Review: ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ as Latin-flavored art installation
For his U.S. debut, the Brazilian artist known as f.marquespenteado has staged a fantasy at the intersection of Hollywood and the Mexican diaspora. The story, told in textile works, collage and two enormous pieces of chicharrón, is about a fictional dinner party where the protagonist, Lupe, introduces her new British boyfriend to her Mexican American friends.
This story is relayed in a detailed text, written like film character bios. All the characters work in the film industry, and the show occupies a space somewhere between a stage set and a storybook. It is perhaps a telenovela version of what Latino L.A. looks like to someone in Brazil.
Titled after the 1967 film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” the show is the Freedman Fitzpatrick gallery’s contribution to Pacific Standard Time LA/LA, the Getty-led exhibitions on Latino and Latin American art.
In pieces large and small, f.marquespenteado uses textiles, embroidery, painting and collage to create a setting that is homey yet redolent of fable.
“Fringed curtain: main course” is a wall-sized textile that depicts a laden dinner table. The naively rendered food — roast chicken, bottles of wine — is broken up across vertical strips of fabric. But some of the strips are shot through with darker drips and stains, making the piece oscillate between what looks like two different realities.
The dinner also appears in smaller works that resemble traditional craft textiles, and in more abstract ways. In “salsa 01,” a piece of lacy fabric is dyed rainbow colors and embroidered into an attractive rumpled shape that suggests dancing.
On the more literal side are beautifully patterned tote bags and scarves hanging on hat racks, and collaged and stitched portraits of the dinner guests. Other works are both home décor and illustrations. “Flowers for Lupe” is an embroidery of flowers that is a nice wall hanging but also a picture of the bouquet that the British boyfriend, Joel, brings Lupe.
The exhibition gestures toward belonging, community, borders and who polices them, but it is the works’ ability to flicker between setting and storytelling that carries the day. Perhaps that’s just another way of crossing borders.
Freedman Fitzpatrick, 6051 Hollywood Blvd., No. 107 (inside Gower Plaza shopping center), L.A. Through Oct. 14; closed Sundays and Mondays. (323) 723-2785, www.freedmanfitzpatrick.com
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