Pre-Columbian Remix: The Art of Enrique Chagoya, Demián Flores, Rubén Ortiz-Torres, and Nadín Ospina
The Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College reopens on Sunday, April 28th with the provocative exhibition, "Pre-Columbian Remix: The Art of Enrique Chagoya, Demián Flores, Rubén Ortiz-Torres, and Nadín Ospina." (The Museum had been closed for ten months during extensive renovation work.)
The memory of pre-Columbian cultures, of its icons and myths, is ever present throughout Latin America. In fact, in most Latin American countries, the very idea of Pre-Columbian heritage (indigenous culture before European colonization) has been a strategy to reinforce national unity. But this trend is being challenged by four leading Latin American artists, whose work is the focus of the exhibition, "Pre-Columbian Remix," on view at the Neuberger Museum of Art, from April 28 through July 14, 2013. By fusing ancient Aztec, Mayan, or Incan art forms with pop-culture imagery in an ironic and often humorous manner, the artists address present day concerns relating to universal themes of consumption, corruption, and globalization. The result is an engaging, provocative, 21st-century composite portrait. Re-mixed, and renewed, the past becomes accessible under very different perspectives.
"By re-mixing elements from different times and places in novel ways, the work of the artists presented here offers a new reading of history," notes Patrice Giasson, curator of the exhibition. "The past is not conceived as a long narrative of successive events in time, but rather as something integrated into the present. This allows the artists to inscribe their own time and concerns into the historical framework." "Pre-Columbian Remix" features more than 90 works of art, including stone sculptures, lithographs, large-scale paintings, platinum and cyanotype prints, and a monumental outdoor inflatable sculpture, on loan from different locations in the Americas (Bogota, Mexico City, San Diego, New Jersey, New York). The works are by Enrique Chagoya, Demian Flores, Ruben Ortiz Torres, and Nadin Ospina.
Enrique Chagoya (b. 1953, Mexico City, Mexico; lives and works in San Francisco, CA) Chagoya makes paintings and prints about the changing nature of culture. By juxtaposing secular, popular, and religious symbols, he creates deceptively friendly points of entry for the discussion of complex issues. Pop icons such as Mickey Mouse and Superman are placed side by side with ancient sacred images to create a tension and dialogue between different cultures. The artist addresses colonialism and oppression. Explains Chagoya: "Cultures are transformed and often completely destroyed by conquering ones. The world is endlessly re-mapped and re-named, with new rules and rulers in recurrent holocausts...This is the raw material for my art."
Demian Flores (b. 1971, Oaxaca, Mexico; lives and works in Mexico City and Oaxaca) This is the first exhibition of Demian Flores' work in New York, and the most complete survey exhibition he has had in the United States to date. With an intense, direct style, Flores anchors his work in the reality of contemporary Mexico. He mixes images from Mexico's past and present – pre-Columbian warriors, fertility figures, and pyramids, with present day comic book characters and appropriated images from pop culture, such as baseball, soccer, and boxing. This hybrid product reflects controlled violence, and his concerns about the survival of pre-Columbian roots in a world increasingly homogenized by globalization and a different sort of colonization achieved by the bombardment and power of mass media imagery. All this, the artist believes, leads to alienation and a cultural identity crisis in Oaxacan communities. Ruben Ortiz-Torres (b. 1964, Mexico City, Mexico; lives and works in Los Angeles and San Diego, CA) The work of Ortiz-Torres also addresses hybridization, the blend of Mexican and American cultures and what happens when those cultures come together. A resident of Los Angeles, Ortiz-Torres is concerned with transnational cultural media and objects...photography, video, film, painting, baseball caps, custom cars, machinery, puppets, and the collisions of art and culture. "My work interacts with the cultural and iconographic post-national chaos," he once commented. He sees uncertainty, dislocation, and the creative compromises that characterize peoples and places--and considers the possibilities. With the world in transition, he addresses the implications of multiculturalism and the politics of identity.
Nadin Ospina (b. 1960 Bogota, Colombia; lives and works in Bogota) Pre-Columbian Remix is the most representative and complete exhibition of Ospina's work to be exhibited in New York. It includes works from one of the artist's most significant body of work known as "El Sueño Americano" (The American Dream). This exhibition also includes Ospina's giant inflatable sculpture, "The Stroller," which was presented at the 7th Havana Biennial (2000) and at the 49th Venice Biennial (2001), and on view now for the first time in New York. "Pre-Columbian Remix: The Art of Enrique Chagoya, Demian Flores, Ruben Ortiz-Torres, and Nadin Ospina" is organized by Patrice Giasson, Alex Gordon Associate Curator of Art of the Americas. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue edited by Giasson, with additional essays by Joaquin Barriendos, Jaime Ceron, Serge Gruzinski, and Julian Kreimer.
Support for Pre-Columbian Remix is provided by the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art, and ArtsWestchester, with support from Westchester County Government. Additional funding is provided by Krytzia and Eugenio Minvielle, the Alex Gordon Estate, and the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.
The Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College engages and inspires diverse audiences by actively fostering the study, appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of modern art, African art, and the art of our time. The Museum is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road in Purchase, New York (Westchester).
Address: 735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577