Culture Monster


Review: Hector Zamora's quiet indictment of American dream at REDCAT

For his first solo exhibition in L.A., São Paulo artist Héctor Zamora sutures together two emblems of Southern California consumerism: the single family home and the shopping cart.

Nearly filling the gallery at REDCAT, "Panglossian Paradigm" consists of a single sculpture: the wooden frame of a small, six-room house entirely supported by evenly spaced metal shopping carts. An odd and unwieldy structure to be sure -- giving new meaning to the term “mobile home” -- it is a quiet indictment of the American dream.

Perhaps it speaks to the ritual nature of consumerism that I was initially struck by the impulse to start pushing the house around. It may be Pavlovian: When I see a shopping cart, I want to start moving and filling it with stuff.

CRITICS' PICKS: What to watch, where to go, what to eat

Still, the house is theoretically mobile, suggesting impermanence and transience -- far from the sentiments one associates with home sweet home. Then again, from another angle, shopping carts are the only “homes” some people have.

Zamora’s carts and house are also both strikingly empty. Things that were built to be filled are instead skeletal and evacuated: The stuff is gone, but the structure remains.

Just as the shopping carts are thoroughly integrated with the lower beams of the house, the housing crisis is of a piece with a dead-end pattern of excessive consumption. Zamora’s understated sculpture reminds us that an economic recovery is not just a matter of rebounding, but of more fundamental change.

The Gallery at REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., (213) 237-2800, through Sept. 1. Closed Mondays.


PHOTOS: Hollywood stars on stage

CHEAT SHEET: Spring arts preview 2014

PHOTOS: Arts and culture in pictures

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Review: 'Serious Candy' captures Terry O'Shea's elusive nature

    Review: 'Serious Candy' captures Terry O'Shea's elusive nature

    In the late 1960s and early '70s, Terry O’Shea (1941-2002) made some great works of art that are doubly invisible. They are either ignored (as they were by the official organizers of Pacific Standard Time), or treated like cute little sidekicks to the big guns of resin — artists such as John McCracken,...

  • Christian Petzold's 'Phoenix' haunted by ghosts of WWII

    Christian Petzold's 'Phoenix' haunted by ghosts of WWII

    The nightclub singer returns from a concentration camp, battered and disfigured, roaming like an apparition through a ruined city toward her husband's betrayal. The war has not yet settled into history, and the chanteuse is desperate to resurrect a charmed life forever lost.