By Luis Castilla
Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Vincent Price Art Museum started their monthly “Family Days” Saturday.
LACMA gave a free exhibition tour of “Mariana Yampolsky: Photographs from LACMA” and an art workshop at VPAM.
The partnership is the result of “On-Site: Neighborhood Partnerships with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art,” an ongoing initiative to make LACMA’s collections and programs more accessible to Los Angeles County communities.
The tour centered around Mariana Yampolsky’s black and white photography of Mexico’s scenery and indigenous people.
Yampolsky was a photographer born in Chicago in 1925.
She later moved to Mexico City in 1945, at the age of 25 and became a Mexican citizen in 1954.
In Mexico, she started out as a printmaker for “Taller de Grafica Popular,” a collective of graphic artists dedicated to social and political ideas.
Yampolsky transitioned from engraving to photography in 1948, primarily focusing on Mexico’s scenery.
The VPAM tour guide, Gloria Westcott, said that an important theme of Yampolsky’s photography is contrast.
Although her photographs are in black and white, Yampolsky used different textures.
Elements such as a stone wall and a cloudy sky are captured in “Al Filo Del Tiempo” to create contrasting images.
In another piece, “Pies de Angel,” Yampolsky uses a skull to contrast the darkness of the dark doorway it is sitting in.
These “double conversations,” as Westcott called them, can be found in most, if not all, of Yampolsky’s photography.
She also used this technique to photograph the people of Mexico.
Westcott said that Yampolsky tried to capture indigenous people doing everyday activities to give the viewer a glimpse into their lives.
“Her use of distance and angles makes theirs an ‘elevated indigenous culture,’” Westcott said.
After the tour, visitors were asked to participate in a workshop where they took pictures on their phones to try and replicate some of the techniques Yampolsky used.
These pictures were then printed out and given to the participants.
LACMA’s next Family Days at VPAM are Oct. 27 and Dec. 1 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The events are free and visitors are asked to bring their whole family.
The exhibit, itself, is on display until Dec. 8.
Admission is free and open to the public.
VPAM is open Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m.