Great turnout Friday night for the opening of “Espacios Comunes “ at the Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez (MUACJ). On display through February, this is not a show in the traditional sense, as much as a montage of constructions, archives, films,lectures and other activities designed to both showcase the kind of political and socially involved work of many of the collectivos around town as well as involving the public in a series of ongoing programs at the museum.
Curated by Felipe Zuniga Gonzalez and Abril Castro-Prieto, the event seems conceived to not only draw attention to the large number of groups composed of artists, architects writers musicians working together for and with the community at large, but also to help break down frontiers not only of geography but also of thought, culture, etc-in short to see all of us as forming a part of the whole and looking at solutions to help improve a city very much in need of help.
The old out-of date image of struggling individual artist working alone, which perhaps still holds sway in some quarters, is here upended as artists such as Battallones Femeninos, Punta de Lanza and HELP among many others combine their talents to create events with which they can interact with the public at large and thereby create value in the city. In the current exhibit as well as with many of the individual groups the public also plays an integral part through participation in workshops, films, lectures etc..
All through the exhibit there will be film cycles, writing workshops, book presentations and other activities developed and promoted by different organizations and whose schedule is displayed along one wall of the museum. As far as I know there is not yet a published schedule, but you can contact the museum for info
Over in El Paso this weekend, of course, there was the Chalk the Block Festival which seemed like one large weekend of uninterrupted fun. Thanks to the activity of everyone involved and particularly with the inclusion of some out of town presenters, like the incredible Austin Bike Zoo folks and their amazing bicycle animals and Christian Ristow with his interactive mechanical face everyone seemed to be having a great time. Hope it continues, grows even larger and that we can have more such events downtown. -david sokolec.