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Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico City

January 15 – June 07, 2009
Stefan Brüggemann, Explanations (installation view), 2002. Black vinyl on wall in Arial Black font. Dimensions variable. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.
Curator Trevor Schoonmaker, guest curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm, artists María Alós and Abraham Cruzvillegas pose in the gallery in front of Julieta Aranda's work, I have lost confidence ..., created in 2006. Photo by J Caldwell.
Curator Trevor Schoonmaker, guest curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm, artists María Alós and Abraham Cruzvillegas pose in the gallery in front of Julieta Aranda's work, I have lost confidence ..., created in 2006. Photo by J Caldwell.

This exhibition explored recent developments in contemporary art in Mexico City through the theme of “escultura social” (social sculpture). That term was derived from the German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys, who proposed that sculpture, if made from everyday materials and displayed in a “real world” setting, has the potential to affect society most broadly. The show focused on works by a generation of young artists who came to maturity in Mexico City in the 1990s. It had four themes: the transformation of everyday materials, social engagement with the public, the role of language and text in contemporary art and the impact of music, popular media and performance.

Sculpture, Tattoo Art, a Pop/Rock Band

Visitors in the gallery look at works of art by Dr. Lakra. Photo by J Caldwell.
Visitors in the gallery look at works of art by Dr. Lakra. Photo by J Caldwell.

Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico City included sculpture, installation, photography and video as well as conceptual works by artists including Maria Alos, Gustavo Artigas, Miguel Calderon, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Daniel Guzman, Damian Ortega and Pedro Reyes. Works by Dr. Lakra (best known as one of Mexico’s most famous tattoo artists) and the pop/rock band Los Super Elegantes were also included.

Organization & Support

Gallery installation view of a video by Carlos Amorales, Useless Wonder. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.
Gallery installation view of a video by Carlos Amorales, Useless Wonder. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Major support for Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico City was generously provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris.

Additional support was provided by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Karen and Steven Berkowitz; Anne and William J. Hokin; Abe Tomás Hughes II and Diana Girardi Karnas; The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund; and Jim and Rita Knox.

At the Nasher Museum, the exhibition was supported in part by a grant from the Council for the Arts, Duke University, with additional support provided by the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation; the North Carolina Arts Council; Jaclyn, Nelson and Kelly Braddy T’99; El Centro Hispano and the Latino Community Credit Union.

Official Hispanic Media Sponsor: Univision 40

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