space called The Collaborative. Co-curated by MOLAA Curator Idurre Alonso and Slanguage Founders Mario Ybarra Jr. and Karla Diaz, the exhibit focuses on representing current strategies for artistic production derived and influenced by urban and street art including graffiti, stencil and stickers. The exhibition is comprised of two multi-media installations by artists aka, Acamonchi from Tijuana, Mexico and Los Angeles-based artist aka, Perl from the graffiti female collective FDS (From the Streets). The invited artists share a similar concern for utilizing artistic tactics of research-based projects, documentation and investigation. The exhibition challenges the traditional approach to street art/graffiti as a practice that is meant to be singled-out from its place and context, exclusive to an insider audience and contradicts the perception of urban art as a male dominated art form that rarely addresses gender issues in its content. May 1 through July 24.

Date(s) & Time(s)::
Opening Reception May 1, 2011
Show runs till
July 24, 2011
Location: The Collaborative, 421 W. Broadway, Long Beach.
Phone: (562) 570-1930

The guys sat down for a longer interview in the days leading up to the show. Here’s what they said about their collaboration and work.

First off, both of you are from Puerto Rico. How has that influenced the work that you do?

Juni: In my case, it’s obvious that the lifestyle of Puerto Rico has a great influence on my work. The climate is also a great influence in the sense that it lends itself to being outside, going to the beach, the rivers, the countryside. See, I live in the city, and so that influences me a great deal. But also when you go out, so see a ton of color.  And since I am a painter, that lifestyle has influenced me a lot.  I’ve noticed that I am really influenced by all things tropical, life at the beach, that type of thing.

Chris: I think for me this influence is not as evident. But perhaps artists traditions, like the strong graphic tradition in Puerto Rico has been important in my work. I have been exploring it in different ways. In this case I have been working with serigraphs. But beyond doing a print with ink, I have been developing it more as a drawing, which is very present in my work. Also the use of graphic images for tattooing, that has also influenced me a great deal. But not an influence that is very obvious, at least not one that I observe.

Juni: But also, even though we are Puerto Rican, with respect to our political condition and in other ways we have become more Americanized. We have access to lots of information, and I think that allows to be more like a hybrid. Yes, we are Latinos, but we are also a combination of things. We are constantly discovering ourselves, and in a process of self-exploration, and seeing who we really are.

Chris: And it is not that we don’t have an identity, because we obviously have one. But to have this status of a colony, because really we are the oldest colony in the world that still exists. But as Juni says it puts us in a situation where we are influenced by several places, and we are somewhere in the middle. 

Why were you interested in collaborating and how has that translated into this residency? What are you doing in the space?

Juni: Well the initiative really came from Mario [Ybarra Jr.]. And it worked out quite well because Christopher and I have worked on exhibits together, but we had not had the opportunity to collaborate in this way and create a project starting from nothing, and coming from both of us. It has been super productive, because ideas have come out, and we didn’t expect it to happen this way. In just one day we came up with the exhibition project. We had some idea of what we wanted to do and in what direction we wanted to go, you know the music Scene, the propaganda or advertising put out by bands…all this stuff. But being here together is when everything became clear.

Chris: And like Juni says, yes we had collaborated a bunch of times before, we have been friends for a few years thru the music Scene and exhibitions. But when the invitation came from Mario, we were like oh damn, how cool we’re going to collaborate. And all kinds of ideas came to mind, ideas that were concretized here, so yeah, super productive.

Juni: And from this we hope to take advantage of it and do it again in other places and contexts, unifying music, with the underground Scene with bands, integrating this whole [music] world, which really unifies us more, than perhaps even the art world.

Chris: It is more specific.

Juni: It has its groups and gives you the opportunity to meet interesting people that contribute super great ideas.

What is the story behind the title, “War Spectacle: The Last Paradise”?

Chris: In reality, this took a bit of time to figure out. In a practical sense, we said in this collaboration you will have a part, and I will have a part, and that it should be something that sounds concrete and makes sense. But in part because we were using the music influence, the departure was this idea that it should be a song title, or be influenced by a song.

Juni: Exactly. Or even like a concert. Instead of an art exhibit, the idea was that it should like a concert and we would make references to bands we like. So the title really came out of trying to name a band-based music event. They [the bands] don’t exist, but still it is an event inspired by the advertising with the use of flyers, that type of artwork.

