Artist Hugo Crosthwaite will produce a new mural at the Museum of Social Justice while visitors watch. The mural will wrap the gallery walls and will only be complete for a matter of weeks before the artist paints it out, bit by bit, during museum hours. This mural as performance is part of a series of murals he calls In Memoriam which the artist has been painting at sites in the US and abroad. Visitors are invited to speak with him, ask questions, or just watch while he is working.
Crosthwaite works in a style which brings together portraiture of ordinary people, comic book characters, street signage, urban facades, and mythological references, among other things, into dense and layered compositions. His work reflects the character of frenetic urban settings, especially border towns like Tijuana where the artist lives. Fear, hope, sorrow, and celebration are all represented together as he incorporates his observations of daily life. He elevates the ordinary person to heroic showing the trials they endure in surviving and thriving in our contemporary cities. Through his work, Crosthwaite invites us to have compassion for people who struggle in the margins of society.
For In Memoriam Los Angeles, Crosthwaite will observe people in the local Los Angeles downtown area as he works in an improvisational manner to complete the mural. Working only during the museum’s open hours when visitors can observe, he will engage the public and allow the interactions to influence his work. At the end of the exhibition, the artist will produce an animation from still photographs taken throughout the process which will show the painting’s production from beginning to end.
This exhibition was co-presented with the California Historical Society as part of the Getty Institute's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Initiative, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California.