California State University’s Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum in Long Beach is kicking off its 2019-2020 program with B.A.T. State III, a group show that features artwork by 37 female artists, many of whom are Latinx artists based in Southern California or Mexico City. The show opens this Sunday, September 8th, with an opening reception in the early evening, and will run through November 14th.
The curators Anita Bunn and Francesco X. Siqueiros chose 87 printed works to hold a dialogue on intersectional feminism while considering the border between Mexico and California, something they envision as “a cultural crossing, a demarcation of space, and geographical location.” In other words, the border doesn’t just function as a wall, but a porous barrier that shifts the messages coming from either side.
The title of the show is an acronym that refers to printmaking; it’s the curators’ third show displaying printed work like monoprints, lithographs, and reliefs. The exhibition includes a range of artistic sensibilities, from the delicate figurative prints of Ruby Osorio to the bold iconography of established artist Linda Stark (just recently picked up by the contemporary powerhouse David Kordansky Gallery) to the layered portraits of Carolyn Castaño.
In addition to the opening reception, the curators are holding a special tour of the show on Tuesday from noon to 1pm, when visitors will be able to experience the show more intimately and have the opportunity for deeper engagement with the creative, social, and political dialogue introduced by the artists. In a press release, Siqueiros praised the artists’ vulnerability and commitment to dialogue. “I am pleased to witness the work of women artists that have collaborated with El Nopal Press, with all their openness, to produce this great display of prints.”
The curators had access to much of the artwork through Siqueiros’s LA-based printing press El Nopal Press. Founded in 1990 by Siquieros, who is an experienced master printer, El Nopal Press has always explored this type of cross-cultural, transnational exchange between Latinx artists on either side of the border — mainly, between contemporary artists in Los Angeles and Mexico City. The press produces high-quality, limited edition prints.
B.A.T. State III opens this Sunday with an opening reception from 4 to 6pm. Free parking is available on Level 1 at the nearby Pyramid Parking Structure. You can register for the event through Eventbrite.