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Skirball Cultural Center

This is a past exhibition

This exhibition was on view at the Skirball
October 6, 2017–February 25, 2018

About the Exhibition

The exhibition featured a new body of photographic work by interdisciplinary artist Ken Gonzales-Day examining the mural landscape of LA—from East LA to Venice Beach, from Pacoima to South LA. Featuring over 140 photographs, Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day: Murals, Signs, and Mark‐Making in LA considered what the city’s walls reveal about its diverse communities.

The exhibition demonstrated how Los Angeles understands its history and its values through the murals that decorate the city. Local communities honor their heritage by telling their own stories with their own voices. Residents pay homage to their idols and heroes. Graffiti artists declare their presence. Activists decry injustice and envision better worlds. Shopkeepers lure customers with hand-painted advertisements. Artists from around the globe make their mark on a rapidly changing urbanscape.

Recording Los Angeles’s unique visual identity and the diversity of its population and artistic production in the present moment, Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day asked: What is a mural? Who speaks, and who decides what counts as art?

Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day was part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty.

Donor Support

Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day: Murals, Signs, and Mark-Making In LA is organized by the Skirball Cultural Center as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.

logos for Pacific Standard Time LA, The Getty, and Bank of America

The exhibition and its related educational programs at the Skirball Cultural Center are made possible in part from generous support from the following donors:

The Angell Foundation
Pasadena Art Alliance
Photographic Arts Council · Los Angeles
Sauvage Family
Specialty Family Foundation

Additional support is provided by:

Nathan Cummings Foundation with the encouragement of Sonia and James Cummings
The Dubois Family Charitable Fund

Good Works Foundation
Carol Vernon and Bob Turbin
Lannette and Scott Turicchi

Media sponsors: