Artists for the Border Biennial

The artists for this year’s  Cd Juarez-El Paso Biennial have been announced. There were 287 entries, more than in past years, and of these, 45 were selected. I’m happy to see the inclusion of a pretty fair representation of artists from Mexico including many fron Monterrey as well as artists from Tamaulipas and Baja California. This year Mexican sculptor Mely Barragan Chavez, winner of the 2013 Biennale award, will create a site specific piece at the El Paso  Museum of Art. There is no indication if  she will also create a piece at the Museo de Arte in Juarez.

The exhbition will open on October 11 and run through January 24. Congratulations to all those selected.


Karina Amaya – Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua
Robert Armando Cárdenas – Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua / Guadalajara, Jalisco
Colectivo Estético – Monterrey, Nuevo León
David Garza – Monterrey, Nuevo León
Héctor Herrera – Ensenada, Baja California Norte
Mayra Huerta – Tijuana, Baja California Norte
Héctor Jaramillo – Chihuahua, Chihuahua
Andrés Juárez Troncoso – Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua
Humberto Jiménez – Matamoros, Tamaulipas
Paola Rascón Tello – Chihuahua, Chihuahua
Isaac Rincón – Monterrey, Nuevo León
Alejandro Sánchez Rodríguez – Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua
Yasadori Sánchez Zavala – Sierras Santa Catarina, Nuevo León
Abimel Villaseñor García – Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua
Ana del Águila Malvaez – Tijuana, Baja California Norte
Sabrina Loghin Tiu – Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua
Rebeca Cordero Valdez – Coahuila, México
Abrajam Escalante – Nuevo León, México
Gerardo Méndez – Ensenada, Baja California Norte
Rocío Sáenz – Chihuahua, Chihuahua
Carlos Vielma – Saltillo, Coahuila
Roberto Zamarripa – Guadalajara, Jalisco

Ricky Armendáriz – San Antonio, Texas
Kristin Bauer – Tempe, Arizona
Sarah Castillo – San Antonio, Texas
Esteban Delgado – San Antonio, Texas
Claudio Dicochea – San Antonio, Texas
Daniel Domínguez – El Paso, Texas
Juan de Dios Mora – San Antonio, Texas
Jessika Edgar – Las Cruces, New Mexico
Arturo Enríquez – El Paso, Texas
Nabil González – El Paso, Texas
Rigoberto González – Harlingen, Texas
Robert Jackson Harrington – Austin, Texas
Suzanne Hesh – Tucson, Arizona
Mónica Lozano – El Paso, Texas
Tony de los Reyes – Los Angeles, California
Beliz Iristay – San Diego, California
Qing Liu – San Antonio, Texas
Chris Macías – El Paso, Texas
Rebecca Méndez – Los Angeles, California
Alejandra Platt-Torres – Tucson, Arizona
Harriette Tsosie – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Federico Villalba – El Paso, Texas
Karla Zanelli – El Paso, Texas

Ileana Garma- con Ternura

Last Friday night at the Librería Universitaria, I had the good fortune to hear the much honored poet Ileana Garma Estrella share work from her book of  poems “Ternura,” which won the 2012 Caza de letras for poetry.

To talk of the book as being about relationships is far too cliched. Illeana said she wrote to remember, to answer questions, to explore emotions and memories. This collection of poems, some written as prose poems, some in free verse, explore in beautiful lyrical writing, her relations with those in her life past and present. There are poems devoted to her father, to lovers and to her relation with the world in general. Perhaps because she was born in Yucatan, or perhaps not, many of her poems involve the natural world-gardens, birds, planets- including them as a part of a larger personal exploration and sometimes addressing them directly, sometimes as a symbol evoking something far deeper.
She mentioned that an original impetus for her early writing was simply a love of the sound of words, and her lyricism and word play provide a great argument for learning a foreign language; the poems could be translated into English, for example, but as always with creative writing something is usually lost in the process.

She has already received many awards for her writing, and it will be intriguing to see what she will share with us in the future. -david sokolec

Ileana Garma

Ileana Garma


L-r Ileana Garma, noted writer Agustin Garcia, and excellent poet Nabil Valles


In addition to the Ser o No Sir show which just opened at the Museo de Arte, I wanted to mention that the show Ida y Vuelto diseño contemporánea en México is still running.
This show, curated by Ana Elena Mallet, tries to give an overview of some of the issues and concerns of contemporary designers. Divided, like Gaul, in three parts-   un mirado local, diseño social, and retomando el oficio- it shows designers generally less concerned with generating radically new designs, and more concerned with deconstructing traditional forms, using local materials and artisanal techniques, and using design to solve local and social problems.- david sokolec


