The fourth show of Laguna Art Museum’s ex·pose series featured the last project of Beatriz da Costa, who passed away on December 27, 2012 at age 38. Dying for the Other, a triptych video installation, offered a parallel consideration of mice used in breast cancer research alongside scenes from the artist’s own life. Da Costa suffered from breast cancer and underwent intense medical treatment to combat the disease. Her installation addressed part of our collective social consciousness—pursuing the advancement of science and medicine, but doing so at the sacrifice of other “less intelligent” beings.
Set alongside Dying for the Other was da Costa’s Anti-Cancer Survival Kit, a friendly and interactive approach to a somewhat taboo social subject. Bringing together the work of scholars and artists from many disciplines, the supplies and collected knowledge in the kit are meant for those living with cancer while also serving as tools for their loved ones. The components included a database of comprehensive research; a coffee-table style illustrated book providing guidelines for anti-cancer approaches; games designed for touch-screen mobile devices; and information on creating an anti-cancer, DIY garden. Da Costa said of the work: “It’s the kind of kit I wish somebody would have given me as a gift when I was first diagnosed.”
Beatriz da Costa was Associate Professor of Studio Art, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. Her work as an artist was multidisciplinary, promoting an awareness of the inextricable ways in which active and passive human action affects our environment.
ex·pose is a contemporary art program curated by Grace Kook-Anderson, curator of contemporary art at Laguna Art Museum. Focusing on one emerging or mid-career artist at a time, the program encourages the development of new projects and an immersive involvement with the museum’s Young Artists Society Gallery program. ex·pose aims to present a diverse range of artists working in all mediums.