Rita Gonzalez is the Department Head in Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
Is there a particular project for work, either new or ongoing, that is capturing your attention? What is it and why are you drawn to work on it at this moment?
LACMA will be the final stop for the touring exhibition Cauleen Smith: Give It Or Leave It (from ICA Philadelphia). Since Smith is now rooted in Los Angeles, she will also create a new installation at Charles White Elementary School where LACMA has been working with teachers on their campus since 2006. The school was formerly the site of Otis College of Art and Design and has a beautiful gallery that during Otis’s history hosted many incredible exhibitions. Smith hopes to collaborate with students and families to create a new video and sculptural installation. Given Smith’s sensitivity to place and community, I look forward to working together with colleagues in the Education department as well as the wonderful instructors at Charles White Elementary to create something responsive to our present moment.
Have you picked up any new hobbies?
I don’t think you can call homeschooling a kindergartner a hobby per se but it is a skill that I’ve been taking up for the last two months. I think many people are considering this moment as a great awakening, and I certainly have a deepened sense of respect and admiration for teachers. Shout out to Friends Western School!
What is the best meal you have made during this time?
My husband Joseph Mosconi is the one with the mad chef skills and there are way too many meals of note. I would say that I already had an abiding love for Rancho Gordo beans, and life in quarantine has strengthened it. My therapeutic moments in the kitchen revolve around flour, butter, and sugar so there have been banana breads, cookies, and a pie.
What are you most looking forward to after being at home?
Seeing friends and art and friends who make art. And also taco trucks.
What gives you hope (if anything) about art today?
The commitment of artists, art historians, writers, curators, museum and arts organization workers, gallerists, and all others in our field to maintain a sense of community through the sharing of resources and ideas. In the U.S., I just hope the chipping away at insularity and exceptionalism, which has been aided by decades of a shifting of power and the globalization of knowledge, will not be lost. I would hate to see a retrenching into the centralization of the old power epicenters because of fear of traveling or learning from outside the country.