At five in the afternoon It was exactly five in the afternoon

by Elaina Ransford

Betsabeé Romero's Skull of a Thousand Faces on view this weekend at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hushed voices echoed throughout the cavernous room in which Betsabeé Romero's work hung. The space, a large room at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever, was an essential component of the show's message and reception. More than once, I overheard people compare the work to the Sistine Chapel, though to me it felt more like a Mexican wake seen through the eyes of a seamstress.

Curated by Sylvia Chivaratanond, Skull of a Thousand Faces turned out to be an appropriately descriptive title for the exhibition. Skulls adorned old tires, beautiful shirts that hung at eye level on angel-embossed hangers, and even the wall hangings. The room felt eerie, reverent, and comfortably foreign—all appropriate considering the cemetery upon which the exhibition rested. "Life teaches us the fragile beauty of impermanence," read a pamphlet describing the show. And it felt true, with small children racing in and out of the many skulls, with their parents laughing and taking selfies by the tires, and with the literal impermanence of the show itself, which runs only through the weekend.

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