Crystal Bridges announces new acquisition of painting by Los Angeles artist

Shizu Saldamando (b. 1978, San Francisco, CA), Martin’s Cincuentañera, 2018, oil and mixed media on panel, 48 in. x 72 in., Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Crystal Bridges has added a new piece to its permanent collection.

Museum officials last week announced the acquisition of Los Angeles contemporary artist Shizu Saldamando’s painting, Martin’s Cincuentañera.

From the description of the work:

Saldamando’s artwork Martin’s Cincuentañera (2018) features Martin Crudo, the lead singer of queer punk bands Los Crudos and Limp Wrist. Enveloped in lush blue waves breaking all around him, Saldamando’s work recalls Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa and Yemaya, the popular Afrodiasporic orisha, or goddess, of the sea. Yemaya’s maternal aspects are highlighted here as Martin represents futures that queer youth now have access to with the expansions of LGBTQIA+ civil rights in the US.

The layered metaphor of the “cincuentañera” within the title is a reference to a quinceañera, the celebration of a 15-year-old girl’s passage into maturity/womanhood. Quinceañeras are celebrated by families in Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean, as well as in Latinx communities in the US and other countries.

Saldamando’s depiction of Crudo as a “cincuentañera” celebrates a 50-year-old queer punk icon’s passage into maturity/elderhood. This milestone has been historically rare for members of the LGBTQIA+ community who have had disproportionately shorter lifespans than their cisgendered and heterosexual siblings because of systemic issues such as institutional and structural/social homophobia and transphobia, as well as the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Museum officials said they aren’t exactly sure when the new work will be displayed at the museum at this time, but are hoping it will be available soon.