States of the Arts



by Jesús Rafael Soto
Installation art, interactive art, sculpture

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Hundreds of bright, lemon-yellow tubes dangle from an elevated frame, their ends gently grazing a polished aluminium base. Situated in the plaza of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, they are exposed to the elements. Penetrable is far removed from the gallery alarms, protective glass, and guard rails found indoors. The artist invites his audience not only to touch the sculpture, but to become entangled within it. Exploration, rather than reverence, is encouraged. The sculpture offers a hands-on experience to all, even if its meaning hangs out of reach.

Words by Katherine Fieldgate


directed by Alejandro Hernández
Short film

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A woman lies unconscious, wires protruding from her scalp. Monitors count out her heartbeats. White cloth swaddles her comatose form. The oblivion that we observe is medically induced; experimental subject or desperate patient, the woman finds respite in a virtual reality. In this illusory life, she hugs her husband close, stroking the even grain of his stubble. She swipes at a tablet for photographs of her son, impatiently flicking through family snaps. But the matrix glitches and we are caught in the headlights of a flashback. A foot slips over a pedal; a wheel spins out of control.

Words by Elizabeth Brown


by Teresa de la Parra

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‘Yes, I, María Eugenia Alonso, am going to write a diary.’ Teresa de la Parra’s young, wilful protagonist begins to record her opinions, meditations, and life experiences out of sheer boredom. Following the death of her father, María sails home from Paris to Caracas, where she quickly grows weary of its inhabitants, and their commitment to the regime of Juan Vicente Gomez. Her stern grandmother and aspiring uncle prove just as tiresome. María’s entries reveal dreams of a freer lifestyle, and a romantic dilemma that complicates the path to finding it.

Words by Hugh Maloney


by Arca

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Synths sputter repeated pitches, convulsing into life in a series of spasms. The bright electronic tones send a rush of adrenaline racing through the body, in a build of anticipation that channels both uterine contractions and the surge that precedes a heavy bassline drop. Deep, resonant thuds beat like a distant heart. Tangled throbs jitter unpredictably. Two minutes in, the stuttering timbres subside, replaced by the serenity of a sustained, string-like texture. Breaks rise shortly to the surface, but each breath grows longer and calmer, with the track culminating in unbroken bliss.

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

Penetrable: You can visit Jesús Rafael Soto's official website here. If you would like to find out more about Penetrable, you can also read Verónica Muñoz-Najar's post for LACMA Unframed.

Alt: You can watch the trailer here, and see the whole film here.

Iphigenia: You can read an excerpt here, and an excerpt from RoseAnna Mueller's book Teresa de la Parra: A Literary Life here.

Alive: You can read an introduction to Arca by Dee Lockett for Slate, along with the following interviews: by Emilie Friedlander for The Fader; by Alex Frank for Vogue; by Kate Hutchinson for The Guardian; and by Erik Morse for Rolling Stone.

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