Tune in: The Tide Was Always High Concert Series

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is in full swing in Los Angeles, and for the unprecedented program, author Josh Kun has turned a year of academic research into a phenomenal lineup of concerts and the book The Tide Was Always High: The Music of Latin America in Los Angeles.

Led by the Getty, PST: LA/LA is an ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in Los Angeles and a joint effort of more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Each month, Kun curates a monthly playlist related to his research, so tune in below and read along with The Tide Was Always High. Save 30% today with code 17M6662.

Here’s what’s happening this month:

Musical Interventions 

Event details at tidewasalwayshigh.com

October 7, 2017: Voice of the Xtabay: A Tribute to Yma Sumac—at Hammer Museum

A genre-bending roster of Los Angeles Latinx vocalists and musicians reimagine the songs of multi-octave Peruvian singer and Capitol Records recording star Yma Sumac. Inspired by the Hammer exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art 1960-1985, the evening features Empress Of, Nite Jewel, Maria Elena Altany, Ceci Bastida, Dorian Wood, Carmina Escobar, and Francisca Valenzuela. Produced in partnership with the Hammer Museum.

October 18, 2017: Playing With Fires: Chicano Batman Plays Carlos Almaraz—at LACMA

Celebrated Los Angeles band Chicano Batman will perform new music inspired by LACMA’s exhibition Playing with Fire: Paintings by Carlos Almaraz. Performance will take place in the exhibition gallery. Produced in partnership with LACMA.

October 26, 2017: Tonight at the Palace!: A Variedades Tribute—at The Downtown Palace Theatre

Inspired by classic Spanish-language variety shows held at downtown movie palaces such as the Million Dollar and the Palace, this imaginative evening features live music, dance, comedy and a screening of restored Spanish language Laurel and Hardy films. Hosted by Mexico City performer and writer Amandititita, the evening includes the Versa-Style Dance Company and music from La Familia Gonzalez de Los Angeles, and an all-star jam session with Abraham Laboriel, Paulinho Da Costa, Alex Acuña, and Justo Almario. Produced in partnership with USC’s Visions & Voices.

UC Press is thrilled to be publishing three books in conjunction with PST: LA/LA. Learn more here.

#PSTLALA // #TheTideWasAlwaysHigh


Uncovering Agnes Martin

For years, seeing Agnes Martin’s celebrated paintings required a pilgrimage. In the mid-1970s, a visit to Martin’s home and studio on a remote mesa in Cuba, New Mexico was not for the faint of heart: Martin could often be seen barreling across arroyos in her pick-up, rescuing lost visitors. Over time, the difficulty of seeing Martin and her paintings became part of the appeal of her work. Martin’s drawings, paintings and prints could increasingly be seen in museums in the United States and Europe, but she remained an “artist’s artist” and her critical reputation eclipsed her popular renown. For many fans of Martin’s work, including Terry Castle, who wrote of her own pilgrimage to see Martin’s paintings in Taos, Martin’s “semi-obscurity [wa]s sort of the point.”

No longer. Thanks to a recent spate of books, exhibitions, and magazine articles, Martin is finally having her moment. A long-overdue retrospective of Martin’s work, co-curated by Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell, closes at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on September 11th and opens at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York on October 7th. The first traveling retrospective of Martin’s work since 1992/1993, the exhibition is part of a critical re-evaluation of Martin’s work and her legacy within the history of art. Indeed, three museums currently have entire rooms devoted to Martin’s paintings—the Harwood Museum; DIA:Beacon; and, most recently, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

For those of us who have studied Martin’s work for years, all the fuss is a welcome change. I first encountered Martin’s work in a museum’s storage room, and was struck by the care with which Martin marshaled her artistic materials to create a drawing of uncommon power and sensitivity. Who was this artist? Why wasn’t she a household name? Why was her work in storage? It certainly wasn’t a question of quality. Martin was notoriously ambivalent with regard to her views on gender and sexuality, though there is no doubt that both worked against her in the art market. And while Martin often resisted large-scale exhibitions—for years, she declined to have an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art because she did not want a scholarly catalog produced—she was surprisingly savvy in the promotion of her art. To attract the notice of the New York dealer Betty Parsons in the late 1950s, for example, Martin rented an abandoned storefront outside of Taos and put up an exhibition of her own work—a solo show to compete with the best of them.

Rosenberger cover

Drawing the Line: The Early Work of Agnes Martin uncovers the ambition, determination and grit that characterized Martin’s rapid creative evolution, arguing that the germs of Martin’s artistic success can be found in her early work. It’s essential reading for anyone who visits the retrospective, and proves a useful companion for visitors who spend time with her paintings in museums across the globe. If seeing Martin’s art no longer requires a four-wheel drive vehicle, the rewards are no less spectacular.


Christina Bryan Rosenberger is an art historian living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a contributor to Tate Modern’s 2015 exhibition catalogue Agnes Martin and recently wrote on Martin’s 1978 film Gabriel for Artforum. She has taught modern art at the University of New Mexico and has served as Research Coordinator for the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art at the Harvard Art Museums.


Enter to win one of two copies of Drawing the Line: The Early Work of Agnes Martin in our Goodreads.com giveaway through August 20th.


Weimar and Now: Suggested Reading for the LACMA and the Neue Galerie Exhibitions

Germany’s Weimar Republic, established in 1919 and positioned squarely between the first World War and the rise of the Nazi Party, was not only a time of dramatic social, economic, and political transformation. The Weimar period was host to an iconic scene of complex, experimental new art.

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“Few modern urban settings have exerted a stronger grip on the popular imagination than Weimar Berlin,” writes Martin Filler in the New York Review of Books, “typically presented as a nonstop freak show of grotesque transvestites and mutilated war vets, lumpen Brechtian beggars and top-hatted industrialists, Charleston-crazed floozies, effete gigolos, and brazen rent boys. To be sure, this cartoonish image originated in the period’s corrosively satirical art, especially that of George Grosz, Otto Dix, and Max Beckmann.”

This “creative maelstrom” that Filler describes is captured in two Weimar art exhibitions, open now: Berlin Metropolis: 1918–1933 at Neue Galerie in NY, which runs through January 4th, 2016, and New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919–1933 at LACMA in Los Angeles, which runs through January 18, 2016.

To learn more about the revolutionary modern artists featured in these exhibits, check UC Press’ recent titles about Weimar artists, Revolutionary Beauty: The Radical Photomontages of John Heartfield and The Exile of George Grosz: Modernism, America, and the One World Order, as well as many other titles in our Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism series. The full series list can be found on the series page.

For more on these exhibitions and the fascinating history behind them, we also recommend this podcast with Modern Art Notes, featuring Tyler Green, a forthcoming UC Press author.