MOLAA Receives Major Donation from Actor, Comedian Steve Martin • Long Beach Post

Photos courtesy of the Museum of Latin American Art. Camilo Ontiveros (Mexico, b. 1978) Pink Lady Kenmore Dryer, 2009 Dryer and automotive paint. Gift of Steve Martin.


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A major work by conceptual artist Camilo Ontiveros has been donated to the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) by actor and comedian Steve Martin, the museum announced earlier this month.

Known for his generous gifts to Southern California museums, Martin donated Pink Lady Kenmore Dryer, 2009.

Camilo Ontiveros’ (Mexico, 1978) work reflects his interest in socio political themes, highlighting those relevant to his own life, such as issues inherent to Los Angeles: immigration, power relations, underground economies, recycling and the value of the objects in a consumerist society, according to MOLAA.

The artist earned an MFA from UCLA in 2009 and had his first solo show at Steve Turner Contemporary, I Want Your Washing Machine, further articulating his interest in dislocation, value, conditions of US/Mexico border relations and what he calls “a recycling aesthetic”.

In the weeks leading up to the exhibition, he posted advertisements soliciting used washing machines that he ceremoniously accumulated and repurposed through repairs and high-end paint jobs, according to MOLAA. This “recycling aesthetic” began when he noticed trucks full of appliances, mattresses and scrap metal circulating around Los Angeles.

“He wondered where these trucks were going – to Mexico to be resold, second hand stores, or scrap metal yards,” according to MOLAA.

He began following the trucks and interacting with the drivers, discovering that most were from Mexico or Central America and that some had been collecting discarded material for 20 years, fixing and then selling them or trading them at recycling plants. Ontiveros began an exploration into how items that were considered to be of no value could become valuable.

In 2011, MOLAA acquired its first work of art by Ontiveros titled, Colchon III de la serie Deportables, 2008 and in 2012 held the exhibition Camilo Ontiveros: In the Ring, curated by Idurre Alonso. Through his research on boxing, Ontiveros drew attention to the intersections between Mexican and Filipino cultures, using the ring as a platform for debates that occurred throughout the exhibition.

Pedro Friedeberg (Italy, b. 1936) Amnesia del Doctor Caligari / Amnesia of Doctor Caligari, 1967 Acrylic and ink on museum board Gift of Timothy and Jill Deal

Alongside Martin’s donation, MOLAA also recently acquired Elíxir del Olvido / Elixir of Oblivion, 1995 by Lucia Maya, gift of Ana Iturralde, Amnesia del Doctor Caligari / Amnesia of Doctor Caligari, 1967 by Pedro Friedeberg, gift of Timothy and Jill Deal, and La Huella Múltiple, 1999, xilographs by multiple Cuban and American artists, 1940s -1970s, gift of Darrel Couturier.

MOLAA’s collection now has over 1,600 works of art that reflect the museum’s commitment to exploring the multitude of artistic and cultural perspectives of Latin American and Latino art.

Learn more about the Museum of Latin American Art here.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her on Twitter and Instagram @theasiamorris and via email at [email protected]

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