Los Angeles-based multi-media artist Guillermo Bert was born in Santiago, Chile in 1959. His bi-cultural experience provides him with a lived perspective from which his artistic expression is cultivated. Bert combines his decades-long practice of working with cultural symbols of urbanism, consumerism and displacement – dating back to his 1990s iterations of street-level ‘bricolage’ that delved into the urban archaeology of street posters along Los Angeles’s skid row. From there, he modified his commodities work to incorporate electronic barcodes into laser cuts and paintings, until his first trip home to Chile in 2010. That trip marked a turning point in his work through his experience collaborating with the indigenous Mapuche community’s traditional weavers. He worked with the weavers to integrate functional QR codes into the traditional textile designs. These “high tech” QR codes, when scanned with a smartphone, take the viewer into a filmic world of story, myth and reflection by Mapuche elders, activists and poets. Extending this idea, Bert continues to experiment with this multi-layered format, collaborating to date with Mapuche, Navajo, Maya, Mixtec and Zapotec weavers. The result is a series of 40 embedded films that “decode” cultural messaging and create a bond between the distant viewer and the intimacy of the community of indigenous artists and storytellers.
The filmic and multimedia aspects of the project, while intrinsic to the textile project as a whole, also stand alone as visual media testimony and glimpses into cultural life through documentary inquiry and observation. In his video production work of the last five years, Bert has trained the camera on the urgency of the messages relayed and traveled through the art works of indigenous artists. The artists in these films speak for themselves, often in the voices of their indigenous languages. These 40 short films from more than 7 countries, approximately 10 minutes each, will be woven together to form a “mini-series”. The project continues to unfold, including all manner of content and forms along the media spectra – from weavings to laser sculptures to photographs to film.
Bert’s work will be featured in a major mid-career retrospective at the Nevada Museum of Art in autumn 2023, accompanied by a 200+ page catalog. His work was recently acquired by The Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery and will be included in their 50th anniversary exhibition “Crafting a New World” opening in May 2022. LACMA and the Rhode Island Museum of Art also recently bought pieces for their permanent collections.
Bert has exhibited his work nationally and internationally at museums and galleries including: Queens Museum in NY, Palm Springs Museum, Lille3000 in France, Anchorage Museum in Alaska, Nevada Museum of Art, MoLAA (Museum of Latin American Art), Pasadena Museum of California Art, Museum of Art and Design in New York, shows with L.A./L.A. Pacific Standard Time and the Folk and Craft Museum, and UCR (Riverside)
His work has been reviewed nationally and internationally by Smithsonian Magazine, ArtNews Magazine, LA Times and LA Weekly. He was awarded a COLA individual artist grant from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, received the California Community Foundation Fellowship in 2015, the Center for Cultural Innovation Quick Grant for Education in 2015, and the 2010 Master Artist Grant from National Association of Latino Arts.
Bert’s career as an artist and educator takes many forms including Art Director for the Los Angeles Times (1995-2000) and Professor of Mixed Media at the Art Center School of Design, Pasadena, California. During the pandemic, Bert participated in several online talks with museums including The Museum of Art and Design in NY, The George Washington University Museum in DC and The Long Beach Museum of Latin American Art.
Selected solo exhibitions
2023 Major mid-career survey at Nevada Museum of Art, including 200+ page catalog
2017 Tumble Dreams, COLA Show, large format multimedia Installation, projection mapping of immigrant stories onto tumbleweeds, Barnsdall Art Park Gallery, Hollywood, CA.
2015 Encoded Textiles at the Museum of Art & History in Lancaster, CA.
2015 Incubator, The McLoughlin Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
2014 Bar-codes Series, Museum of Art & History, Lancaster, CA.
2013 Encoded Textiles, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA.
2009 Guillermo Bert: The Bar Code Series, / Blurring the lines between cultures & commodities, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA.
2009 The Fetish of Democracy, Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA.
2008 Bar Codes: Branding America, Gallery 415, San Francisco, CA.
2005 Poetry and Art: One visual artist, two poets with Wanda Coleman, Amber Tamblyn and Guillermo Bert, Beyond Baroque, Venice, CA.
1998 The Archaeology of Guillermo Bert: A Ten Years Retrospective from the series Visions, Palos Verdes Art Center, Palos Verdes, CA.
1993 Toxic Landscape, Artspace Gallery, Woodland Hills, CA.
1990 Altar/Temple: Recycling Social Images, LA Theater Center, Los Angeles, CA.
1987 Voice from the South, Otis Art Institute/Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles, CA.
Selected group exhibitions
2022 “Crafting a New World”, Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, Washington DC. A group exhibition celebrating the gallery’s 50th anniversary.
