LACMA curator Ilona Katzew helps museum bridge ancient, modern cultures
Ilona Katzew, the Mexico City-born overseer of LACMA's department of Latin American art, has illustrated through several exhibitions that ancient and contemporary art often are a lot closer in sensibility than the centuries separating them would suggest.
Her latest exhibition, "Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World," running through Jan. 29 at LACMA, is a case in point. Several of the show's 200 objects, representing the art of the Aztec and Inca empires as well as that produced under the Spanish viceroyalties, illustrates the cultural give-and-take that occurred between indigenous artisans and their colonial masters.
But as Times art critic Christopher Knight noted in his review of what he described as the "large and engrossing new show," a number of the exhibition's works reveal strange affinities between the strategies and concerns of ancient and modern art.
That seems appropriate, given the desire of Michael Govan, LACMA's director, for the museum to treat pre-Columbian and colonial-era Latin American art as part of a broad continuum that extends to L.A.'s Chicano art movement and the work produced by contemporary Latino artists.
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-- Reed Johnson
Photo: LACMA curator Ilona Katzew, photographed with "Folding Screen With the Genealogy of the Incas" 1837, by Marcos Chillitupa Chavez, Cuzco, Peru, oil on canvas, in the exhibition "Contested Visions." Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times