LACMA × Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives (Collection III)

LACMA × Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives (Collection III)

  • Sep 7, 2023–Jun 30, 2024
  • Various locations throughout Los Angeles County via Snapchat
  • Closed Today
  • Learn how to use Snapchat

1871, 2023

In light of the current Anti-Asian sentiment and racially motivated acts of violence in the United States, Victoria Fu’s 1871 recognizes The Chinese Massacre of 1871 in Los Angeles. Currently there is no monument acknowledging this horrific event making Fu’s gesture toward engaging with it crucial. At the time of the massacre, the emerging Chinese community comprised about 200 people with more than half living along Calle de los Negros, a block-long row of adobe structures on what is today Los Angeles Street. On the evening of October 24, 1871, Robert Thompson, an Anglo saloon owner, was caught in the crossfire between two warring Chinese “tongs.” Nearly 500 people descended upon the scene which culminated in the brutal mass murder of Chinese residents. The 15 victims, including a doctor, a cook, a storekeeper, a laundryman, and a child, were beaten, shot, and lynched, amounting to the largest mass lynching in American history. Anti-Chinese sentiment, driven by labor losses among white residents and fanned by local journalists, fueled this action. 

The concept of Fu’s piece is realized within its visual form: it is in the shape of an inverted, upside-down monument. Viewers peer down into the clouds through the abyss, or tomb-like portal to other worlds, that takes the shape of basic monument styles, shifting as they move. The void simultaneously acknowledges the absence of a monument and the impossibility of any monument to stand in for the horrors of actual events. Recorded audio of a conversation in English and Mandarin between the artist and her mother about 1871 explains what the monument commemorates. The site, Los Angeles Historic Park, is only a mile from the incident and adjacent to contemporary Chinatown whose residents, as well as the general public, might stumble upon the piece and learn about 1871.

1871 may be experienced at Los Angeles State Historic Park beginning this fall or from anywhere on Snapchat by searching in Lens Explorer or scanning the QR code below.


Composition by Victoria Fu
Lens Creator: Nico Shi


Victoria Fu

Victoria Fu (b. Santa Monica, California, USA) is a visual artist who received her MFA from CalArts, MA in Art History/Museum Studies from University of Southern California, and BA from Stanford University. She attended the Whitney Independent Study Program and was in residence at Skowhegan. Fu has received grants from Art Matters, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, Harpo Foundation, and is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow. Her artwork is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA. She lives and works in San Diego, where she is Associate Professor of Art at University of San Diego. She is represented by DOCUMENT in Chicago.

Photo by Jungsu Lim

The Thirty Birds, 2023

Yassi Mazandi is an experimental multimedia artist working in porcelain, clay, bronze, paper, and augmented reality. While her latest AR work The Thirty Birds tells a standalone story, it relates to and is located next to a physical installation by Mazandi on the north side of the Resnick Pavilion at LACMA. That kinetic sculptural work, Language of the Birds, consists of 100 suspended abstract bronzes and takes its name and theme from an epic 12th-century Persian poem by Farid al-Din ‘Attar, a parable about a mystical quest for God, a spiritual home, or even our own highest good. The mission is undertaken by 100 birds seeking a worldly ruler—the mythical Simurgh. Many birds perish along the way until 30 remain. The Thirty Birds is Mazandi’s interpretation of the ending of ‘Attar’s poem describing the epiphanic realization of the surviving birds at their journey’s end: they are the Simurgh (literally “30 birds” in Persian). Through the medium of AR, Mazandi renders the birds as if they are in a dream state when they reach that moment of truth. The work also calls to mind today’s key issue—climate change—and the ways in which it imperils many avian species and contributes to human migration, often accompanied by dangerous journeys and inhospitable reception.

The Thirty Birds may be experienced at LACMA from the north side of the Resnick Pavilion beginning this fall or from anywhere on Snapchat by searching in Lens Explorer or scanning the QR code below.

Composition by Loga Ramin Torkian
Lens Creator: BLNK

The Simurgh by Farid al-Din ‘Attar


Yassi Mazandi

Yassi Mazandi was born in Iran, raised in England and lives and works in Los Angeles. She describes nature and her reaction to it, both conscious and subconscious, as the driving forces behind her art.  Self-taught, she sculpts in porcelain, clay and bronze, and also creates works on paper and canvas. She enjoys constant experimentation, including combining traditional hand-intensive skills with relevant technological innovations.  In recent years, she completed her first video artwork, NFT and AR artworks.  Her work has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions, as well as a video interview with the BBC.  She was in the first group selected by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation for its Artist in Residence program. Her work is in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, University of California and in other public and major private collections both in the United States and internationally.

Photo by JF Chen


Self Inventions

Self Inventions pays homage to the spirit of perpetual regeneration and innovation in Black culture. Rashaad Newsome’s shape-shifting robotic figure reflects the resilience of Black people in the face of ongoing struggle. The optical effect of transformation from one form to another employs fractal geometry, an aesthetic that, along with the designs of the robotic figures themselves, is inspired by African art and its early use of abstraction. Often used as a term in computer science, abstraction here not only serves as a visual tool but illustrates a tactic in Black culture’s perpetual state of transformation. 

Newsome draws comparisons between the labor performed by robots and the unpaid, compulsory service Black people have had to perform historically. In the face of untenable circumstances, Black culture has not only survived and adapted, but has found a way to flourish. This is the exciting yet vexing task of creating Blackness, a process that many of the residents in the Exposition Park area have long been engaged in. The figures in Self Invention are the “engineers of themselves,” paying homage to the legacy of Black resistance, carrying forward a history of endless innovation.

Self Inventions may be experienced at Exposition Park's Rose Garden beginning this fall or from anywhere on Snapchat by searching in Lens Explorer or scanning the QR code below.

