Latin American art museum in Long Beach gets new CEO

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courtesy MoLAA

The late Doctor Robert Gumbiner at Long Beach's Museum of Latin American Art, which he founded in the mid 1990s.

The only Southland museum that focuses on Latin American art has a new man in charge. Cuban-born Stuart Ashman is set to take the helm of the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach in two weeks.

Ashman spent a large part of his career as a curator and museum director in New Mexico. The previous chief of MOLAA, as the museum’s known, served for two years after the death of museum founder Robert Gumbiner.

Gumbiner, a wealthy pioneer of managed health care, collected art from Latin America for decades. He created the museum 15 years ago to exhibit work by artists who’ve lived and worked in Latin America.

The absence in Southern California of a significant Latino museum like those in Chicago and Albuquerque has led Southland Chicano and Latino artists to criticize MOLAA for not displaying U.S. Latino art. That’s not likely to change, a spokeswoman said.

MOLAA’s one of the venues for the Pacific Standard Time series of exhibits that begins in October. The museum’s show is called MEX/LA. It’ll explore how Southern California shaped the thinking of 20th-century Mexican intellectuals Octavio Paz, Ricardo Flores Magon and Jose Vasconcelos when they lived in L.A.

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