Native Portraits: Contemporary Tintypes by Ed Drew
Native Portraits: Contemporary Tintypes by Ed Drew is a series of portraits of members of the Klamath, Modoc, and Pit River Paiute tribes (tribes that were originally in California and southern Oregon). Drew was commissioned by a tribal mental health worker to photograph during several of intensive “talking circle” weekends in which participants recounted their experiences with racism, abuse, drug addiction, crime and tragedy. In their stories, Drew found connections to his own struggles with his identity as an African American. He was also drawn to the larger history of conflict between Native Americans and the United States government.
As Drew explains: "I am producing 5x7 tintypes of Klamath Falls tribes as part of a commission to redefine the tribal people in the area as no longer the victims of the injustices brought upon them by the U.S. government, but as strong and powerful people of today." By using the tintype process, a popular portrait medium in late nineteenth century America, Drew connects the past to the present and re-contextualizes contemporary Native Americans as the protagonists of their own stories.
Drew won the trust of Modoc tribe members when he ran fifteen miles alongside them (in sandals) during a relay race to Lava Beds National Monument, the site of the Modoc War (1872–73).
In addition to Drew's Native Portraits, CHS presents Sensational Portrayals of the Modoc War, 1872–73, an exhibition drawn from its collections of vintage photographs, newspapers, and books that often sensationalized the war, including carte de visite portraits by Louis Heller of Modoc Indians in custody following the war and stereographic views by Eadweard Muybridge (who was commissioned by the government to document the war) showing the desolate Lava Beds and picturing non-Modoc Indians reenacting battle scenes for his camera.
Smudge Pot, David Boulé California Orange Collection, 1940s
Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times
A family at the 2015 History Keepers exhibition explores this example of a smudge pot used by California citrus growers to keep their trees and fruit from being damaged when temperatures dropped below freezing.
"Play Me! LA History Pinball Machine"
Courtesy of the Studio for Southern California History
In this object displayed at the 2015 History Keepers exhibition, pinball alleys represent the 110 FWY and pinball portals represent its exits. Lost balls follow a freeway sign for the 10 West. As the Studio for Southern California History explains, "In some ways, the game represents how we travel on the freeways—often missing some of the most special parts of our beloved city."
Traversing Los Angeles
An exhibition by the California Historical Society and L.A. as Subject, presented in partnership with El Pueblo Historical Monument and the El Pueblo Park Association
El Tranquilo Gallery & Visitor Center
Olvera Street, El Pueblo de Los Ángeles Historical Monument
Tuesday through Sunday, 10am–4pm
Photographs, documents, scrapbooks, and ephemera are some of the material objects that help us to tell and understand our history. What are the objects that tell the story of Los Angeles? Who collects them? What stories do they tell? In this exhibition celebrating Los Angeles’s remarkable history, curious objects from collections housed across the Los Angeles region are displayed together at the historic El Pueblo de Los Ángeles to illuminate the history of this multifaceted city.
Last summer's History Keepers: Storied Objects from Los Angeles Collections (August 2015) offered visitors a diverse group of objects that told a variety of stories about Los Angeles’s history. This year, History Keepers: Traversing Los Angeles brings together a range of items from collections across the region illustrating a particular theme: traversing Los Angeles. Photographs, documents, 2-dimensional artwork, ephemera (brochure, ticket stub, program, etc.), maps, 3-dimenstional objects, and audio-visual and sound recordings all will capture the way we experience our city, physically and metaphorically.
Courtesy of the artist
¡Murales Rebeldes!: Contested Chicana/o Public Art
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
501 North Main Street
Los Angeles, California
The California Historical Society, in partnership with LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, will present ¡Murales Rebeldes!: Contested Chicana/o Public Art, an exhibition exploring the way in which Chicana/o murals in the greater Los Angeles area have been contested, challenged, censored, and even destroyed.
Murals became an essential form of artist response and public voice during the Chicano protests of the 1960s and 1970s. They were a means of expressing both pride and frustration at a time when other channels of communication were limited for the Mexican-American community.
¡Murales Rebeldes!: Contested Chicana/o Public Art is part of the Getty initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Through photography, sketches, related art works, and ephemera, ¡Murales Rebeldes!: Contested Chicana/o Public Art will tell the story of murals by Barbara Carrasco, Sergio O’Cadiz, Roberto Chavez, Willie Herron, and others from their genesis to their end.
In this exhibition at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes—in the historic heart of Los Angeles at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument—CHS and LA Plaza will examine the iconography, content, and artistic strategies of key Los Angeles area Chicana/o murals that have made others uncomfortable to the point of provoking a contrary response, delving into the murals’ complicated creation and subsequent disturbing history of censorship.
About Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Led by the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is the latest collaborative effort from arts institutions across southern California. This year’s initiative will implicitly raise complex and provocative issues about present-day relations throughout the Americas and the rapidly changing social and cultural fabric of southern California.
Through a series of thematically linked exhibitions, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA will present a wide variety of important works of art, from modern and contemporary art to the ancient world and the pre-modern era. The exhibitions will range from monographic studies of individual artists to broad surveys that cut across numerous countries.
The California Historical Society and LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes—a cultural center focused on the Mexican-American experience in Los Angeles and Southern California—are among 60 museums and cultural institutions taking part in this unprecedented collaboration of arts institutions in southern California focusing on the contributions of Latin American artists to the culture and history of the Southland.
About LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is the nation’s premier center of Mexican American culture. Providing an experience unlike any other, LA Plaza’s interactive exhibits and dynamic programs invite visitors of all backgrounds to explore as well as contribute to the ongoing story of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles and beyond. Located near the site where Los Angeles was founded in 1781, LA Plaza’s 2.2-acre campus includes two historic and newly renovated buildings (the Vickrey-Brunswig Building and Plaza House) surrounded by 30,000 square feet of public garden. The California Historical Society is pleased to establish its southern California offices in this historic building.