Chris: The words “War Spectacle” came from a real song, right Juni?

Juni: Yes, I was listening to a band that I friend lent me and I began to bring together different references [in my head], and that’s how it came about.

Chris: And the “Last Paradise” also more or less comes from a song. But also in thinking about an idea to connect the space, the way it happens in shows, a type of paradise in the sense that everyone has come together behind this one cause, the music. At these types of music shows, this type of an environment is very obvious in the mosh pit, for example. The mosh pit is very interesting, and it is something that I am still exploring. Everyone is united, there is internal rules that it is ultimately for fun, to enjoy the moment of the concert. I mean there are always fights too, and that’s where War Spectacle comes from.

Juni: So there is also a war, but a war that just stays amongst us.

Chris: It’s almost utopic, or not exactly, but still a moment where everyone is united.

Juni: You feel free. So it’s a type of war, but a creative war, not one used to harm anyone.

How has it been being in Los Angeles, and how has that translated to the elements you have put in the gallery.

Juni: It has been, surely for both of us, a really great source for the creative process. Mario and Karla gave us a tour through the city, and it was parts of the city that if we had come on our own, we wouldn’t have encountered. And these types of routes, which aren’t the typical ones, activate things in your mind. This influenced us a bunch. And meeting Mario’s friends! And obviously Mario’s work too, he becomes like a community explorer and he integrates all of those elements. 

Chris: I agree that also helped us a lot in the creative process. It is the first time I came to Los Angeles, and not knowing L.A. well what you think of is well, the beach, Hollywood, what attracts tourists.

Juni: Plastic boobs.

Chris: So what have seen is the real Los Angeles. And the graffiti culture which is considerably old. The graffiti exhibit [at MOCA] too.

Juni: If you notice, we are doing printmaking, painting, redimex, so in reality what influences us is the full context.

Chris: Yes, of just being here, of being with people, Mario’s friends…we went to a street show as well.

Juni: We have met MCs, singers, and that is what we really came to do. It has been a real organic process, without it being forced. Everything has sort of just appeared before us.

Are there any pieces you would like to talk about that are currently in the show?

Juni: The bottles sculpture. What we noticed is that here you can’t drink on the street and everyone is worried about getting a ticket, that the police will see them, etc. We also saw that one way that people camouflage this or are more discreet is by putting a paper bag on the bottles. Which has a name right: “brown bag?”

Chris: And we’ll use it in the title. But it is also something that happens in Puerto Rico, but here it’s more…[severe].

Juni: Yeah, because L.A. is supposedly the place that has more police, that invests more in protection. But also while we have been working here, we have been drinking beer while we work. So what we have been trying to do is really take advantage of everything we are experiencing, and make it part of the project. So we decided that we would keep all the bottles of the beer we have been drinking and make a sculpture with the bottles. Really using everything we have consumed while we have been producing the work.

Chris: The graphic prints [with the show title] are inspired by how important advertising is in music events, these flyers made to announce different events. More than the viewers simply looking at the print made from the wood cut, I want people to do their own rubbings and take home their own posters.  With the geometric line piece I was approaching it from previous works that I have done to incorporate visible and invisible spaces in established architecture, in a space like this for example. There is a native space within a space, spaces like those that hold these types of music events.

Here are some photos of Co-founder Mario Ybarra Jr.’s art exhibition, “Wilmington Good” showcasing a multi-media installation of paintings, cranes and photos representing Wilmington in Milan Italy at the prestigious Cardi Black Box gallery opening Feb 24th, 2010. Best of Luck Mario! Thanks to Slanguage Crew that help make this to Tony Lopez and

Eric Marquez!

The WECAN 1 yr. anniversary show opens in just a little over a week on Saturday, February 26th at 7pm. Residents and artists have been coming into Slanguage in the last week to work on window artwork to announce the show, and on limited edition posters that will be available for sale during the opening.

Slanguage co-founder Karla Diaz  was in an exhibition in Cairo Egypt. Her project “Homeland” was based

on the Long Beach-cultural and community center that she attended when she was

young run by Dixie Swift and Manazar Gamboa

The exhibition is titled “Citizen, Participant” curated by Pilar Tompkins.

