arts 26 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY january 18-24, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com The Monterey Museum of Art has entered into a new season, conjuring up spring and its greenery in the middle of wintertime, celebrating California’s links between agriculture and art. The season kicks off with an insiders’ gala on Friday, Jan. 19, where all four exhibits will be presented to attendees. All four are worth your time. The main exhibit that will remain on the walls throughout the whole season is Seeing Chicanx: The Durón Family Collection, made available by Armando Durón (available to the public from Jan. 18 to April 21). The collection celebrates the Chicano Movement (1965-1980) and presents works of contemporary Chicanx art. “The collection is too big to be shown at one time,” Durón said in an interview for MMA. It contains over 600 works from the greater Los Angeles area—paintings, screen prints, drawings, ceramics, photography, sculpture, video, glass and multi-media. “All the artists are still alive,” says MMA’s Director of Marketing and Communications Candace Christiansen, adding the museum is also working on a catalog for this particular exhibit that includes over 40 artists. “As a middle-class collector who lives among the artists he collects and actively attends local art shows, Armando’s approach to collecting is unique and commendable,” said MMA Executive Director Corey Madden in a press release. The second exhibit that opened on Jan. 11 (closes April 21) is composed of works by Dorothea Lange (the exhibit is titled Dorothea Lange: 19351942). During the Great Depression, Lange worked for the Farm Security Administration; her photographs helped humanize the consequences of that period, showing the reality of migrant camps. Her most famous work, the “Migrant Mother” is not included in the exhibit, but you won’t miss it given the other great pieces that are on display, such as “Filipinos cutting lettuce” and other photographs with a documentary-like approach to the subject. Lange was prolific, a master of photo portraits, and MMA requested more of her images, finally landing on a small collection from two sources—the Oakland Museum of California and the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington D.C. One of the most interesting images is “The Grapes of Wrath”—a rural agricultural landscape with a billboard advertising the 1940 movie based on John Steinbeck’s famous novel. The world outside the billboard seems to represent “The Grapes of Wrath” more successfully than the big ad. The Dorothea Lange exhibit is loosely related to another solo exhibit that started Jan. 18 and runs through April 21: Mixed Up—Connected: Joe Ramos Photographs. During a viewing, Christiansen said that there’s a connection between Lange and Ramos, since the person he learned photography from was a Lange’s associate. Perhaps not coincidentally, their subject matter is similar—and there’s a photographic kindness they share. San Francisco-based Ramos has been documenting the hardships and everyday joys of migrant workers. Himself of Filipino-Mexican descent, Ramos immortalized landscapes of the Salinas Valley and family life, with a special focus on human faces. Both his and Lange’s photos surprise with how comfortable the human subject is with the photographer, which is less shocking in case of Ramos, who was documenting his own family and friends. Last but not least, Harvesting California: From the WPA Era to the Present (on display Jan. 11 to April 14), presents MMA’s own permanent collection’s treasures. On the walls repainted grass green (each season the museum repaints the walls for a new theme, Christiansen says) hang landscapes with elements of this exact color. The effect is visually powerful. Harvesting California is another deep look at the agricultural areas, from the Salinas Valley to Bakersfield. Here, one can find Monterey-based Warren Chang, who imbues each contemporary painting with Renaissance aesthetics. The exhibit includes prints, photos and paintings of 30 artists, such as Jeannette Maxfield Lewis (18941982), whose body of work includes displayed etchings. Also known as Jennie Lewis, the artist was born in Oakland but died in Monterey. She was first a painter who got interested in printmaking as a mature artist. The exhibit also includes black-andwhite photos by Monterey-based Jim Kasson, a retired electrical engineer who has been exhibiting his work since the 1980s. Another artist worth mentioning is Henrietta Shore, a Canadian who moved to Carmel in the late 1920s, attracted by the idea of an artists colony. Shore met photographer Edward Weston in 1927, when she was a more established artist than him. She died in poverty in 1963. As for future plans, MMA is getting ready for its second annual Block Party on April 6. The next big exhibit will open in May, when the museum will show works by iconic contemporary Carmel Valley painter David Ligare. Monterey Museum of Art is open 11am-5pm Thursday to Sunday. 559 Pacific St. Monterey. 372-5477, monterey.org. Art of the Season Four new exhibits at the Monterey Museum of Art celebrate California’s links between agriculture and art. By Agata Pop˛eda “Trees on Lorena Street” (2008; acrylic on canvas) by Los Angeles-based contemporary Chicano artist Roberto Gutierrez. This work is part of the Seeing Chicanx exhibit and comes from the Durón Family Collection. On display at the Monterey Museum of Art until April 28. The Durón Family Collection