Visual artist and muralist Judy Baca has completed a new mural that is now on view at the Getty Center, titled La Salsera (The Salsa Dancer).
In conjunction with the new mural, Getty has opened the exhibition Judy Baca: Hitting the Wall, which runs through September 4, 2022.
La Salsera depicts a woman dancing through MacArthur Park in Los Angeles while on her way to catch a bus on Wilshire Boulevard, a major thoroughfare used by domestic workers traveling daily to jobs on the Westside. Behind the woman, Baca included caretakers of children pushing strollers in the park.
“The woman in the mural is filled with monarch butterflies, a symbol of immigrants and migrations,” says Baca. “La Salsera represents the transformation of hardship into resilience and joy, death and loss into a celebration of life—definitive aspects of Latinx life and so integral to the Los Angeles experience.”
La Salsera, which is 15 feet wide, 14 feet high, and weighs nearly 2,000 pounds, consists of three tempered and laminated glass panels. This work, a combined hand-drawn work with monarch images, is printed to create the first direct-to-glass digital mural that incorporates two layers of design. Baca’s innovative technique involves printing a digitally created image on glass with finely-ground glass frit. The mineral colors meld with the glass on firing, while designs on the back and front of the glass create added dimensionality. The result is a long-lasting mural with strong colors less likely to fade from sun exposure. The mural will be on view at the Getty Center for a year.
“La Salsera is an example of how Baca continues to experiment and innovate in her Digital Mural Lab at the Social and Public Art Resource Center after four decades of producing some of the most iconic murals around Los Angeles,” says Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “We have been fortunate to work with her on this special commission at the same time we are showcasing her project for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.”
Judy Baca: Hitting the Wall presents Baca’s step-by-step process for bringing her mural Hitting the Wall: Women in the Marathon to life in vivid color, including preliminary sketches, detailed perspective drawings, vibrant colorations, and an actual-size reproduction of the central figure of the mural. The Baca exhibition is presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Lost Murals of Renaissance Rome, also on view through September 4, 2022, featuring a variety of drawings from Getty’s collection, including the celebrated series “Early Life of Taddeo Zuccaro” by his younger brother, late-Renaissance artist Federico Zuccaro.
“Judy is a remarkable contemporary muralist who continues not only to tell untold stories, but also works to overcome the often-perilous fragility of the mural form,” says Julian Brooks, senior curator of drawings at the Getty Museum. “The commission represents an evocative coda to the huge loss of Renaissance murals and the continuing difficulties of preserving murals in L.A. The new technique results in a mural that dances and glistens in the light. It will astonish our visitors.”
Baca will speak at a Getty Center event lecture on Sunday, June 12 at 4pm, offered in-person and via Zoom. A recording of the lecture will be available on the Getty Museum YouTube channel following the event.