Laura Aguilar Fearlessly Reclaims Her Body And Her Journey Through Life With "Show And Tell"

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Lesbian, Latina and large-bodied, Laura Aguilar fearlessly reclaims her body and her journey with Show and Tell: the headline-grabbing exhibition that captured the heart of the art world during the recent PST: LA/LA, the massive art initiative led by the Getty.

During this unprecedented exploration of Latin American and Latino art, Aguilar's show was hailed as one of the most critically acclaimed of all the 70+ exhibitions at cultural institutions across Southern California. "Show and Tell" now makes it East Coast premiere in Miami at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU through May 27, located on the campus of Florida International University.

The first comprehensive retrospective of the American photographer's work assembles more than one hundred photographs and video spanning three decades. A rebellious and groundbreaking Chicana, Aguilar's retrospective has been heralded nationwide for establishing the artist as a powerful voice for diverse "invisible" communities, and for courageously disrupting repressive stereotypes of beauty and body representation.


The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU Miami Beach Presents the U.S. Premiere Of Stranded In Shanghai


Often political as well as personal, the bold portraits cut across performative, feminist and queer art genres.

The images captured through her lens reflect Aguilar's struggles with depression, obesity, self-acceptance, prejudice and misogyny.

Challenged by auditory dyslexia, she struggled with words and turned to her camera to penetrate the underground LGBT world around her in the East Los Angeles of the 1980s and 90s. Her later works cross into never-before-seen territory: Aguilar's daring self-portraits juxtapose her over-sized, naked body alongside desolate terrains, hulking boulders and stark bodies of water.

The guest comment book inside the galleries of the Frost Art Museum is already overflowing with hand-written messages proclaiming shock, outrage, loneliness, hope and inspiration, ranging from "How could you do something like this?" to "I've been waiting for something like this all of my life."

"Laura Aguilar's works express raw honesty without demanding a singular response, and we are seeing how her exhibition is providing transformative experiences for those who are open to it," said Jordana Pomeroy, the Director of the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU.

"We are honored to be selected as the venue where the public can currently experience Aguilar's powerful approach to camera work, and her humanistic eye on her subject matter. Exhibited outside of its native Southern California context, Aguilar's exhibition resounds strongly to our East Coast, Latin American and Caribbean audiences ─ with universal truths about the ways we view others who may not look like ourselves or share our backgrounds. We are witnessing a strong response from our local audiences, including our many visitors from all over the world."

The exhibition was curated by Sybil Venegas, and was organized by the Vincent Price Art Museum (where it was originally presented as part of PST: LA/LA), in collaboration with the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.

"Show and Tell" reflects the trajectory of an artist unable to communicate via words, especially due to her auditory dyslexia. Yet through her decades of artmaking she became a voice for diverse groups that are under-represented in society.

Aguilar is best known for her iconic triptych Three Eagles Flying (1990). Featuring her signature self-portraiture, the artist's nude body takes on a form of rebellion against the colonization of Latinx identities – racial, gendered, cultural and sexual.

The 'three eagles' within the photograph appear implicitly. The Spanish word for eagle, águila, denotes the artist's name. The national emblems of both the U.S. and Mexico are referenced. Her head is wrapped, and her body is bound, creating a forceful political symbol.


Dangerous Women: Electrifying New Exhibition Premieres At The Patricia And Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE EXHIBITION:

Latina Lesbians (1985-1991) and Plush Pony Series (1992):

Both featured collaborations with the Los Angeles LGBT communities. The Plush Pony was a working class, lesbian bar in El Sereno, a neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles, where Aguilar met the women who form the core of this series. Like much of Aguilar's oeuvre, this work documents a piece of the American experience from the perspective of a photographer whose identified subjects are often invisible to the mainstream lens. As a photo essay, it captures a microcosm of the city's queer community of color in the early 1990s.

Nude Self-Portraits (1996):

This series was shot while on a road trip through New Mexico with friend and fellow photographer, Delilah Montoya. As an artist, Aguilar was moving towards a place of greater self-acceptance and was overtly and visually beginning to challenge her limiting beliefs of her own self-image and self-esteem. Portrayals of her body in nature, particularly set against the forms of rocks and stone, resonated powerfully with her and she began pursuing this artistic direction.

Aguilar would later gain international recognition for these photographs, influencing her subsequent nude series Stillness (1999), Motion (1999), Center (2000),  and Grounded (2006). 

ABOUT THE ARTIST: 

Aguilar's works are held in a number of collections, including: the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction; Los Angeles County Museum of Art;Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City.

More than 50 national and international exhibitions include: the 1993 Venice Biennial; the Smithsonian Institution's International Gallery; The International Center of Photography in New York; the Los Angeles City Hall Bridge Gallery, the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), the Los Angeles Photography Center; and the Women's Center Gallery at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Awards include: the Anonymous Was A Woman Award and the James D. Phelan Award in Photography. 

Aguilar was born (1959) and raised in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles. She studied photography at East Los Angeles College and was also self-taught.

