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Adriana Lara

Adriana Lara is an artist based in Mexico City and a member of the production agency Perros Negros. Currently in residence at Beta-Local in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Lara is at work editing issue 10 of the journal Pazmaker, while preparing a fall solo show at the Kunsthalle Basel. This June, Perros Negros will present an exhibition at the Basel gallery New Jerseyy.

  1. MARÍA DANIELA Y SU SONIDO LASSER

    Formed in 2003 by Emilio Acevedo and María Daniela, this Mexico City–based electropop duo was, at least at first, too quirky for the Mexican music industry. In recent years, though, María Daniela YSSL’s frenetic “live” dance music has gained a cult following, as 2007 track “Pobre Estupida” has become a veritable anthem at local gay nightclubs. But my favorite song of theirs is still probably “Asesiné a mi novio” (I Murdered My Boyfriend), for which a fan made a crazy over-the-top video with a gory montage of the Japanese anime series Dokuro-chan.

    *Still from a fan video for María Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser’s song “_Asesiné a mi novio_” (I Murdered My Boyfriend), 2008. * Still from a fan video for María Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser’s song “Asesiné a mi novio” (I Murdered My Boyfriend), 2008.
  2. NACHO LÓPEZ AND LIVIA CORONA

    Two Mexican photographers recording their country, half a century apart: Through the lens of Nacho López (1923–1986), we see a culture beset by wrenching change (rapid industrialization in the 1950s giving rise to the government’s increasingly authoritarian rule). With Livia Corona (b. 1975), we’re presented with the shocking extremes that era engendered: on the one hand, the sprawling tract housing of Ixtapaluca, built without concern for its residents’ basic needs (sufficient water, adequate sewage, schools, hospitals); on the other, the incredibly rich, such as philanthropist Carlos Slim Helú, depicted by Corona flanked by his old masters.

    *Livia Corona, _Carlos Slim, world’s richest man, with two paintings from his collection. Mexico City_, 2010*, color photograph, 3 1/2 x 2 1/2". From the series “_Fotos Finas_” (Fine Photos), 2000–. Livia Corona, Carlos Slim, world’s richest man, with two paintings from his collection. Mexico City, 2010, color photograph, 3 1/2 x 2 1/2". From the series “Fotos Finas” (Fine Photos), 2000–.
  3. GALERIA DO ROCK, SÃO PAULO

    During a recent trip to Brazil, my friend and I were taken on a guided tour of Galeria do Rock, the seven-story Oscar Niemeyer–style temple to teenage mall culture, which houses some 180 music stores, skate shops, tattoo parlors, etc. Ditching the group, we snuck up to the top floor—which was supposedly off-limits—only to find the most amazing exhibition: a dust-covered (and, as far as we could tell, untitled) room full of art inspired by American rock culture. Who knows exactly when the show was installed (or abandoned), but with mixed-media psychedelic shrines and tributes to Pink Floyd and The Catcher in the Rye, no doubt it would have been a blockbuster had it toured.

  4. SAM FRANCIS AND BRIGITTE FONTAINE

    Like a real-life version of Nick Nolte’s character in Martin Scorsese’s short for New York Stories (1989), the late painter Sam Francis appears as the original success-addled AbEx genius in Jeffrey Perkins’s thoughtful 2010 biopic of the artist. No less true to form, though a world apart, is Brigitte Fontaine reflecting on life and love in the video for her 2009 song “Prohibition.” On this track, the seventy-something Fontaine expresses, with incredible lucidity, her explicitly antiauthoritarian attitude toward (and fear of) aging, singing, “Je suis vielle et je vous encule / Avec mon look de libellule / Je suis vielle, sans foi ni loi / Si je meurs, ce sera de joie” (I am old, fuck you / With my dragonfly looks / I am old and lawless / If I die, it will be of joy).

    *Brigitte Fontaine, _Prohibition_, 2009*, still from a color video, 4 minutes 5 seconds. Brigitte Fontaine, Prohibition, 2009, still from a color video, 4 minutes 5 seconds.
  5. CATS AT SANTIAGUITO AND NO FUTURE/NO PAST

    Since its 1981 debut, Cats has been officially translated into more than ten languages and performed thousands of times all over the world. In 2007, the musical was staged as a recreational activity and public program at the reformatory in Santiaguito, Mexico, where it was documented by the artist Diego Berruecos. If I were to curate an exhibition, I’d include his images beside Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz’s film installation–play No Future/No Past, 2011, in which five musician–contemporary artists embodying as many punk icons create similarly weird displacements—of authority, time, hierarchy, and audience—effectively negating the creed “No future,” as they bring into the present such formative subjects from their pasts.

    *Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, _No Future/No Past_, 2011*, still from a color film in 16 mm, 15 minutes. Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, No Future/No Past, 2011, still from a color film in 16 mm, 15 minutes.
  6. BERNHARD WILLHELM FALL/WINTER 2012

    What makes it into the history of fashion? I would include Bernhard Willhelm’s men’s “Hole Shorts.” From his new collection: loose, calf-length shorts with a cylindrical opening cut straight through the dropped crotch, to define a “hole” in a space that trousers never occupy. This look makes me think of the person-size sculptures that Heimo Zobernig installed at La Douane—Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris this winter.

    *Bernhard Willhelm, “Hole Shorts,” from his fall/winter 2012 collection.* Bernhard Willhelm, “Hole Shorts,” from his fall/winter 2012 collection.
  7. MAIKO ENDO, KUICHISAN (2011)

    A boy wanders Okinawa City, Japan, in what we might take to be the present day. But haunted by history, myth, and his own visions, the young protagonist traverses times and places that perpetually appear to surge and fade. In this feature-length 16-mm film, Endo gives us a figure suspended in a Bolañoesque world, rendered with microscopic sensitivity to symbols, situations, and the relationships between people and things.

  8. CREATURES OF THE DEEP

    Sea life is so totally, endlessly fascinating. On the ocean floor—which, in places, reaches to depths greater than the height of Mount Everest—otherworldly monsters flash like lasers in a nightclub, pulsing neon green, red, and blue from their photophoric organs. A few years ago, the BBC released a documentary showing these creatures in action. At certain moments there is no background music, just the amazing subtle sounds of this bizarre underworld.

  9. PETER KUBELKA, SCHWECHATER, 1958

    In 1957, Peter Kubelka was commissioned to direct a TV ad for the Austrian beer Schwechater. He dutifully captured all the requested shots—attractive women drinking, a hand reaching for a fresh brew, frothy bubbles. And then, taking months and months to complete the job, he created from this footage something that Schwechater couldn’t possibly use: an amazing one-minute flicker film so abstracted it could almost only function as a subliminal message. It was a good strategy, and one that seems totally current now: an experiment in and through sponsorship, instrumentalizing advertiser and artwork alike.

    *Peter Kubelka, _Schwechater_, 1958*, stills from a color film in 35 mm, 1 minute. Peter Kubelka, Schwechater, 1958, stills from a color film in 35 mm, 1 minute.
  10. TOBIAS ROSENBERGER, COLD LIGHTS, 2008

    A mixed-media installation in a dark room comprising text, images, wood, mice, bacteria, special LCD screens, and a preprogrammed sequencing of gelled fluorescent lighting. Serving as the facade of a wall of vitrines, the semitransparent screens reveal not only scrolling text but, beyond them, both living and inert material, creating a multilayered analog rendering of digital animation. Cold Lights is like a bedtime blending of science lab and mad artist’s studio.