2019 Art & Science Fiction in the Americas, Queens Museum in NY, NY.
2019 Unsettled, The Palm Spring Museum, Palm Spring, Nevada.
2019 El Dorado, Lille3000, Lille, France, The cultural center of Europe, triennial.
2019- Show in Texas, permanent collection show, Blanton Museum, Austin, Texas.
2019 Unsettled, Anchorage Museum in Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska.
2019- Show at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Permanent collection show, SB CA.
2018- New Territories, Albuquerque Museum of Art, New Mexico.
2018- Stitching and weaving in the Digital Age, Current 826 Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, curated by Christine Duval.
2017 Pacific Standard Time sponsored by the Getty Foundation, Craft Contemporary Museum, Los Angeles. CA.
2017 Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas, UCR ARTSblock, this show is part of the Pacific Standard Time sponsored by the Getty. Riverside, CA.
2017 Unsettled, Nevada Museum of Contemporary Art, Reno Nevada.
2017 Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto Canada.
2016 String Theory, The Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona.
2016 New Territories, Museum of Art & Design, New York City, NY.
2014 II Biennale of fiver Art, Textile Society of America, Craft & Folk Museum in conjunction with the County Museum of Art, Los Angeles CA.
2013 Seeking Silicon Valley: ZERO1 Biennial, Performance Art Institute, San Francisco, CA.
2013 Visual Chronicles, Art in a Literature Context, Salt Fine Art, Laguna Beach, CA.
2011 Keeping an Eye on Surveillance, The Performance Art Institute, San Francisco, CA.
2010 Manifest Equality: Equal Rights for all Americans, National show, Hollywood, CA.
2010 Banned and Recovered, Reese Bullen Gallery at Humboldt University, CA.
2009 Manifest Hope: DC, President Obama’s inauguration show, Washington D.C.
2009 Art & Democracy IV: Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen
2008 Square Massacre and the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gallery H, New York, NY
2008 Faces Seen, Hearts Unknown, Fowler Museum, the University of California at Los Angeles, Westwood, CA
2008 Faces Seen, Hearts Unknown, Snite Museum of Art, the University of Notre Dame, IN Banned & Recovered, Book Center and the African American Museum, San Francisco and Oakland, CA
2008 Spiritual & Religious Practices, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA Flow, Kim Martindale Fine Art, concurrent with Art Basel, Miami, FL
2008 Art Now, Gallery 415, concurrent with Art Basel, Miami, FL
2008 ARTEahora, Aldo Castillo Gallery, Chicago, IL
2008 Expo Arte al Limite ’08, Santiago, Chile (Curated exhibition by international jury)
2007 Art Santa Fe: International Art Exhibition, Santa Fe, NM
2007 Small Works, I-5 Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2007 MoLAA Awards 2007, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA (Curated exhibition)
2006 Paper Traces: Works on paper from the permanent collection, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
2006 What Happened to Peace? Museum of Architecture & Design, Los Angeles, CA
2006 MoLAA Awards 2006, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA (Curated exhibition)
2006 Los Angeles Show, Gallery C, Hermosa Beach, CA (Special invitation)
2006 The New Normalcy: Artists Examine the Post 9-11 World, The Passion Gallery, Eagle Rock, CA
2006 Venice Art Walk & Auction, TRACK 16 Gallery, Venice, CA
2005 The Brewery Comes to the Art Center, Studio Channel Islands Art Center, California State University Channel Islands, Channel Islands, CA
2005 Los Angeles Art Show, Barker Hangar, Santa Monica CA (Special invitation)
2005 Demise of Democracy, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA (A national show curated by Peter Clothier)
2005 Summer Heat: Guillermo Bert, Reubén Munoz, Llyn Foulkes, LA Sites Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
2005 20/20 Visions, I-5 Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2005 New Erotic, SoHo Gallery, Sherman Oaks, CA
2005 Grand Sumo Tournament: Sumo related art. International Sumo Tournament, Mandalay Bay Casino, Las Vegas, NV
2004 Los Angeles Art Show, Barker Hangar, Santa Monica, CA (Special invitation)
2004 Democracy, Angel’s Gate Art Center, San Pedro, CA (Curated national exhibit)
2001 Master and Contemporary Latin American Art, Louis Stern Fine Arts, West Los Angeles, CA
2001 Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity 1900-2000, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
1999 The Labyrinth of Multitude, Luckman Gallery, California State University Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
1999 Summer Show, BGH Gallery, Santa Monica, CA Blue Gallery, Palm Desert, CA
