In Loving Memory of Laura Aguilar (1959-2018)

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April 25, 2018

The Vincent Price Art Museum and the Vincent Price Art Museum Foundation express our deep sympathies and sincere condolences to the family and friends of Laura Aguilar, as well as to the countless individuals who have been touched by her work. Her intimate and compelling photographs and video works have left a profound impact on Los Angeles and the world at large.

Born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley, Aguilar studied photography at East Los Angeles College and exhibited her work extensively for more than thirty years. Her photographs, produced nearly exclusively in black-and-white, span portraits of friends, artists, activists, and educators across Los Angeles, document queer communities of color, and feature the artist herself as both a political subject and compositional object.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, Aguilar began experimenting with nude self-portraiture. As an artist, she was moving toward a place of greater self-acceptance, challenging limiting beliefs of her own self-image. Aguilar produced powerful images of her body in nature set against desert landscapes and rock formations. “In these images I see tenderness and those moments of contentment and stillness,” she said. “I can feel the sun, even though I am in my house, and indoors. I can feel the warmth of the sun, and I crave being outdoors again.”

Laura Aguilar’s bravery as an individual was manifested in the works she produced. During her retrospective exhibition Show and Tell at the Vincent Price Art Museum in fall 2017 in partnership with UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, we could see the tremendous importance of her image-making for communities near and far. We will continue to be inspired by the legacy of her work, and know that she lives on through her magnificent photography.

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Top image: Laura Aguilar, photograph by Sybil Venegas
Bottom image: Laura Aguilar and friends at the opening of Show and Tell at the Vincent Price Art Museum, photograph by Monica Orozco

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