Letter from the Director | February 2018


I met Dora De Larios last year after getting in touch to see if she might be a fit for the commission of a new public artwork that would welcome visitors to the museum. Almost immediately, I knew she was perfect for the project, and more importantly, that she needed a major exhibition. As a Mexican-American, a woman, and a ceramist, she did not receive the recognition she deserved in her long career that began in the late 1950s.

A show coalesced quickly. In the last few weeks, Dora enjoyed reading the beautiful stories that came out about her work and the upcoming exhibition, Dora De Larios: Other Worlds, in Los Angeles magazineLALA magazine, the LA Times, and many others. It seemed like we could hardly keep up with the press and it brought us all so much joy to see her enveloped in the recognition she had always deserved. Even better would be seeing Dora bask in the glow of her exhibition. But we did not make it in time. Dora passed away after a protracted battle with cancer on January 28. I was, and am, devastated.

It strikes me that we must recognize our heroes before it’s too late. The problem is that sometimes we don’t know who the heroes are… history hasn’t favored them. Maybe it was because of their race or their gender or their sexuality, because of illness or because of poverty. We must share the work of the worthy so that a new history can be written so that we can expand our own versions of the truth, and really, so we can give thanks and celebrate the great ones, whoever they may be.

I hope you will stop by on February 25 for the opening of Dora’s show and the powerful exhibition by Rigo 23 that will also be on view. We take enormous pride in presenting the work of artists who one might not always know and featuring practices like Rigo’s that are less familiar. These artists, Los Angeles artists, are right under our noses if only we will look. Then listen. And if we can, amplify.

Allison Agsten, Director