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New MCA Curator Carla Acevedo-Yates Makes A Powerful Debut

J.P. Anderson | December 23, 2020 | Lifestyle

New MCA curator Carla Acevedo-Yates makes a powerful debut with two extraordinary exhibitions of Latinx artists.

AparicionesStill-0001.jpgCarolina Caycedo, still from “Apariciones/Apparitions” (2018)

Championing emerging voices has long been a major mission for the Museum of Contemporary Art, and this month the institution doubles down, shining a spotlight on two exciting artists of Latin American heritage with dual exhibitions Carolina Caycedo: From the Bottom of the River (through March 21) and Chicago Works: Omar Velázquez (through July 25). The shows mark the debut of new Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator Carla Acevedo-Yates, who adds yet another perspective to the institution’s multicultural, global aesthetic.

AcevedoYatesCarla.jpgMarilyn and Larry Fields Curator Carla Acevedo-Yates of the MCA

“Since my arrival last year at the MCA, I wanted to show a commitment to artists of Latin American descent who live in the U.S., as well as those living and working in Latin America, the Caribbean and its diasporas,” notes Acevedo-Yates. “Carolina Caycedo and Omar Velázquez are two very different artists in their approach to materials, but they share a concern for social and political issues. Carolina is invested in environmental justice from a feminist perspective, encouraging audiences to change their relationship to nature. I’m particularly excited to be showing nine of her powerful Cosmotarraya works, hanging sculptures made out of fishing nets that embody both a way of life for riverine communities and a grassroots resistance to hydroelectric power. Omar, by contrast, works mainly with acrylic and oil painting, exploring the connections between painting, music and folklore within the broader context of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States and the legacies of colonialism. He makes incredibly lush and vibrant paintings that are inspired by his dreams and daily walks and drives through the Puerto Rican countryside.”

VelazquezGallina.jpgOmar Velázquez, “Untitled (Gallina de palo/Chicken of the Trees)” (2018)

It adds up to two must-see shows for the winter season, notes Acevedo-Yates. “These shows bring color into the galleries. But more importantly, they bring attention to different ways of thinking and doing. I hope that people who see these shows at the MCA will have an experience of both beauty and social awareness.” 220 E. Chicago Ave.

Photography by: From top: Courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles; courtesy of Eat Pomegranate Photography; courtesy of the artist