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Invasión de Fernando

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Invasión de Fernando

Short Title: 
Take a look behind-the-scenes of LA Plaza's newest installation
Date: 
Fri, 2016-10-21
Blog Images: 
Artist Wayne Healy of East Los Streetscapes inspects "Invasion de Fernando."
Art handlers preparing the portable mural for its visit to LA Plaza.
Installation of "Invasión de Fernando" along Main Street.
Blog Images Autoplay: 
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Image to be used in box view: 
LA Plaza Senior Curator Erin Curtis takes you behind-the-scenes of the installation of "Invasión de Fernando." On view at LA Plaza through the holiday season!
 

Curating exhibitions can be an overwhelming task: from a seemingly limitless array of possibilities, curators must choose just a few objects, ideas, and stories to convey information to the public. We rarely have the space to include everything we want in each show, and sometimes, we can't even find everything we want in the time that we have. While working on "Peloteros in Paradise: A Los Angeles Béisbol Story," LA Plaza's exhibition on Mexican Americans and baseball in Southern California, I had to make many of these difficult decisions. So when the opportunity arose to display an additional piece of baseball history at LA Plaza after the exhibition had already opened.

 
I had learned about a portable mural called Invasión de Fernando, painted by David Botello, Wayne Healy, and George Yepes (who together comprised the public art collective East Los Streetscapers), in the course of my research for "Peloteros in Paradise." I wanted badly to include the piece in the exhibition—the 1981 mural celebrates Fernando Valenzuela's breakthrough season with the Dodgers and offers a sharp commentary on immigration by depicting a larger-than-life version of the star pitcher striding across a fence built to divide Southern California from Mexico as undocumented immigrants cut through the same fence —but I simply did not have enough space. I also did not know where it resided, and was running out of time to find out.
 
Shortly before the exhibition opened, I met David and Wayne in the course of my research for ¡Murales Rebeldes!: Contested Chicana/o Public Art, an exhibition LA Plaza will present in 2017 as part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative. It turned out that Fernando resided with them, and they would be willing to loan it to LA Plaza. I was particularly excited to learn that the Streetscapers had painted the mural as part of an arts festival held at the corner of Temple and Main in downtown LA, and that we would be bringing it back to Main Street for the first time in thirty-five years!
 
After finding a prominent space for the mural in our front window facing Main Street, I called a couple of top notch art handlers for some help one Saturday morning in August. We met with Wayne Healy at the Streetscapers’ studio in Commerce, and went to work assessing the condition of the mural, which needed to be cleaned before it could be displayed. The handlers were concerned about the condition of the aging acrylic paint and opted to clean as minimally as possible. They carefully vacuumed the front and back of the mural to remove dust, occasionally using a mesh screen to protect delicate areas of the mural. Next, they spot-cleaned a few stained areas of the piece. After receiving Wayne’s blessing on the cleaned mural, they carefully rolled it in plastic and brought it back to LA Plaza, where they hung the piece to face Main Street once again.
 
"Peloteros in Paradise" closes on October 31, but we've extended "Invasión de Fernando" for the rest of baseball season, and into the holiday season as well! Perhaps the mural will be a good luck charm for the Dodgers. If not, I hope that fans will find solace in its depiction of LA baseball's bygone years.
 

"Invasión de Fernando" will be on view at LA Plaza through the holiday season, and we invite you to see this special mural while it’s here!