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Best Art Show Orange County 2010 - 'Changing the Focus: Latin American Photography 1990-2005'

It's the rare exhibition that's perfect, but we think this offering, which ran Feb. 14-May 2, 2010 at Museum of Latin American Art, pretty much hit that target. Thoroughly curated by Idurre Alonso, with a deft eye for embracing beauty among often very ugly subject matter (domestic abuse, drug-cartel assassinations, poverty and failed revolutions), there wasn't a bad piece in the entire show. Yes, we could argue for hours over drinks and dinner about which piece was better than another and why—we were absorbed by the outrageous, ironic beauty of Teresa Margolles' Cards to Cut Cocaine, Mexico City with its images of drug addicts using laminated cards embossed with images of mutilated drug victims to chop up lines, while the docent showing us around told us she admired the craft but couldn't look at the images herself, for fear of being sick—but isn't that the point of great art? It was also a simultaneous eye-opener and warning to the rest of the hemisphere: Latin America has mastered this art form, and if it continues generating work of the breathtaking depth on display here, el norte doesn't stand a chance.

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