Art enthusiasts from across the region celebrated the Opening Party of Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas at UCR ARTSblock on Saturday.
Robb Hernández, assistant professor of English at UCR and co-curator of the exhibition, described it as the first effort of transnational scope to identify the growing tendency of science fiction in contemporary Latin American and Latino art. “A tendency,” he noted, “that recasts ‘the future’ at a time when debates over immigration reform, militarized borders, mass deportations, and efforts to build ‘the wall’ might suggest otherwise.”
During the opening party, VIPs shared in an intimate gathering with the artists. Additionally, the evening paid respect to victims of the recent series of Hurricane: Harvey, Irma, and Maria. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, some artists were unable to travel to the U.S. for the opening party. One, stuck in his home due to a downed electrical wire across the gate bordering his property, sent a video that was played for those in attendance Saturday evening.
While touring the exhibition, attendees enjoyed large-scale installations, photographs, sculptures, drawings, paintings, performances, and video installations across ARTSblock’s two adjacent buildings: the California Museum of Photography and the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts. Among the many laudable displays were a couple of crowd favorites: “Inflatable Bodies: Organic Arches” by Chico MacMurtrie, and “Alien Toy” by artist Rubén Artiz Torres.
Reflecting on the evening, Executive Director Sheila Bergman said, “The Opening Party was grand! The standout moment was the palpable energy of our artists, visitors, faculty, and students within the museum and arts center. Our commitment to producing exemplary exhibitions, performances, and incubate bold ideas resonated with the broader local, national, and international community that attended our event.”
“I want to build on this momentum,” Bergman continued, “and have it catalyze greater engagement and support that allows us to grow and thrive as one of the leading arts institutions in Inland Southern California.”
Milagros Peña, Dean of UC Riverside’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, described the evening as incredible. “It was so wonderful to see so many people turn out to see and experience the works from artists representing so many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.”
According to Peña, those who gathered in celebration were also mindful of the recent, catastrophic events in Mexico and the Caribbean, noting the artwork truly represents mundos alternos. “Our hearts are with the people of Mexico and the Caribbean islands,” she shared. “Mundos Alternos at ARTSblock has lived up to its place and partnership with Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. Don’t miss your chance to see the exhibit and visit multiple times.”
At the same time Saturday, the Riverside Art Museum held an opening reception of Myth & Mirage: Inland Southern California, Birthplace of the Spanish Colonial Revival exhibition in coordination with the grand opening of ‘Mundos Alternos’ at ARTSblock.
Mundos Alternos, scheduled to run through February 4, 2018, is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an initiative of the J. Paul Getty Trust, an exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place at more than 70 cultural institutions from Santa Barbara to San Diego, and from Los Angeles to Palm Springs.
UCR ARTSblock is open Tuesday—Thursday 11am to 5pm, Friday—Saturday 11am to 7pm, and Sunday 11am to 4pm. For more information, visit artsblock.ucr.edu. The Riverside Art Museum is open Tuesday—Saturday 10am to 4pm, and Sunday noon to 4pm For more information, visit riversideartmuseum.org/ visit/.