WPA: Contemporary Interpretations

WPA: Contemporary interpretations

june 24–november 5, 2023

Curated by Trinh Mai

"WPA: Contemporary Interpretations presents artwork by five contemporary artists whose works carry the weight of hardship beside the hope that propels us forward while gazing toward unknown futures. 

As we step gingerly through the pandemic and witness our communities springing back into life, we ruminate on the ways that history has revisited us. A century after the establishment of the Works Progress Administration programs, our society continues experiencing similar challenges to those endured throughout the WPA era.

The works presented in this exhibition respond visually and thematically to specific historic paintings from the adjacent exhibition, Art for the People: WPA-Era Paintings from the Dijkstra Collection. Scott Bruckner’s wooden sculptures further investigate the relationship between human and machine, not unlike Vertical Composition by Rico Lebrun. Don Bartletti’s photographs honor the ones whose perseverance gazes intently upon potential, similar to Fletcher Martin’s Migrant Woman. Margaret Chiaro, Elizabeth Munzon, and Trinh Mai carry the legacy of family history and tradition. These works reflect on the labor required, and the sacrifices made, in the search for survival and fulfillment. 

While confronting the circumstances that cause us to wade in the deep waters of human suffering, these contemporary interpretations bear witness to the resilience of the human spirit and pronounce the hope that has continued to sustain us for generations."

-Curator Trinh Mai

Select Images


Celebrate with us on June 24, 2023


"As a second-generation Vietnamese American, art has become an invaluable tool that has granted me the opportunity to live the refugee, immigrant experiences vicariously through the ones who arrived before me, allowing me to interpret these stories through my own ears, eyes and hands. With deep respect, I bind these inherited stories into our witnessing of history’s alliteration, of persecution and injustice, of mass exodus and the tribulations that we continue to face upon arrival, and of the anticipated opportunities that indeed await us on new horizons as we set our gaze upon home and promise." –Curator Trinh Mai

Artwork pictured at the top of the page: Elizabeth Munzon, Throne of Maguey (detail), 2023. Oil on canvas, 30" x 42".

Comments are closed.

  • Get art delivered to your inbox.
    Make your inbox the intersection of Southern California art and everyday. Receive news on our exhibitions, events, and art.
    Thank you for subscribing!