Two Los Angeles-based artists—Carolina Caycedo and Mario Ybarra Jr. —debut new work beginning Nov. 10 as part of an ongoing contemporary arts initiative at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. “Rituals of Labor and Engagement: Carolina Caycedo and Mario Ybarra Jr.” (on view Nov. 10, 2018—Feb. 25, 2019 in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art) marks the third year of The Huntington’s /five project, in which artists are invited to explore The Huntington’s vast collections and make new work in response.
For this year’s initiative, The Huntington partnered with the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College and invited Caycedo and Ybarra to be artists in residence. Focusing on the theme of identity, the artists spent several months working in The Huntington’s collections, exploring texts, artwork, and the botanical gardens through the lens of labor—mainly by people of color—as represented in materials they examined. The resulting works include a multimedia installation, drawings, and prints.
A highlight of “Rituals of Labor and Engagement” is a video by Caycedo that reconceptualizes iconic Huntington spaces through Afro-Latino and indigenous spiritual practices and dance. The exhibition also presents 24 new prints and drawings by Ybarra that bridge past and present through technique and subject matter, mixing his own iconography with imagery drawn from 15th and 16th-century European works in The Huntington’s collections.
“This exhibition—and indeed all of our programs relating to the /five initiative—dramatically spotlights exactly what The Huntington aims to do,” said Huntington President Karen R. Lawrence. “Carolina Caycedo and Mario Ybarra Jr. are bringing to life new and meaningful interpretations of our collections, so that traditions are challenged in exciting ways and visitors can be surprised and inspired.”