By J Caldwell
“Escultura Social,” the new exhibition at the Nasher Museum featuring recent contemporary art from Mexico City, cannot exist without you.
The exhibit is centered around the concept of social sculpture; the featured pieces are incomplete without the viewer. That is, their impact and greater meaning at societal and personal levels is only actualized when the observer interacts with them. These artists are often forced to work around limited availability of materials and transform everyday objects into the extraordinary and use popular media and performance as an aesthetic to convey their artistic message. Part of social sculpture, and, indeed, social justice, in contemporary art is the use of language and text in a real setting to impact people.
The essence in Mexico City’s contemporary artists is breathed into and out of these pieces and there is a certain familiarity that draws the observer closer, almost as if it were begging you to be part of it. As an observer, these pieces sometimes speak for us, from the disillusioned typeface rant that proclaims in 2-foot-tall letters “ALL MY IDEAS ARE IMPORTED / ALL MY PRODUCTS ARE EXPORTED / (ALL MY EXPLANATIONS ARE RUBBISH)” to the hopeless and urgently scrawled pink graffiti, “I HAVE LOST CONFIDENCE WITH EVERYBODY IN THE COUNTRY AT THE MOMENT.”
Other times we speak for the works of art as they compel us to ascribe meaning; from lengthy conversations about the idiosyncratic sculpture, Dr. Lakra‘s “Untitled (cupido),” to a few syllables whispered in awe upon viewing the breathtaking and transcendent video installation “Useless Wonder” by Carlos Amorales.
“Escultura Social,” following on the heels of the recent exhibits including the religious art of “El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III,” the cultural revolution of “A Room of Their Own: The Bloomsbury Artists in American Collections” (still on view) and the post-modern realism of “Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of The Cool,” the Nasher Museum of Art continues to push the boundaries of art.
all photos by J Caldwell – http://www.flickr.com/-drj/