Poetics of the Handmade is a show recently opened at MOCA that focuses on eight Latin American artists whose work is defined by, as the museum describes it, "intense physical processes of creation" and "finding poetry in ordinary objects and small actions." Or, artmaking that might also be described as repetitive, obsessive, and maybe a bit crazed. On Sunday I listened to a panel with seven of the artists and curator Alma Ruiz at the museum's auditorium. It was a lengthy but highly entertaining talk. Maximo Gonzalez, who installed in one whole gallery room an almost endless landscape of tiny and delicately constructed images cut out from devalued paper currency, described the entire process that went into his piece as "terrible." Everyone of course laughed.
The entire show is very rich and delightfully unsettling, when you imagine the actual work that went into it. Livia Marin took 2,200 sticks of red or reddish lipstick and crafted the tips to make forms that suggest ceramics or board game pieces. They are displayed standing in clumps on two long curving white stands. (See above.) Dario Escobar took the silver-embossing technique of the Guatemalan Baroque period and painstakingly applied it to readymades of pop culture repute: a skateboard, a table tennis paddle, etc.
The show-stealer in my view is Eduardo Abaroa, who fashioned a really breathtaking installation using his signature materials: rubber balls, glue, and thousands upon thousands, upon thousands, of blue cotton swabs: