Eduardo Sarabia is no stranger to the art world—his latest exhibition, “Moctezuma’s Revenge,” which opened this season at the ASU Art Museum, is just one in a long list of successes for this emerging Mexican-American artist. Sarabia’s work has been shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Whitney Museum of American Art, L.A. Louver and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as at the 51st Venice Biennale, the 2nd Moscow Biennale and the Istanbul Biennial, among others.
Sarabia, who grew up in Los Angeles and presently lives and works in Guadalajara, Mexico, uses his artwork to make reference not just to a physical border, but to a dividing line in the identity of one who feels at once familiar with and distant from his or her cultural heritage.
“Moctezuma’s Revenge,” the first comprehensive solo exhibition of works by Sarabia, features more than 40 works of art from both previous and new bodies of his work in a variety of media, including sculpture, painting, video, fiber and works on paper. It is on view at the ASU Art Museum’s 10th Street and Mill Avenue location on ASU’s Tempe campus through April 26, 2014.
Before the exhibition opened, Sarabia sat down with the curator of the exhibition, Julio César Morales, and Brittany Corrales, Windgate curatorial intern and master’s candidate in art history, to talk about his influences, dreams and new work.
JCM: One of your earliest works dealt with the investigation of your grandfather’s treasure map of the mythical hidden treasure of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. Can you talk about the research and events that led to your search for the hidden treasure?
ES: I started researching companies and people who do treasure hunts. There are a lot in the United States, and I was interested in having this set up as a business. I talked to a lawyer friend of mine, who helped me write up a joint-venture agreement for potential investors. I met with them and talked about the project, the evidence and everything that my grandfather left me. They bought shares in my company, which was called Pacific Discovery Group of the Americas. I made stock certificate venture drawings that they purchased. It was an edition of 10 — I figured it was a rough number of what I needed to start the search. I did a round of fund-raising and bought some equipment and just went down to Mexico and started. I was a little bit naïve about going down there and what I was going to find. I met up with a friend of my grandfather who had gone with him on one of his searches, so he pointed me to where we thought the treasure would be, and that’s where we started looking.
BC: You often infuse elements of humor into your work to deal with darker issues. The exhibition title, Moctezuma’s Revenge, is a phrase often used to describe a traveler’s digestive complications upon entering a new country, thought to be a lingering curse from the conquered ruler of the Aztec empire. What were your reasons for choosing this title?
ES: I think it is a funny phrase, but it is a very strong phrase. For the exhibition, I wanted to make a connection between what has been happening in Mexico in the present, to what happened in the past, using these traditional languages to bring meaning to contemporary culture. I use an anthropological approach to the work that gives it a connection with Moctezuma and the Aztecs — what we know about them and how we are living now. There are beautiful parts of the culture and violent aspects to the culture, as well. So, at one point the title just made sense to me. It was something that I had thought about years ago and was waiting for the right moment to use, and it made sense to do it at an exhibition in Arizona. There is so much friction with the politics with Mexico here in this state. The title will hopefully trigger some kind of emotion. Once you come see the exhibition, you will notice that it has nothing to do with what you thought it would be about.
JCM: In the last year, you have been in residence at the ASU Art Museum’s artist residency program and have traveled several times to Phoenix, developing a new body of work that is influenced by Arizona. Can you describe your findings and how you worked these experiences into your new body of work and artist practice?
ES: One of the first trips I took was during the Turn off the Sun (2013) exhibition [at the ASU Art Museum]. Our friend took us to a ceremonial Yaqui dance in Guadalupe nearby, and it was amazing. It seemed like a mix of various cultures put into these elaborate ceremonies. It gave me a starting point for me to investigate. It had a lot to do with subcultures — the Catholic Church, Yaqui indigenous beliefs, border culture, American popular culture and a mix of things that blew me away. I convinced our friend to do a scouting trip to come back and visit sacred spaces here in Arizona, to look at cave drawings and to explore a little bit within the reservations. We visited a place called Painted Rock. This all inspired my ideas for this show, mixing and matching these traditions with pop and contemporary beliefs that maybe date back a long time ago, maybe not. I was also impressed with the Arizona landscape and its colors. It was a good starting point for some of the drawings in the exhibition.
JCM: In 2007 you participated in the now-seminal exhibition Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement at LACMA, the first post-Chicano contemporary group show that defined the production of Mexican-American art in the United States. Do you feel the exhibition’s impact changed the perception of your work and if so, how?
ES: I liked the exhibition because I got to meet other artists working in different mediums that I am somehow connected to. Although they are not all defined by their identities, they were doing interesting work that I could relate to, by having a connection within our backgrounds. That was important for me to see — how other artists were dealing with their identities and identity issues.
I was recently asked how my work relates in a Mexican contemporary landscape. I feel that I have a unique point of view because I am very close to both cultures, having grown up in Los Angeles and moved to Mexico. In the United States, I am constantly defending the things happening in Mexico and vice versa. I have to be honest with myself and what is happening. It’s a very particular situation, to be able to defend both sides.
BC: The basis of the paintings in this exhibition are painstakingly detailed photorealist images, which you then drown with daubs of paint, in what some might perceive as a violent defacing of the original images. Can you talk about what inspired this technique?
ES: My projects are really elaborate. They usually start with a small, simple idea that leads to a trip or adventure — trying to find a treasure, or a feather or a shaman. I document these trips for personal reasons, to remember, and I take a lot of photographs. I have so many photographs in my studio — some are bad photographs that I can’t use for anything else. I started using them as palettes, accumulating these painted images in my studio.
For the Phantom Sightings show, I wanted to create a secret tomb in the museum space. I wanted typical oil paintings hung outside. Oil paintings made sense, because it is what people think of as low art and high art. A giant photorealist painting made sense as a prop, and to have the door to this tomb hiding behind one. I was trying to get the museum to hang a Picasso or something, but they wouldn’t let me, so I made my own paintings. They took on a life of their own. They are completely personal: a representation of my trips, people I met and talked to. They speak to the themes of illusion and reality that I play with in my work. It made perfect sense to make them part of a larger body of work.
BC: Your work often comments on the romanticizing of drug culture to young people. Growing up in LA, did you ever feel a desire to belong to this culture yourself?
ES: I grew up in Boyle Heights in the projects, so being part of a gang — a romanticized street family — was a big part of growing up. It starts with the simple idea of your friends being protective of their neighborhood. This escalates until you get to larger things. I understand this idea. Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, rap music was a big part of our lives. Surviving, making money [and] having nice things was what all our friends wanted in this neighborhood. It made sense to me.
When I was young, I was a bit of a nerd. I was always the first one to finish my work in class. My teachers gave me a pen and pencil to distract me and they realized I had some kind of drawing gift. They convinced my parents to take me to an arts conservatory on Saturdays. I didn’t have time to hang out with my friends on the street. I was either going to art classes or playing on the chess team. Some of our close friends growing up have passed away from being in gangs and getting into the drug culture. When both of your parents are working and you grow up in a bad neighborhood, it is easy to get caught up in these things. Art saves lives.
What was surprising when I went to Mexico was that in the narco culture, it wasn’t just little kids growing up listening to the music. When I was growing up, my parents didn’t listen to rap music or grunge. But in Mexico, everyone, young and old, listens to the folk songs. It’s a big part of the broader culture. I’ve never tried to glorify it, but it was a part of a very specific time when I grew up.
BC: If you were not working professionally as an artist, what would your career be?
ES: With my personality, I am very open to doing and trying new things, and having fun doing it. When I first graduated from school, I was producing a TV show. I directed a few commercials. But I always went back to working on my personal work. There is a lot that I like to produce and share. I opened a restaurant in Guadalajara and a restaurant in Berlin. I have a tequila company, and I am a partner in a Mexican craft beer company. I like to play with a lot of things — it keeps me busy. I have an entrepreneurial sensibility that translates to my work. When I started looking for treasure, it was important that it be a business, a joint venture. The tequila bar in Berlin was modeled after a business. That’s the way I work — my interests move me forward.
All images courtesy of the artist.
“MUCK: Accumulations, Accretions and Aggregations,” featuring the art of seven contemporary ceramic sculpture artists, opens at the ASU Art Museum Feb. 15, 2014. The exhibition, curated by Peter Held, will feature more than 20 works of art from both previous and new bodies of work by Susan Beiner, Nathan Craven, Michael Fujita, David Hicks, Annabeth Rosen, Meghan Smythe and Matt Wedel.
On view in the Top Gallery at the ASU Art Museum’s 10th Street and Mill Avenue location through May 31, 2014, “MUCK” will showcase sculpture that pushes the boundaries of both technical virtuosity and arresting visual sculpture.
Each artist in the exhibition creates work that deals with incorporating a diversity of objects to create a cohesive whole, says Held. The artists in “MUCK” combine potent elements of labor, scale, material and the innate sensuality of clay and glaze to address concerns of environmental peril and searching for a humanistic balance in a seemingly all-consuming technological culture.
“United by their visually stunning work, the artists presented in ‘MUCK’ invoke pure joy in the medium, creating order from chaos while confronting issues of personal growth and transformation,” Held explains. “Whether using repetitive shapes to create patterns or assembling a multiplicity of objects metaphorically, their work reflects upon the natural world and human condition and our place within it.”
An opening reception for the exhibition will be held Feb. 14, 2014, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. (with a members, alumni and press preview from 5:30–6:30 p.m.). In addition, curator Peter Held will give a gallery tour of the exhibition and lecture on April 8, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.
“MUCK: Accumulations, Accretions and Aggregations” is curated by Peter Held, generously supported by the Helme Prinzen Endowment, Joan and David Lincoln and members of Ceramic Leaders at ASU, and organized by the ASU Art Museum, part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.
In preparation for its upcoming relocation, the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center’s current location – on the northwest corner of 10th Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe – will permanently close to the public on Feb. 3.
The relocation, expected to be completed by mid-March, will move the center’s existing collection, storage, library and gallery space into a newly remodeled space on the ground floor of the Brickyard at Mill, located at 7th Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe, where it will reopen as the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Center & Brickyard Gallery.
“The museum is excited to now also be amidst the movement and energy of the Mill Avenue district, and we are planning on a presence that will build on and be enhanced by the already vibrant downtown Tempe scene,” said Gordon Knox, ASU Art Museum director.
The new location, three blocks north of the existing Ceramics Research Center, will provide the museum with additional space, a more flexible floor plan and an opportunity to capture an expanded audience within the heavily trafficked Mill Avenue retail district.
“Given the necessity of relocating the Ceramics Research Center due to the planned development in Tempe Center, I’m extremely pleased that ASU found us such a great location in the heart of downtown Tempe,” said Peter Held, ASU Art Museum curator of ceramics. “The new space allows us to expand our capabilities to serve students and the public, and to grow our audience base. This move will act as a catalyst to propel the center’s programming into the future.”
The Ceramics Research Center has been a national and international destination point for the hands-on study and enjoyment of ceramics since its opening in March 2002. The center, which houses and displays the ASU Art Museum’s extensive ceramic collection of close to 4,000 pieces, serves as a key educational component of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts through its teaching and research facilities.
The ASU Art Museum Brickyard will be the museum’s third presence in the Phoenix-metro area, alongside the existing ASU Art Museum at 10th Street and Mill Avenue, on ASU’s Tempe Campus, and the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program, located in downtown Phoenix at Combine Studios.
Construction is currently underway at the new ASU Art Museum Ceramics Center & Brickyard Gallery, which will open its inaugural exhibition on March 21, with “Librería Donceles,” an installation by artist Pablo Helguera. Grand opening and programming details will be made available by early March.
In their annual look back at the most noteworthy trends, events and exhibitions of the past year, the American Craft Council highlighted the “Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft” exhibition at the Arizona State University Art Museum as one of the most monumental of 2013.
“Involving many years of research, staff dedication, and cross-institutional collaboration,” the exhibition is mentioned alongside others from institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of Glass and the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C.
The American Craft Council (ACC) is a national nonprofit educational organization founded in 1943 that promotes “understanding and appreciation of contemporary American craft.” They publish the bimonthly magazine American Craft, which is one of the most highly regarded publications in the field of craft.
“Crafting a Continuum,” which was on view from Sept. 7, 2013 through Dec. 7, 2013, was a presentation of the ASU Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and was the museum’s first comprehensive exhibition to highlight its extensive craft holdings, including new international acquisitions in wood, ceramics and fiber. The exhibition and accompanying programming was made possible with generous support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Nancy Tieken and Joanne and Jim Rapp.
The accompanying catalog for the exhibition was edited by curators Peter Held and Heather Sealy Lineberry and contains a foreword from museum director Gordon Knox, as well as essays from some of the top thinkers in contemporary craft. It is available at the ASU Art Museum store; call 480.965.9076 for details.
Beginning in January 2014, “Crafting a Continuum” is travelling nationally to five additional venues: the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Wash., the Boise Art Museum in Boise, Idaho, the Ft. Wayne Museum of Art in Ft. Wayne, Ind., the Nora Eccles Museum of Art at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Houston, Texas.
For the full article on the American Craft Council’s website, visit: http://craftcouncil.org/post/year-craft-10-noteworthy-trends-events
Tempe, Ariz. – “Moctezuma’s Revenge,” the first comprehensive solo exhibition of works by contemporary Mexican-American artist Eduardo Sarabia, opens at the ASU Art Museum Jan. 25, 2014. The exhibition, curated by Julio César Morales, will feature more than 40 works of art from both previous and new bodies of Sarabia’s work in a variety of media, including sculpture, painting, video, fiber and works on paper. Also included in “Moctezuma’s Revenge” is Sarabia’s breakthrough installation, “The Gift,” previously exhibited at the 2008 Whitney Biennial.
“Sarabia’s exciting new body of work is in perfect dialogue with Arizona,” explains Morales, “in regards both to the content of the work and to its relationship to the current social climate we are experiencing, from connections to borders, the legalization and trafficking of drugs and identity issues.”
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
On view in the Lower Level and Lobby galleries at the ASU Art Museum through April 26, 2014, “Moctezuma’s Revenge” will be the largest exhibition to date of Sarabia’s work, as well as a departure from previous exhibitions of the artist’s work in that it will showcase the depth, range and scope of his practice. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held Feb. 14, 2014, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. (with a members, alumni and press preview from 5:30–6:30 p.m.).
The majority of new work being created for this exhibition is influenced by the artist’s recent visits to Arizona. “From the beautiful distinct light of Phoenix to Yaqui ceremonial dances and to the magical of I’Itoi’s Cave,” says Morales, “Sarabia has translated Arizona into ceramic, video, fiber and works on paper.”
In conjunction with “Moctezuma’s Revenge,” the public has a rare opportunity to collect an edition of one of Sarabia’s ceramic works, made possible by a collaboration with Artspace. Proceeds from the sale of the edition will support the exhibition at the ASU Art Museum.
Artspace is an innovative new collecting platform for visual artwork co-founded by Chris Vroom, a well-known patron of the arts and an avid contemporary art collector, that offers limited editions and original works from established and emerging artists and makes them available for sale online while simultaneously supporting international museums, galleries and cultural institutions. For more information or to purchase one of Sarabia’s editions, visit artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/eduardo_sarabia.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Eduardo Sarabia (b. 1976 ) is a Mexican-American artist who grew up in Los Angeles and presently lives and works in Guadalajara, Mexico. He is best known for his series of hand-painted ceramic vessels that, at first glance, are indistinguishable from the blue-and-white Talavera vases that tourists buy as souvenirs. However, rather than traditional floral and geometric motifs, these vases boast modern hieroglyphs of Mexican and Norteño drug culture such as marijuana leaves, guns, skulls, pin-up models, bottles of liquor, packs of cigarettes, and animals that symbolize specific drugs: the rooster, marijuana; the goat, heroin; and the parrot, cocaine. Sarabia makes reference not just to a physical border, but to a dividing line in the identity of one who feels at once familiar with and distant from his or her cultural heritage.
Sarabia’s interest in the relationship between his cultural roots and his American identity has been a constant theme in his work. Drawing inspiration from the unique and complex zone that divides Mexico from the United States, Sarabia stages intricate scenes infused with light, romanticism, humor and a sense of absurdity. From his liminal point of view, he exposes clichés about Mexican culture in order to question the imaginary borders demarcated by cultural stereotypes.
His work has been shown at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Whitney Museum of American Art, LA Louver and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as at the 51st Venice Biennale, the 2nd Moscow Biennale and the Istanbul Biennial, among others.
“Moctezuma’s Revenge” is curated by Julio César Morales, generously supported by the Fran Fee Memorial Fund, and organized by the ASU Art Museum, part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.
An earlier variation of this exhibition, “Tainted,” was curated by Adam Lerner and presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, where it was sponsored in part by David Caulkins.
ABOUT THE ASU ART MUSEUM
The ASU Art Museum, named “the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona” by Art in America magazine, is part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.
To learn more about the museum, call 480.965.2787, or visit asuartmuseum.asu.edu.
Hours: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Tuesdays (during the academic year), 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Location/Parking: The museum is located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10th Street in Tempe. Metered parking is available in the lot directly west of the museum entrance.
We’re sure you’ve all been eagerly wondering since the start of the school semester, ”When is the ASU Art Museum going to have another awesome art party? And when are all their cool new shows going to open?”
Well, wait no longer, for the time has come! Hope you’re resting up this weekend, because we’ve got a full schedule lined up next weekend, Sept. 26-28 at the ASU Art Museum, and we want to see your faces there.
If you’re looking for something to do between now and Sept. 26, both Christine Lee and Del Harrow will be in the Museum creating site-specific works for the Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft show.
Christine Lee started today and will be working through Sept. 26. She’s become a part of our community over the past couple of years as a Windgate visiting artist; she has taught in the School of Art and lived at Combine. She studied furniture making with the legendary Wendy Maruyama, whose show opens at the Museum on the 26th, and takes an innovative approach to working with wood. And ceramic artist Del Harrow will be installing in our lobby from Sept. 24-26, adding to Cabinet #3 (2012).
Here’s a rundown of all the happenings and can’t-miss events that we’ve got planned for the weekend of the big opening:
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013: Kick off the weekend with what’s sure to be a great lecture from an internationally renowned artist. Jessica Jackson Hutchins will be at the ASU-Tempe campus as a featured speaker for the Jan Fisher Memorial Lecture Series, which brings established and emerging women ceramicists to the Phoenix community.
Hutchins, who currently lives and works in Portland, Ore., makes reference to everyday rituals and family life in her work, whichplaces her in the rich tradition of artists who combine the personal and the cultural. In her assemblage sculpture, she teases out notions of function and display by creating richly glazed vessels and locating them on top of or inside used furniture, such as armchairs, couches and tables, or balancing them on plinths of her own devising.
The lecture will be held in COOR 174 and begins at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. A reception with the artist will follow at the Ceramics Research Center.
Friday, Sept. 27, 2013: Visual artist and Arizona native Paul Nosa joins the ASU Art Museum for a two-day sewing performance with his Solar Sewing Rover, a portable sewing machine powered by a solar panel or a bicycle with an electric generator. Nosa will create original images, which are machine sewn on fabric patches, using word associations provided by our guests. Nosa’s goal is to inspire people’s creativity and to demonstrate alternative energy sources through his performances. This performance is co-sponsored by the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU.
Nosa will perform twice on Friday: from noon-1:30 p.m., in the GIOS Breezeway and again from 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the ASU Art Museum front entrance. His second performance will kick start the fall season opening reception, which we’d like to think of as Tempe’s art celebration of the season. The party is from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., with a special member’s preview at 5:30 p.m. Full details here: https://asuevents.asu.edu/season-opening-reception-fall-2013
When you’re in the museum for the reception, you’ve got a lot to check out, and you don’t want to miss any of it. Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft, Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066 and This Is Not America: Protest, Resistance, Poetics are all new and on view. And, if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to duck into the Multi-Purpose Room for Plate Silk Stone: Impressions by Women Artists from the ASU Art Museum Print Collection to see a show co-curated by one of ASU’s undergraduate students and research interns, Emma Ringness.
Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013: Don’t stay too late at the Museum having fun on Friday, because the day starts bright and early at COOR 174 with the “Flashback Forward: Rethinking Craft” Symposium, which will explore and discuss critical issues facing the field of contemporary craft. Our keynote speaker is Jenni Sorkin, with a presentation by Guest of Honor Wendy Maruyama, and lectures by artists Garth Johnson, Christine Lee, Del Harrow and Erika Hanson. There’s too much cool stuff (and it’s all free!) happening to list here, but you can view the full schedule, as well as RSVP, for Saturday’s symposium on the event page: https://asuevents.asu.edu/flashbackforward-rethinking-craft-symposium
And, if you missed him on Friday – or just can’t get enough of Paul Nosa — he’s back again on Saturday with another performance from noon – 2 p.m. in the COOR breezeway.
Whew! What a weekend! We can’t wait. And while you’re out enjoying yourselves, don’t forget to tweet and Facebook us your photos.
This Is Not America: Protest, Resistance, Poetics, on view now at the ASU Art Museum, gives a startlingly fresh look at the intersection of art and social change through allowing works to converse with one another. Curated by Julio César Morales, with assistance from ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences graduate student Indira Garcia, the three-part exhibition pairs works from the museum’s collection with those of emerging and established artists in a sort of “question and answer” format.
Part 1, on view now through Nov. 9, 2013, marries a painting by Cuban collective Los Carpinteros with an animated video by contemporary Seattle-based artist Paul Rucker, in an effort to “explore the power dynamics and political implications of oppression,” according to Morales.
“The exhibition title takes a cue from Alfredo Jaar’s seminal 1987 public art video intervention at Times Square in New York City, A Logo for America, a three-part video animation that plays off the notions of ‘America’ and its relationship to citizenship, homeland and borders,” says Morales.
On the east wall of the gallery hangs Dominar Bestias/How to Dominate Beasts, the watercolor painting by Los Carpinteros, whose name “derives from the historical term for skilled slave laborers,” according to Morales. Within the painting we are shown a number of household objects, such as dressers and chairs, shackled to a fence that corrals them, as though they were animals in a paddock. It is unclear whether they are being chained to the fence so that they do not escape, or whether it is the fence that is tied down to these material goods. One begins to wonder who or what is being dominated, and, beyond that, who or what the beasts are.
Across the darkened gallery is Paul Rucker’s video piece Proliferation, projected on the wall opposite the painting. Rucker was inspired to create the piece while at a “prison issues” residency at the Blue Mountain Center in the Adirondacks, when he discovered a series of maps created by researcher Rose Heyer that showed the growth of the United States prison system over time. Rucker, a musician as well as visual artist, created the durational piece from the maps and also composed the original score.
“A word that can refer to healing of a wound through rapid growth of new cells, Proliferation explores the evolution of prisons in the United States through an animated series of colored dots indicating location and number of prisons from 1778-2005,” says Morales. “The incarcerated are a relatively invisible aspect of American society… [but] the United States leads the world in the number of people behind bars.”
To Rucker’s score, each new prison appears on the projection as a dot of color, starting first as green specks and escalating in intensity into brilliant red and orange flashes. While viewing “Proliferation,” one is struck by how quickly the outline of the United States is formed, beginning first with New England, but quickly springing across the map to the West Coast. The colored dots, illuminated against a black background, echo other, similar maps, such as those illustrating light pollution from major cities, or urban sprawl.
As the piece goes on, the green dots begin to merge, turning yellow, and the music takes on a more ominous tone. The dots appear in faster succession, sprawling across the map, until there is no one section that is free of color. They evolve from isolated flashes of yellow into orange and then red masses, joining together with sharp, jolting regularity, like explosions. One feels like a cat, mesmerized, watching a laser dart around a wall. But with this feeling of not being able to look away, to stop chasing the flashes of light, the music suggest something darker, a sinking feeling in the pit of one’s stomach. This is not a game. This is serious.
The two pieces, poised opposite each other in the Americas Gallery on the second floor of the museum, both face off against one another and speak to each other. Their conversation occurs in the space between, where the viewer is invited to sit, to pace and to contemplate.
–Juno Schaser , Public Relations Intern
Part 1 of This Is Not America will close on Nov. 9, 2013, with Part 2 on view Nov. 16 2013 – March 15, 2014, and Part 3, co-curated with ASU MFA students, up from March 22 – June 6, 2014.
Artists include Facundo Arganaraz, Sandow Birk, Los Carpinteros, Juan Capristan, Enrique Chagoya, Binh Danh, Kota Ezawa, Eamon Ore-Giron, George Grosz, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Jon Haddock, Alfredo Jaar, Michael Lucero, Carrie Marill, Sanaz Mazinani, Ranu Mukherjee, Georgia O’Keeffe, Gina Osterloh, Raymond Pettibon, Michele Pred, Ken Price, Jerome Reyes, Paul Rucker, Rene Francisco Rodriguez, Fernando Rodriguez, Lorna Simpson and Adriana Varejão.