After & Again, a new contemporary art platform celebrating the craftsmanship of textiles, is proud to present their inaugural artist collaboration with Betsabeé Romero, one of Mexico’s leading contemporary artists.  Known around the world for creating inventive installations influenced by literature and diverse cultures, Romero’s Skull of a Thousand Faces edition and installation for After & Again is inspired by pre-Columbian iconography, colonial imagery, and popular culture. Taking over the historic Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever from May 2-4, the site-specific public art installation is curated by Sylvia Chivaratanond, and explores the materials, processes, and creation of objects in our culture today that we so often overlook.

In Romero’s installation there will be a play of textures, shadows, and light. The featured elements from Romero’s edition for After & Again will be presented in the installation, surrounded by large, illuminated cantoya balloons floating warmly in the air, with the walls covered in handmade and cut cotton tapestries. Romero refers to the installation as a “Celebration that dignifies the possibility of embroidering everything; art, craftsmanship, installation, design and migration in all its means.”

In her art, Romero interweaves the objects and perspectives of our modern, industrial culture with a sensibility and respect for the master artisan and folk art of the past. Romero poetically explains, “The garment comes to life with the eyes of the artisan who gives it wings, with the extraordinary hands that trace its lines with their needles and their threads.”  After & Again’s edition with Betsabeé Romero celebrates Mexican embroidery, one of the most distinctive aspects of indigenous handcrafted textiles in Mexico, passed down from generation to generation, as well as the art of coppersmithing. There are only a few master craftsmen in all of Mexico who still practice the art. Regularly collaborating with Romero on many art installations to interpret and produce her iconic visions, Master Ernesto Bonilla worked under the artist for this project to create the repoussé copper wings.  Each of the garments in the 200 After & Again editions are hand-embroidered by master craftswomen in Mexico using silk thread sourced from Paris.

Betsabee Romero for After & Again’s “Skull of a Thousand Faces” 2015.

The embossed linen case houses the two pieces pictured above as well as a booklet and 8 x 8 in (20.32 x 20.32 cm) silver gelatin photograph of the artist.

Linen case, 38.5 x 19 x 3 in (98 x 49 x 8 cm); hand cut and punched copper wings, 36 x 18 in (92 x 46 cm);  pima cotton shirt with silk embroidery, 24 x 24 in (61 x 61 cm).

Each After & Again edition by Betsabeé Romero takes two months to create and is comprised of a sizable hand-made linen case which holds a 3 foot wide repoussé copper wing sculpture, a hand-embroidered pima cotton garment, as well as a limited-edition silver gelatin portrait of the artist by Mexican photographer Clairette Atri.

Diana Atri, Founder of After & Again, says, “It is important for me to underline that when we work with artists, they have artistic freedom in choosing the textiles and crafts they wish to explore. This edition marks the inaugural collaboration combining contemporary art while paying tribute to timeless craftsmanship of the past. Romero’s edition with After & Again celebrates Mexican embroidery and metal work. It is a representation of Mexico’s cultural history and a celebration of its folk art in a contemporary context.” She continues, “After & Again artist editions will touch upon different cultural backgrounds, techniques, and artisanal importance in the creation of each piece.”

About the concept for After & Again, Atri explains,“For generations, textiles were my family’s business. When I was young I would go to the factories and villages with my father and learn about fabric and the craftsmanship of textiles. Five years ago, my father passed away. After a process of debilitating grief, I came up with the concept for After & Again – as an homage to my father and a celebration of the awakening of our souls that happens when we are forced to move through grief and into acceptance.” Atri continues, “Betsabeé Romero’s vision for After & Again works wonderfully. Her work is passionate and meaningful.”

Betsabeé Romero’s works are in the permanent collections of both Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Los Angeles.

On view in the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever (behind Paris Photo, LA at Paramount Pictures), Betsabeé Romero’s Skull of a Thousand Faces for After & Again is free and open to the public on Saturday, May 2, 2015 from 12-7 PM and Sunday, May 3, 2015 from 12-6 PM. The exhibition is also on view Monday, May 4, 2015 by appointment only.