Julio Martinez Barnetche-Jarra de Mezcal con 3 vasos y base de madera


Ser o No Sur

The exhibition “Ser o no Sur, Argentine artists living in Mexico” opened Friday night at the Museo de Arte. Curated by Belén Moro with the coordination of the Embassy of Argentina and INBAl  it brought together a good range of talented artists working in a wide variety of media.
Moro’s curatorial statement talks of artists concerned with issues of dislocation, identity and being from a country far removed from centers of power.
That very well may be on the mind of many of these artists, but it wasn’t always so clear from the works themselves. Some clearly did, while others spoke to larger or more general questions of societal issues  In this regard they fit in with much of art from Latin America, which tends to speak, if sometimes only obliquely, to societal concerns rather than with personal clever ideas.
The exhibition also amply demonstrates the  wide variety of media now being used. There are videos, soundscapes, sculpture made of everything from traditional material to ripped fabric, comic books, and even a few canvases.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Jose Lander, one of the artists included in the show, and he said he felt that Mexico, or at least Mexico City, ewas far more open to innovative art ideas than was Argentina. Certainly this show provides a glimpse of the artistic concerns of Argentines living and working in Mexico, and the widely varied means by which they work out those themes- david sokolec


Jose Luis Lander from the series Prototipo Bandera


Meandro Asolo.   NN


Juarez art events

There is probably a lot more going on, but I wanted to mention a few items.
On Thursday, el bazar del monu, aka Pablo y Carolina, are presenting their book El Monu, a history of the Benito Juarez monument at the Universitaria librería. This is set for 6 pm
The next night are two events set for the same time. The  museo de arte is opening a show of Argentine artists living in Mexico. Called Ser o no Sur it was created in collaboration with the Embassy of Argentina. This is scheduled to open at 7 pm
At the same hour and day Alliance Française opens a show of photography by Luis Ángel Salazar called La Frontera Después.
I’m sure there’s more, but this should keep us all occupied.- David sokolec

La Gun gallery opens show Thursday Night

La Gun art space (formerly gun gallery) will open a three day show called “Ciudad de Talk” tomorrow, Thursday 23.  Leon de la Rosa is going to give a “performance conversacional” and will then join with Phillip Zimmerman to present  their book “Ojala”. This starts at 7 and the show runs through Sat. the gallery is at Calesa and Del Meson 2026. More info on their facebook page espaciolagun.-david sokolec

Juanga, Juarez and Jualls

So Juarez has been renovating Juarez avenue with a huge number of projects designed to make the street more inviting. This has included widening sidewalks, and creating a fairly uniform look among all the buildings. A part of this program is to include a series of murals along the street leading to the international bridge. And why not?  If Hollywood can have a walk of stars, Juarez can certainly have a wall of stars of its own. The first of these is dedicated to internationally famous singer Juan Gabriel, ” El Divo de Juarez” and for the past three weeks the talented artist Arturo Damasco has been swinging from an enormous crane to create a mural of Juanga, taken from a photo of the singer when he was 21, singing on this street at Noa Noa and a portrait chosen by the singer himself.  It is scheduled to be unveiled this Sunday at 5 with Juan Gabriel in attendance. The singer is also offering a free concert on Saturday night at “La Plaza de Mexicanidad” aka the X sculpture among other events in which he will participate.

    I’ve been an admirer of Damasco for a fair number of years now because he not only has a huge amount of artistic talent, but also an extremely fertile imagination. It has been amazing watching Damasco swinging from a huge crane using a brush which more closely resembles an elongated mop bring this portrait to life. Michelangelo lay on his back painting the Sistine Chapel, Arturo Damasco swings from a crane high up in the air.


    The only question I have about all this is the choice of  building. Of course, it has the advantage of being the tallest building on the block and perhaps the only one with sufficient space for a mural of what is really an enormous size, but it has the disadvantage of being a building in complete disrepair. A former hotel abandoned for a  number of years it not only hosts a large number of empty broken windows, but is structurally questionable. A few months ago, an external balcony committed edificial suicide by falling to the avenue below. Fortunately no one was hurt, but it does raise questions about the state of the building and its walls In fact shortly after work was started on the mural, it had to be stopped for a bit so that the wall could be restored to take care of problems caused by humidity among other things


Perhaps there are plans to completely renovate the building which would be wonderful even if it also is probably extremely expensive. At the moment we have a wonderful mural on a building which at the moment raises little confidence and points more to the unfortunate recent past rather than the hoped for future. Aside from this of course one can only applaud the work of one artist paying tribute to another.-david sokolec


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