[abc7] LACMA exhibit ‘Painting in the River of Angels’ shows artist Dr. Judy Baca in action

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — One of California’s most prominent artists has been working on her masterpiece since the 1970s. Dr. Judy Baca continues her work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and that’s where you can see her in action, creating stroke by stroke, depicting the rich history of the Golden State.

“Painting in the River of Angels” is an art exhibit unlike most you’ll find. Instead of a finished piece, observers can watch Baca create her piece in real time.

“This is actually an addition to the half-a-mile that is already done. So, in the channel there is 2,740 feet. What you are looking at here is only a 60-foot reach,” said Baca.

The mural tells the story of California’s history through its people. Baca, students, and community members painted it from 1974 to 1983. Its next chapter will be a reckoning with the civil upheavals of the 1960’s and 70’s.

“The Great Wall is a correction of that story. It tells the stories from the perceptive of the people who’ve had these experiences from the children of those people,” said Baca.

In all, there will be eight new murals as part of the expansion. From Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in their struggle for farmworkers rights, to the Chicano movement, Baca depicts the fight for civil rights with freedom riders linked together as they face down Jim Crow laws.

“We thought ‘oh all those things are happening in the South.’ The Jim Crow laws were happening here,” said Baca. “They’re listed in the mural and when you walk this mural and take that walk journey through the history, you’ll see each of those laws.”

Visitors to the museum will be able to view the live exhibit as Baca and a team of artists work to complete the murals. The pieces are expected to be finished in June of 2024, after which they will join the existing mural at the L.A. River.

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