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ICA LA will feature Martín Ramírez in their inaugural exhibition

ICA LA will feature Martín Ramírez in their inaugural exhibition
Photograph: Ryan Miller / ICA LA

This autumn, what was once known as the Santa Monica Museum of Art will re-open as a fully new museum, the Institute for Contemporary Art Los Angeles. We’ve been excited for the opening since it was first announced, and now we have yet another reason to mark September 9 on our calendars: The inaugural show will be the first major L.A. show ever of work by artist Martín Ramírez.

Labelled a folk or outsider artist, Ramírez was a migrant laborer from Mexico who made his way to California but found himself spending much of his life in a mental institution due to his schizophrenia. While confined, he created a prolific and acclaimed collection of drawings. Of that collection, 50 pieces will be displayed in the ICA LA show, including a 17-foot scroll that has never been seen by the public.

“The work has been rolled up and it’s literally in tatters. It’s currently being conserved in Chicago by a very august paper conservator.” ICA LA director Elsa Longhauser told the L.A. Times. 

"Martín Ramírez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation"will be ICA LA’s entry in 2017’s Pacific Standard Time series which will focus on the influence of Latin America and the Latin American diaspora on L.A.’s art and culture.

In addition to the Ramírez show, ICA LA’s head curator Jamillah James will be overseeing two other shows, including a site-specific temporary installation in the courtyard of the new museum, designed by local painter Sarah Cain.

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