Muchas Luchas

La Quebradora, literally “The Crusher,” is a backbreaker move in lucha libre, the high-flying professional wrestling hugely popular in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries. It’s worked into the title of “La Quebradora: Lucha Libre in Contemporary Mexican Art,” an exhibit that references the iconography of the sport as a series of metaphors around identity and conflict. Curator Amy Pederson, an art history professor at Burbank’s Woodbury University, brings together new paintings, sculptures, video, and performance pieces by more than a dozen artists. She stresses that “this exhibition is intended not as a show about lucha libre, but as a show that uses lucha libre as a model for the production and reception of contemporary Mexican art.” Nonetheless, the art does revolve around the sport. Various pieces depict the legendary luchador Santos in a struggle against himself. Another shows an ephemeral mask, eroded by the wind and threatening to reveal the identity of its owner. In Juan Bastardo’s sculpture El Adversario, wrestlers are reduced to a spider-like tangle of fused arms and legs. Tonight’s reception features live performances, including a group wrestling match symbolically pitting the Black Panthers against the KKK.
Mondays-Saturdays. Starts: June 2. Continues through Aug. 4, 2012

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