Composition by Rashaad Newsome and Miles Jamison
Lens Creator: Michael French

Self Inventions/Endless Innovation by Rashaad Newsome



Rashaad Newsome

Rashaad Newsome's work blends several practices, including collage, sculpture, film, CGI, photography, music, computer programming, software engineering, community organizing, and performance, to create a divergent field that rejects classification. Using the diasporic traditions of improvisation, he pulls from the world of advertising, the internet, art history, Black culture, and Queer culture to produce counter-hegemonic work that walks the tightrope between social practice and abstraction. Collage acts as a conceptual and technical method to make visible the density of encrypted epigenetic material Black and Black queer people embody. His work celebrates Black contributions to the art canon and creates innovative and inclusive forms of culture and media. 

Newsome was born in 1979 in New Orleans, Louisiana where he received a BFA in Art History at Tulane University in 2001. He has exhibited and performed in galleries, museums, institutions, and festivals internationally.

Photo by Whitney Legge

Dead Heads, 2023

Ruben Ortiz Torres has responded to a site in El Parque de Mexico in Lincoln Heights where a number of sculptures have been stolen from their plinths. Among the bronze busts that have been taken from the site are important figures in Mexican modern history, including General Ignacio Zaragosa who led the Battle of Puebla, poet Ramon Lopez Velarde, and Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. Ortiz Torres’s response to the empty plinths is a reimagining of the role of monuments in the 21st century, especially in a moment where identity can be hybridized through mobile apps like Snapchat. Morphing, a digital technique made accessible in the late 1990s through digital editing software, has been a longtime strategy for Ortiz Torres, one that allows him to crisscross mediums (painting, photography, and drawing into digital collage) as well as intersect portraiture with historical research. In Ortiz Torres’s project, the empty plinths become an opportunity to envision a new form of memorializing, one in which Mexican historical figures like General Ignacio Zaragoza, Doña Josefa Dominguez overlap with cultural icons like L.A. Dodgers and large scale statuary such as Olmec heads, Northwestern totems, and depictions of Buddha.

In past work, Ortiz Torres has played with scale and animation, finding ways to translate cultural icons and popular culture through materials as diverse as bobble heads and piñatas. Fundamentally, the artist engages with Mexican and American iconography, from the institutionalized and consecrated to the ephemeral and the everyday. The use of the empty plinths is mournful for the desecration of a significant site of cultural exchange but simultaneously presses the viewer to consider new forms of interaction with historical sites and iconography, ones in which we may more actively participate and envision a new future. 

Dead Heads may be experienced at Lincoln Park beginning this fall or from anywhere on Snapchat by searching in Lens Explorer or scanning the QR code below.

Composition by Rubén Ortiz Torres and Sara Harris
Lens Creator: 3Dar


Ruben Ortiz-Torres

Ruben Ortiz-Torres was born in Mexico City on February 27th 1964. He has worked in different media such as painting, photography,  objects, video, film, installations, cars, machines, performances, opera, books, texts, and curatorial projects. He lives in Los Angeles CA. He has a BFA from the former academy of San Carlos (now FAD) in Mexico City and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia CA. He is part of the permanent Faculty of UCSD. He has participated in several international exhibitions and film festivals.  His work is in the collections of MOMA, MOCA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, LACMA, the California Museum of Photography, the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City, the Fundación Jumex, the Tate Gallery, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Mexican Museum of Art in Chicago and others. 

Photo by Rubén Ortiz Torres  

Rise, 2023

Alison Saar’s monument, Rise, creates space for the viewer to remember those lost, and those who survived the abuses of the colonization and commodification of women–specifically those of Black, Brown, and Indigenous heritage. Rise embodies Saar’s response to the current attack on reproductive rights and threats made to the sovereignty of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and female bodies, and serves as a catalyst for conversation and dialogues which will bring these issues to light, inspiring compassion and activism.  

Saar calls on the goddess Yemaya, a mother spirit; patron spirit of women, especially pregnant women, who commands creation, water, rivers, lakes, streams, and shipwreck survivors in the Yoruba religion. In Saar’s work, Yemaya is surrounded by swarming catfish, doves, cowrie and conch shells, wields a cane knife, and blows on a conch shell, calling women to resist the forces that want to control their freedom and reproductive rights, especially women of color who have historically had their bodies colonized. 

Rise is accompanied by an excerpt read and written by author Desiree C. Bailey. Her poem Chant for the Waters and Dirt and Blade is followed by original music played by Avila Santo. 

Rise may be experienced at Santa Monica State Beach beginning this fall or from anywhere on Snapchat by searching in Lens Explorer or scanning the QR code below.

Poem by Desiree Bailey and Original Music by Avila Santo
Lens Creator: Alavi Bros
Chant for the Waters and Dirt and Blade by Desiree C. Bailey



Alison Saar

Alison Saar credits her mother, acclaimed collagist and assemblage artist Betye Saar, with exposing her to metaphysical and spiritual traditions. Assisting her father, Richard Saar, a painter and art conservator, in his restoration shop inspired her learning and curiosity about other cultures.

Saar studied studio art and art history at Scripps College in Claremont, California, receiving a BA in art history in 1978. In 1981 she earned her MFA from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. In 1983, Saar became an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, incorporating found objects from the city environment. Saar completed another residency in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1985, which augmented her urban style with Southwest Native American and Mexican influences.

Saar’s style encompasses a multitude of personal, artistic, and cultural references that reflect the plurality of her own experiences. Her sculptures, installations, and prints incorporate found objects including rough-hewn wood, old tin ceiling panels, nails, shards of pottery, glass, and urban detritus. The resulting figures and objects become powerful totems exploring issues of gender, race, heritage, and history. Saar’s art is included in museums and private collections across the U.S.

Photo by Alison Saar