Pilar Tompkins Citizen, Participant
November 7 – December 10, 2010

Darb 1718 — Contemporary Art and Culture Center
Kasr El Sham3 Street
Cairo, Egypt
+ 2 23 610 511

María Alós
Milena Bonilla
Tania Candiani
Carolina Caycedo
Sandra de la Loza
Karla Diaz
Carla Herrera-Prats

Musical performance by Lysa Flores

Curated by Pilar Tompkins Rivas

Citizen, Participant is an exhibition representing current strategies for artistic production and public intervention in the United States and Latin America today. Grouping seven women of the same generation from four countries in North and South America and the Caribbean, each of the artists shares a similar concern for addressing social agendas within their work, and utilize artistic tactics of performance, relational and service aesthetics, pedagogical practices, research-based projects, and the usage of public and private archives.

The notion of what it means to be a “citizen” can be at once vague and exact. More than a mere labeling of an individual’s status within a nation-state, the idea of citizenry may be defined by an individual’s decision to participate in a community. Taking an active role in shaping social scenarios and political agendas has the potential to ultimately reconfigure history. The artists in Citizen, Participant intentionally adopt practical, poignant and often poetic gestures that occur in the public realm as tactics for artistic statements. These artists are primarily concerned with questioning subjectivity and value, while frequently offering alternative, pro-active solutions and initiatives. Without sidestepping aesthetical concerns, the artists in Citizen, Participant favor a controlled inquiry of social interaction ranging from historical investigations to metaphorical public acts.

Whether in institutional or commercial contexts, these artists frequently reach beyond the limitations of traditional artistic roles, in search of greater public interest, engagement and resonance. While crossing borders and seeking new territories, they encourage the viewer to reconsider their own context and surroundings. Citizen, Participant is reflective of these strategic approaches, while these projects are inspired by the cross-cultural dialog generated by the premise of the exhibition.


María Alós’ recent exhibitions include The Passerby Museum at the Claremont Museum of Art, Inventário at the Carillo Gil Museum, Mexico City, Haptic at The Contemporary Art Forum, Kitchener, Canada, Viva Mexico! At the National gallery of Art in Warsaw and Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico City at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Milena Bonilla has shown internationally at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam; the second Trienal Poligráfica de San Juan, Puerto Rico; X Havana Biennial, Cuba; Muca Roma Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City; Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogotá; BB3 Bucharest Biennial; Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden; Photographer’s Gallery in London; Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea, UK; and Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló in Castellón, Spain.

Tania Candiani’s recent solo exhibitions include the Centro Cultural España, Mexico City, the Kunsthaus Miami, MACLA, San José, California, Kunsthaus Santa Fe, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California. Additionally, her work has been exhibited in the Cairo Biennial, the Brussels Biennial, Viva Mexico at the Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Poland, the Kaunas Art Biennial in Lithuania, and the National Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow.

Carolina Caycedo’s selected exhibitions include the 10th Havana Biennial, in Havana, Cuba, the 2nd San Juan Poligrafica Triennial, the 2005 Whitney Biennial in New York, Galeria Comerical and Manifesta 6 in Puerto Rico, Localismos in Mexico City, Break It, Ibid Projects, Vilnius, Lithuania and Sonidos de una Ciudad, Allanza Francesa Norte, Bogotá, Colombia. Additionally, Caycedo has exhibited in numerous exhibitions throughout North and South America and Europe.

Sandra de la Loza received her B.A. in Chicano Studies at the University of California, at Berkeley and her M.F.A. at Cal State Long Beach. Recent exhibits include Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement, organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Invisible City at the Instituto Cervantes, Madrid, 18 With a Bullet at the Centro de Arte Modero in Guadalajara, Vexing: Female Voices from East LA Punk at the Claremont Museum of Art and Puerto Vallarta: Arte Contemporaneo 2008.

Karla Diaz is a writer, artist and educator and a founding member of Slanguage, an artist-run space in Wilmington, California where she currently runs the education program. She has presented her work in international venues including the Getty Museum of Art, REDCAT, the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, the Serpentine Gallery in London, and the Zocalo in Mexico City. Diaz writes for several art magazines including Beautiful Decay, FlashArt and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest.

