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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Artist Proposal- Rafa Esparza

For our artist driven project I would like to focus on Rafa Esparza of Los Angeles. I first came to know Esparza’s work after seeing it featured at the Hammer museum. The installation, which centered around that centered around the making of adobe bricks with his family in northeast Los Angeles, was able to forge themes of native culture and belonging in a foreign space. Esparza was able to channel the iconic brick making technique used throughout Mexico and assemble an piece of art so reminiscent of Latin identity into a space that is notoriously white and often unwelcoming to artists of color. While this piece specifically may not touch upon sexuality and queerness, much of Esparza’s work utilizes his full body- conveying notions of sexuality, love and the male form. His work is a blend of local and indigenous cultural production and often implements aspects of queer sexuality specific to the Los Angeles area. Most notably, Esparza’s work is often located outside of a distinguished art space- resisting a strict aesthetic and the limits on behavior in such spaces. For example, his use of Elysian Park, a space known for gay cruising, is often used in his work as he uses the spaces that hold a lot of weight in the LGBTQ+ community. Esparza’s work confronts ideas of cultural differences, appropriation and sexuality drawing inspiration from iconic Los Angeles spaces and should be honored and studied.

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