About the Museum

One of the largest free-standing art museums in Florida, the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University was founded in 1977 and is the Smithsonian Affiliate in Miami. The museum's new lakeside building debuted in 2008, designed by Yann Weymouth (the chief of design on the I.M. Pei Grand Louvre Project), and this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. With 46,000 square feet of energy efficient exhibition, storage, and programming space, the museum was honored with LEED silver certification. 

The museum's mission is three-fold: to be a campus resource for the entire FIU community; to offer interdisciplinary training in the arts for the next generation of artists and art historians; and to serve as a premier cultural destination for the residents of Miami, and the 15 million visitors to one of the world's most vibrant cultural destinations - home to global cultural events including Art Basel.

The Frost offers programming that complements its exhibitions with a wide range of educational initiatives. Admission to the museum is always free. The Frost is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is located at 10975 SW 17 Street. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., and Sunday noon-5:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays and most legal holidays. The Sculpture Park is open every day. More information at frost.fiu.edu or 305-348-2890.

Haute Tease

  • FLIGHT, from Director Robert Zemeckis, Delivers a Thrill Ride

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    FLIGHT, from renowned Director Robert Zemeckis, ImageMovers and Paramount Pictures, presents a fast action, turbulent, terrifying, thrill ride through every air traveler’s worst nightmare and the intersections of life and death.

     
  • Family of Robin Williams Continues to Dispute Estate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Robin Williams, who committed suicide a year ago, in addition to leaving behind a devastated adoring fan base, friends, colleagues and equally devastated family members he also left a very large estate, the majority of which he gifted traditionally.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama Tackles Ed Costs; Putin MIA; Russia/Ukraine; Ferguson Erupts; ISIS/Boko Haram

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama continued to escalate his domestic agenda introducing a Student Aid Bill of Rights that will address four areas every student in America should have as they face the daunting costs of higher education.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama, G7, Meet in Japan; The Libyan Olive Branch; Election: Trump, Clinton, Sanders; Morley Safer

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama is traveling to South East Asia visiting Hanoi, Vietnam and Hiroshima, Japan, each city invoking strong historical recollections of U.S. military involvement marking the end of the Vietnam War and retribution for the Pearl Harbor Attack.

     
  • Money News: World Markets Rebound; DOW Up, American Markets Steady

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The US Markets continued to show strong signs of steady growth, with Asian and European Markets also showing signs of consumer confidence, as shoppers are positively responding to consumer friendly incentives and the November Jobs report caps a year of economic growth to end 2014.

     
  • No Indictment in Ferguson Case; Violence Hits More Than 90 Cities

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Missouri Grand Jury refused to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed African American teen shot and killed in broad daylight, while walking in the street near his home, last August.

     
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas Review – A Magical Holiday Treat For All

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Man Who Invented Christmas, from Bleecker Street Media, presents the story of  young Charles Dickens, struggling to create, in six short weeks, what would become the best loved Christmas story of all time, A Christmas Carol.

     
  • Court Upholds Second Chance at Justice for Pennsylvania Youth

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Pennsylvania Superior Court’s recent ruling vacating a lower court’s decision, may just grant Jordan Brown, the Pennsylvania 12 year old convicted of murdering his father’s fiancée and her unborn child, a desperately needed second chance at justice.

     
  • LUXE Sunset Boulevard and YogaWorks Partner to Assist Travelers Maintain Zen

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A recent survey conducted by the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel in partnership with YogaWorks, a leading provider of yoga and fitness programs, revealed that many business travelers are saying “Argh” instead of “Om” when attempting to keep up with their fitness routines while on work trips.

     
  • Danielle Jones, Comatose Craigslist Beating Victim, Wakes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Danielle Jones, the Miami female beaten nearly to death and into a coma by a roommate she had found on Craigslist one week after he moved in, has finally woken 24 days after the Valentine's Day attack.

     
  • Kubo and The Two Strings Review - Spectacular, An Epic Masterpiece

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kubo and the Two Strings, from Laika Entertainment and Focus Features, present an ancient tale of epic proportions as a boy and his mother flee from her sinister family who desire to crush the magic that empowers them with greatness.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/ Climate Strike, Justin Trudeau, Kennedy, Native American Women Crisis, 2020 Polls, Cokie Roberts

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Citizens, young and old, from 156 nations, joined those around the world on Friday for a single day of solidarity in the largest climate strike in history with global attendance numbers reaching as high as four million.

     
  • Money News: Dow Escapes the Bear; European Markets Down; Asian Split

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average, finally escaped the Bear's grasp, salvaging a brutal volatile week across the global markets which saw the international markets continuing to react to the fall out in Greece.

     
  • 18 Penn State “Brothers” Arrested in Fraternity Murder

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Eighteen Beta Theta Pi Alpha Upsilon Fraternity brothers at Penn State University, still synonymous with pedophile cover up of football Coach Jerry Sandusky, have been arrested in the shocking hazing death of Timothy Piazza, a freshman pledge, during the annual Rush Week.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Saudi’s/Khashoggi; UK/EU Finalize Brexit; Tear Gas Greets Immigrants; Stan Lee Memorial

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Trump, who has reluctantly been drawn into the investigation of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, has finally released the definitive White House statement on the "horrible" crime and the United States relationship with the Saudi's.