Carla Herrera-Prats was co-director of the gallery Acceso A in Mexico City and is part of the collaborative CAMEL. She has shown her work in Canada, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Herrera-Prats is a Visiting Lecturer at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and taught in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. She received a BFA at “La Esmeralda,” in Mexico City, an MFA at CalArts in Los Angeles, and has participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York.

Lysa Flores is a singer songwriter, activist, actress and producer who started her own label BRINGYOURLOVE records in 1998. Flores is considered a pioneer of the East Los Angeles alternative music scene and has toured extensively in the United States and Europe and has recorded and collaborated with such luminaries as Jonathan Richman, Flaco Jimenez, John Doe, Peter Case, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Bill Frisell, and D.J. Bonebrake of X.

Pilar Tompkins Rivas is an independent curator in Los Angeles, and director of the Latin American branch of the Artist Pension Trust, APT: Mexico City. Ms. Tompkins Rivas is currently curating multiple exhibitions for the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time initiative including Civic Virtue: The Impact of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Watts Towers Arts Center for the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and the suite of exhibitions, L.A. Xicano, to be held at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, LACMA and the Autry Museum.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Artist Pension Trust and

“Mom when she is mad at me”

The Más Rudas collective are women of many talents. Since their arrival at Slanguage they have been working hard getting the galley ready for their opening show Saturday titled ” Homegirls”

Next we get familiar with Más Ruda Ruth Buentello and her love of painting…

Q: Tell me a bit about yourself and your background in the San Antonio art scene?

A: My name is Ruth Buentello, I am 26 yrs old and I am a painter. My relationship with San Antonio arts began at San Anto Cultural Arts a community arts-based organization located in the West side , a Mexicano/Chicano neighborhood. The organization is known for its two hardcore programs:  El Placazo Community Newspaper and the Community Mural/Public Art Program. San Anto was created by neighborhood residents out of a need for community arts. I got involved at the age of 16 and I continue to be there as the Community Mural/Public Art Coordinator. The murals were a way to get involved in to something bigger than me and a way to give back to my community. San Anto provided  a direction and guidance for my life as an artist and a space where I could be empowered through art and embrace my Chicananess.

The greatest thing San Anto gave to me was my education at  the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I received my BFA. After my degree I came back in 2008  and I am heavily involved in the arts. I just received a artist travel grant to visit public art in Italy and France.

Q: What type of Art or Media etc do you work with?
A: I primarily paint. My focus is in figurative painting and narratives.  I paint from photographs and work on nontraditional surfaces like Kraft paper, cardboard and other found objects.

Sex Doll (below)

Q:  How did you get started with Más Rudas?

A: The idea of the collective originated from Mari Ruda. The  purpose of Mas Rudas aligned itself with my own work and goals as an artist, so it was natural to get involved. All of the rudas had known each other through the community work we were involved with or as acquaintances. We all found that we wanted to create work that spoke to the contemporary Chicana and at the same time allowed for us to push each other to create experimental work that kept the values of our community practices.

Q: What meaning does ” Homegirls” have to you?

A: This theme has many meanings and purposes to us. We are so excited to be able to discuss such an issue through art. I don’t think in art or our daily lives we get a chance to examine what a homegirl is. Its one of those things that gets overlooked or isn’t seen as art. It has many facets to it from the aesthetics of homegirl (old English font, eyebrows, and big hair) to the complexities of female relationships (friends forever,the self defamation like calling each other bitches or hoes).
Its a theme where we can talk about the relationship we have developed amongst each other as women of the collective. Second we hope to inspire our viewers to examine their own relationships with their homegirl.

Q: Being it is your first collective show in Los Angeles what is your goal for this show or feelings on it?

A: Our goal is create dialogue through our work. We want to demonstrate to Los Angleles that strong work is coming out of San Antonio and its being made by mujeres. We also want to build a strong relationship with Slanguage and create a network with artists from Wilmington.

Q: Where do you see Más Rudas? or yourself in the future with projects?

A: I see Mas Rudas creating work in other spaces nationally and creating educational workshops/forums that are part of our work.

Gracias Ruth!

Do not forget to come for a  Panel Discussion with Mas Rudas: August 4, 2010 from 7:30- 9pm

Next interview will be posted on Thursday with Más Ruda,  Kristin Gamez.