Love begins with the awareness of the curve of a back, the length of an eyebrow, the beginning of a smile. “It happens!” The presence of another being mobilizes your attention, your senses. That feeling grows, becomes a desire to repeat the experience. It becomes an itinerary. A voyage. The imagination takes over that reality and starts building fantasies, dreams, projects … It creates its own necessity, and in some people encompasses the whole of life. It becomes that voice in the night that tells you “I love you,” and that knocks your whole being off balance. Ultimately, it reaches the zones where you question the whole universe; it domesticates thinking, it ends as an addiction. And then, in the tragic cases, it falls into an abyss, where there are cries of pain, where the lovers lose sense of all dimensions, of all reality. These are times when a poet can say that love changes the direction of time. This state of being in love is an uneasy state: it is unstable, permeable to all winds, almost irrational. It easily creates a sense of terror, becomes obsessive. That’s when heartbeats accelerate, and one puts out the lights, lies down with another body, and sinks into a kind of desperate bliss. How can one bear such an intensity? Love becomes a river of “re that replaces blood in the arteries. It leaves one breathless. One wants to stay still, not moving, having forgotten the hour. Even the sense of one’s body disappears. The body disappears from memory. There’s an immobility due to the total mobilization of the senses functioning henceforth in an altered state. Desire itself is eventually overcome. Strangely enough, this state approximates the experience of death.  Who can endure for a long time such an internal upheaval? The lovers themselves end up fearing their happiness and feel ready to destroy it. And society itself suspects such love and represses it with all its might. It considers it to be a potential subversive revolution. Love always acts like an earthquake. It strongly affects not only lovers but also those who watch it happen.
—  Etel Adnan, from Etel Adnan: on Love and the Cost We Are Not Willing to Pay Today (Hatje Cantz Verlag GmbH & Co KG, 2011)  

4 Books on Latin American and Latino art
A Shelfie from Selene Preciado, Program Assistant

Hi, I’m Selene Preciado, program assistant at the Getty Foundation. Outside of my work at the Getty, I am an independent curator of Latin American and Latino art.

In anticipation of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, this selection of books is inspired by the initiative’s effort on advancing the fields of Latin American and Latino art history by promoting their dialogue, as these are often perceived as separate fields of study albeit sharing narratives and historical contexts. One of the strongest points of convergence between the two fields is in the strategies of conceptual artists, particularly in arte de acción or performance, which has been a significant area of production in the Americas since the sixties. 

PST: LA/LA exhibitions such as the Armory’s Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action in 1990s Mexico; the Hammer’s Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985; or Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A., organized by ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries, as well as the highly anticipated performance art festival organized by REDCAT (January 2018) will include performance artists from across Latin America, the United States, and other diasporas.

1. “Arte No es Vida: Actions by Artists of the Americas, 1960-2000,” by Deborah Cullen. (El Museo del Barrio, 2008).

This exhibition catalogue for Arte No es Vida: Actions by Artists of the Americas at El Museo del Barrio is one of the most comprehensive compilations on performance art by Latino and Latin American artists, and it includes a detailed chronology of the most important actions since 1957 until the year 2000. The exhibition was also a curatorial laboratory for exploring the problem of exhibiting performance—a time-based medium—through documentation, video, ephemera, and objects.

2. “ASCO: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987,” by C. Ondine Chavoya and Rita Gonzalez. (Hatje Cantz, 2011).

This 432-page tome is the most important document on the East Los Angeles collective ASCO (1972–1987), produced on the occasion of the major retrospective organized as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945–1980 in 2011. But don’t let its girth intimidate you—the exhibition catalogue is very dynamic, fully illustrated, and contains about twenty essays of different lengths and topics, such as ASCO’s walking murals, collaborations, or “No-movies,” as well as a section on documents and extensive bibliographic information.  

3. “Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas,” by Coco Fusco. (Routledge, 1999).

This book was edited by theorist, curator, and artist Coco Fusco, whose work since the 1980s has explored postcolonial, gender, and race issues. Corpus Delecti is an excellent resource and one of the very first performance art surveys that bridged together regions and movements by including art from Latin American, Chicana/o, and Caribbean artists, as well as genres that blurred the lines between fine arts, theater, vaudeville, and staged political protest.  

4. “MEX/LA: ‘Mexican’ Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985,” by Rubén Ortiz-Torres and Jesse Lerner. (Hatje Cantz, 2011).

Like ASCO: Elite of the Obscure, this catalogue was published in conjunction with the groundbreaking exhibition MEX/LA, part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945–1980, and organized by the Museum of Latin American Art. Just like the exhibition, this catalogue is an unconventional and thought-provoking approach to telling the story of the relationship between Mexico and Los Angeles. 

Departing from forked origins—from the mythological location of Aztlán, the founding of L.A. as a “Latin American city” (since it was Mexican territory back in 1781), to the presence of Mexican muralists in the 1930s who ignited local production—it visits chapters in L.A.’s history that explore exchange, remix, appropriation, and ongoing negotiations of race, class, and gender. Through the work of Chicana/o artists like ASCO, Barbara Carrasco, Yolanda López, and Ricardo Valverde, as well as Americans such as Wallace Berman, the Eames, or Millard Sheets, MEX/LA pushed boundaries also in exhibition making. Its non-chronological, non-thematic approach consisted in connecting artists and artworks through ideas.

While this book doesn’t solely focus on performance art, the MEX/LA catalogue might be the unifying thread of this list, in that it offers a critical view on hybrid and shifting identities as performative constructs. You only have to take a look into the performativity of figures such as Robert Stacy-Judd, the Zoot Suiters (a counterculture of the 1930s–40s), or even the borrowed Maya elements in the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright—all included in the particular universe of MEX/LA. The concepts explored in the exhibition and catalogue of MEX/LA are part of the origin story of what is now Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.

Night is an element of love; like fog. It liberates space, lets freshness cross it. Its magic elevates the body, brings to the surface the mystery of just being alive, being. With or without stars and galaxies, the sky becomes a private territory—the imagination’s own scope. These are moments when one reaches all there is between the moon and oneself.
—  Etel Adnan, from Etel Adnan: on Love and the Cost We Are Not Willing to Pay Today (Hatje Cantz Verlag GmbH & Co KG, 2011)  

Remembering Dame Zaha Hadid: Drawings

The Peak series (Painting from), 1983. (Image courtesy of Zaha Hadid.)

Malevich Tektinik, London project, 1977. (Image courtesy Hatje Canz.)

The World (89 Degrees), 1983. (Image courtesy Hatje Canz.)

Vitra Firestation design study, 1990.

Cardiff Opera House, 1994. (Painting.)

Reina Sofia Museum, Aerial perspective & Layering, 1999.

Herault Sports Center, France, 2002.


But what is love? And what are we giving up when we relinquish it? Love is not to be described, it is to be lived. We may deny it, but we know it when it takes hold of us. When something in ourselves submits the self to itself. Prisoner of oneself, that’s the lover. A strange fever.
—  Etel Adnan, from Etel Adnan: on Love and the Cost We Are Not Willing to Pay Today (Hatje Cantz Verlag GmbH & Co KG, 2011)