The complexity conveyed in the word 'home' is explored in the Home: So Different, So Appealing exhibition at LACMA until October 15, 2017, revealing how it can be a far cry from the maxim 'home sweet home'.

Assembling 100 artworks by 40 Latino and Latin American artists, the show investigates how 'home' is loaded with socio-political meaning. A place of origins evoking nationality and patriotism; a duality of ambivalence, divided between a birth place in one country and an adopted one in the diaspora; somewhere to flee from versus a dreamt-about destination where aspirations could be fulfilled... home can invoke fear and dread, nostalgia or comfort.

Installation view featuring María Elena González's Magic Carpet/Home, 2003, 2017, of the exhibition Home—So Different, So Appealing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 11, 2017 - October 15, 2017, © María Elena González, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
On display are works ranging from internationally recognised artists such as Abraham Cruzvillegas, Beatriz González, Gordon Matta-Clark and Miguel Angel Ríos to Los Angeles-based artists Carmen Argote and Salomón Huerta. Besides the large-scale pieces inside the exhibition, María Elena González’s 'Magic Carpet/Home' (2003/2017) has been installed outside on the lawn. Through painting, sculpture, installation, performance, photography, video and public sculpture, the artists poignantly question what home can be in an era marked by conflict, uncertainty, natural disasters and mass migration.

The precariousness and impermanence of home is expressed in 'Autoconstrucción', a site-specific installation about “self-construction” by Cruzvillegas, who grew up in a shantytown south of Mexico City. Clothes are hung on washing lines between two wooden makeshift structures, miscellaneous objects and pieces of furniture lying on the floor between them.

Installation view featuring Abraham Cruzvillegas's Autoconstrucción, 2010 in the exhibition Home—So Different, So Appealing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 11, 2017 - October 15, 2017, © Abraham Cruzvillegas, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
The pressures of migration and the bland uniformity of housing is depicted in Livia Corona Benjamin's photograph '47,547 Homes' (2000) of a vast public housing development in Mexico built to accommodate former agricultural workers who relocated to take low-wage jobs in urban centres. The Mexican artist describes the development as “ubiquitous grids of ecological and social intervention on a scale and of consequences that are difficult to grasp”.

The fragility of home, and how it can be wrecked by natural disasters, is captured in a video by Ríos, an Argentine-born, New York-based artist. A hut modestly made from corrugated sheets of iron is swirling in the air, uplifted by a storm.

Julio César Morales, Boy in Suitcase, 2013, Edition of 3 + 2 AP, HD animation video with sound, 00:03:33, Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco, © Julio César Morales
Miguel Angel Ríos, The Ghost of Modernity (Lixiviados), 2012, Single-channel video, 00:05:02, Courtesy of the artist and Sicardi Gallery, © Miguel Angel Ríos
The most harrowing work is the video 'Boy in Suitcase' (2015) by Julio César Morales. It is based on the real-life story of an eight-year-old boy who was smuggled inside a suitcase from Ivory Coast through Morocco and into Spain. Morales is conducting ongoing research into human trafficking and has assembled an archive of more than 500 images of failed border crossings.

Installation view featuring Daniel Joseph Martinez's The House that America Built, 2004-2017 in the exhibition Home—So Different, So Appealing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 11, 2017 - October 15, 2017, © Daniel Joseph Martinez, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
Beatriz González, Gratia plena (tocador), 1971, Industrial enamel on a metal sheet assembled on a wooden vanity table, Overall: 59 x 59 x 15 in., Stool/bench: 17 1/2 x 25 x 14 in. (HWD), Vanity: 55 5/8 in. long x 17 in. deep, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the 2007 Latin American Experience Gala and Auction, 2007.1294, © Beatriz González, Photo © The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Carmen Argote, 720 Sq. Ft.:Household Mutations - Part B (at gallery G727), 2010. Carpet from artist’s childhood home and house paint, 798 1/2 x 178 in. Courtesy of the Artist. © Carmen Argote
Salomón Huerta, Untitled House, 2003, Collection of Sam Schwartz. © Salomon Huerta, photo couresty of Christopher Grimes Gallery