1996 Intersecting Identities, Fisher Gallery University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
1996 Installation, Texas Museum of Art, Corpus Christi, TX
1996 DADA Show, Los Angeles, CA Full Moon Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1996 Auction, Armand Hammer Museum, Westwood, CA
1996 Auction, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA
1996 Echo Maya, Los Angeles Photography Center, Los Angeles, CA
1996 Far Bazaar at the Bingo Building, Spring Street Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1994 Through the Eye of Mother Nature, Downtown Gallery, Olvera Street, Los Angeles, CA
1993 Downtown Lives, Los Angeles, CA
1993 L.A. Festival Leimert Park, African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 1993
1993 Puerto Rico International Biennale, San Juan, Puerto Rico
1992 Art Speaks by Itself, Director’s Guild of America, West Los Angeles, CA
1991 Altar Temple Installation, Biola University, Downey, CA
1991 Latin American Drawings Today, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
1990 Five Chilean Artists, Occidental College, Eagle Rock, CA
1990 Atelier Show, Self Help Graphics, Los Angeles, CA
1990 Mural Designs Exhibition, SPARC, Venice, CA
1990 Different Visions: Only One America, Macondo Espacio Cultural, Los Angeles, CA
1989 Contemporary Latin American Artists, California Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA
1989 The Best of the West, 0-1 Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1989 Works on Paper, William Lamb Gallery, Long Beach, CA
1988 Current Arrivals, Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York, NY
1988 New Tradition, Downey Museum of Art, Downey, CA
1987 Artist Call: Recall, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, CA
1986 Summer Show, B-1 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1986 Only in L.A., Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles, CA Ivey Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1981 Colocadora Nacional de Valores, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile, National award recipient.
1981 Art Auction & Exhibition, Fine Art Museum of San Carlos, México City, México.
1980 International Biennale, Valparaiso Museum of Art, Valparaiso, Chile. Museum of Art, Valparaiso, Chile
1979 National Museum of Art, Santiago, Chile award recipient of young talent award
Fellowships & Awards
2021 Los Angeles County Museum of Art purchased a piece titled “La Bestia” from the Encoded Textiles collection
2021 Rhode Island Museum of Art purchased pieces for their permanent collection
2017 COLA Master Artist Fellowship, Cultural Affair Department, City of Los Angeles, CA.
2016 Short Documentary Award, Luciana & The Weavers / Catalina Film Festival, Catalina Island CA.
2016 Public art award, California Community Foundation, Angel Mestizo, Permanent sculpture.
2015 Quick Grant for Education, Center for Cultural Innovation.
2014 Mid Career Grant, California Community Foundation.
2014 Artist Fellowship, Center for Cultural Innovation.
2010 Master Artist Grant, National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, Austin, TX.
Techno-Vernacular Creativity and Innovation, by Nettrice Gaskins, 2021, a section based on the barcodes and the interactive aspects of the barcodes in art
LA Times (cover story) May 2, 2018
Art News cover story) March 4, 2019
Arte Al Limite, International Magazine, 6 pages Spread, Sep 2017
Interartive, On line publication, two essays by Dr. Tressa Berman, Anthropologist & Art Writer, base on the East Coast, US. & Dr. Thea Pitman professor and lecturer at Leeds University, UK, Barcelona, Spain.
Modern Magazine, Architecture & Design (national) Nov 2014 / http://www.modernmag.com
Smithsonian Magazine, July 2014, International Magazine, http://tinyurl.com/m4vhxqz
Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles) Oct 27 2012 / https://gbert.com/pdf/latimes_2012.pdf
LAWEEKLY / October 31, 2012 https://gbert.com/pdf/laweekly_oct2012.pdf
Select Community-based Artwork
2017 Angel Meztizo, Commissioned by the California Community Foundation, permanent sculpture at the Boys & Girls club of Venice CA.
2017 The Mayan Girl, large installation piece at Pershing Square, Los Angeles CA.
2009 Human Trafficking, Mural, Museum of Tolerance, West Los Angeles, CA.
Education & professional experience
Catholic University, Santiago, Chile / B.A., 1981
Otis Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles, CA
Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA.
Art Director of La Opinión, 1987-1995; Los Angeles, CA.
Art Director of Los Angeles Times, 1995-2000; Los Angeles, CA.
Professor. Mixed Media Courses: Art Center School of Design, Pasadena, CA 2000-2005.