Get Disturbed

At Centro Cultural Español, Hispanic artists go radical on culture

Francisco Valdes's Reagan (1973) features drawings and animation re-creating snippets from the blockbuster movie classic The Exorcist that traces a young girl's possession and subsequent exorcism. Tucked into an alcove near the back of the space, the piece includes 100 panels of pencil drawings, which the artist used for the animation, taped in a grid on a wall, and a large-scale projection on a neighboring wall. The drawings are created in a cross-hatched and pencil-shaded smoky style. Each is a unique gem. Valdes has also dubbed some of the movie's dialogue over his animation, adding to the work's intensity. In one sequence Father Merrin leans over Regan as she rolls her eyes into the back of her skull and flickers her tongue like a reptile. As the elderly priest asks to speak to the entity inhabiting the girl, Regan hawks a heinous loogie onto his spectacles. In another segment the girl attacks her mother's friend's genitals, squeezing his balls until he drops to the floor, shrieking.

Beatriz Monteavaro's ink-on-paper drawings — Your Body Is a Vision, Hungry for You — are remarkably executed and depict flesh-eating ghouls on a rampage in Paris. Three of the talented Miami artist's small works are on display, and they are among the standouts. In one drawing a man dressed in a suit recoils into the Eiffel Tower's shadow, his gums peeled back in horror as a slimy black claw nearly engulfs him from the bottom right of the composition. In another amazing drawing a bare-chested, Afro-sporting cannibal, who looks like a fugitive from Night of the Living Dead, stares at the spectator while gore drips from his gob. A woman, missing a gruesome chunk of her throat, lies at his feet.

A work that brings to mind the grisly seed pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the carnivorous plant in Little Shop of Horrors was Cristina Lei Rodriguez's Nasty Queen. This eye-catching sculpture nests on a white pedestal. Its gelatinous pink pine-cone-shape head is shrouded in what appears to be a steel-wool cowl. What might be the mutant vegetation's hair gives the aspect of a cobra's hood interwoven with a long black-beaded dreadlock that cascades toward the floor. A lone wilting and curled leaf covered in pearly ectoplasm gives it volume. Juicy ribbons of what looks like powdered pumice — mixed with Dippity Do extra-hold gel — oozes from the plant's carcass and down the column.

One of Beatriz Monteavaro's Your Body Is a Vision, 
Hungry for You ink-on-paper drawings
One of Beatriz Monteavaro's Your Body Is a Vision, Hungry for You ink-on-paper drawings

An invigorating audio piece, Channelizing Paradise — produced by Los Super Elegantes, the duet of Los Angeles-based Milena Muzquiz and Martiniano Lopez-Crozet by way of Tijuana and Buenos Aires — was a joy to discover. With its unique blend of punk-mariachi-pop, psychedelic vibes, and histrionic warbling, the surreal pair makes a giddy statement: When it comes to the hybridization of cultures, chances are the more noise infecting the booty, the better. Despite the premise slipping on a banana peel at times, this is, hands down, one of the most stimulating and entertaining shows in town.

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