Artists Beatriz Cortez and rafa esparza to Explore Their Work and Worlds at Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artist Lecture

Top: Beatriz Cortez, Cosmic Mirror (The Sky over Los Angeles), 2022, detail. Steel with patina, dimensions variable, installation view, Beatriz Cortez: Cosmic Portals, at Pitzer College Art Galleries, February 5 – April 12, 2022. Photo: Ramak Fazel; Bottom: rafa esparza, Earth Eye, 2021, adobe bricks, wood, plastic, installation view (detail) were-:Nenetech Forms, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, October 8, 2021 – March 12, 2022. Photo: Evan Zavitz

Claremont, Calif. (April 7, 2022)—Multidisciplinary artists Beatriz Cortez and rafa esparza will discuss their collaborative practices as part of Pitzer College’s Murray Pepper and Vicki Reynolds Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artist and Scholar Lecture Series on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Their talk, “Beatriz Cortez and rafa esparza in Conversation,” will be held in the College’s Benson Auditorium at 4:15 p.m.

This conversation will be followed by the closing reception for the Pitzer College Art Galleries’  Beatriz Cortez: Cosmic Portals exhibition, which opened on February 5. Cosmic Portals features a two-part installation created by Cortez: a large-scale indoor sculpture referencing an ancient Mayan observatory and an outdoor work inspired by a massive stone arrangement built 29 centuries ago by the ancient Olmec people. Curated by Director of Pitzer College Art Galleries and Curatorial Affairs Ciara Ennis, Cosmic Portals explores Indigenous knowledges, multiple temporalities, and ancient forms of abstraction.

esparza’s work also explores history, as well as personal narratives, kinship, and his own relationship to colonization. ARTnews recently called esparza “among the most closely watched artists working in the US today.” Known for large-scale installations made of adobe, esparza “frequently invites artists, primarily Brown and queer ones, to show their work alongside his,” said ARTnews. Cortez and esparza have collaborated on exhibitions, including Beatriz Cortez and rafa esparza: Pasado mañana at the Commonwealth & Council in Los Angeles.

In their conversation at Pitzer, Beatriz Cortez and rafa esparza will discuss “the ancient idea of the unfolding of worlds as a continuum and as the context for their exploration of cyborgs, hyperobjects, and gestures as acts of generosity across time and space,” according to the Pitzer College Art Galleries.

The annual Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artist Lecture is made possible by the Murray Pepper and Vicki Reynolds Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artists and Scholars Endowed Fund at Pitzer College. Established in 2007, the fund helps bring critically acclaimed artists and scholars to campus to hold seminars, workshops, public talks, and one-on-one conversations with students. The fund is named after Trustee Emeritus Murray Pepper and Vicki Reynolds Pepper, long-term supporters of the College and the grandparents of David Pepper ’17 and Morgan Pepper ’12.

The closing reception for Beatriz Cortez: Cosmic Portals will immediately follow the artists’ talk and be held in the Nichols Gallery of the Pitzer College Art Galleries from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Masks are required for all indoor events at Pitzer, and guests must complete a health screening before coming to campus. For more information, email pitzer_galleries@pitzer.edu or visit the Pitzer College Art Galleries events page.

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