Great Art Events This Week on the Border

There are some great art events happening this week on the border. Beginning tonight, (Wednesday May 17) at the Museo de Arte here in Juarez ,Carlos Palacios, curator at the Museo de Arte Carillo Gil and curator of the Carla Rippey show currently on exhibit will give a free talk about the show. This is at 7 pm and tomorrow at noon he will lead a guided tour of this extraordinary retrospective.
There are a series of events at the museum this week in honor of International Museum Day culminating in a whole series of activities this Saturday at Un Dia en El Museo.

Friday is the opening of what promises to be a fascinating exhibtion to be shown on both sides of the border. Called “Narradores, Ponte en los Zapatos del Otro” here and more simply “Storytellers” in El Paso it shows the work of 60 students from different schools who present thier videos, and projects as well as interviews in which they talk about their life, hopes and dreams.
This was supported by the US Consulate in Juarez with the participation of some other local organizations and, of course, the assistance of a wide variety of local schools.
The opening in Juarez is this Friday night at Juarez Contemporary Gallery at Calle Omega #1351 at 7 pm. It will be up through the 21.
In El Paso it is scheduled to open on the 25th at The Station Urban Offices 500 W. Overland where it will run through the 28th.
Thursday is also the start of a series of films to be shown pimarily at Cafe Unico and at the Cineteca Nacionale branch at Cultural Centro Paso del Norte. The series is called Apanerowa and concerns indigenous culture and human rights . The  series at Cafe Unico begins at 4 pm .

So there you have some of the things going on here. Don’t tell me there’s nothing to do in Juarez.-dsokolec

 

Carla Rippey-Rememberance of Times Past

Carla Rippey shows what can be accomplished when great skill, willingness to experiment and unity of vision combine. Her superb retrospective called “Resguardo y Resistencia 1976-2016 currently on view at the Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez takes us on a journey through the past, or rather a journey through many different pasts as well as to dreamscapes and to other worlds by means of a variety of techniques often built on a solid foundation of drawing and printing skills.
Rippey was born in Kansas City, but has lived and worked in Mexico since the 1970’s. In 2013 she was named director of “La Esmeralda” (Escuela Nacional de Pintura,Escultura y Grabado), the first woman ever named to that position, and this retrospective perhaps is an indication of why she was selected.
It presents a unity of theme which is not so much a linear stroll down memory lane as a wash of impressions and images which creates a sense of the past as well as a concern with the female form. This show feels a bit like those images which flit through one’s brain just before waking or just before drifting off to sleep.
Maybe I’m going on a bit too much about this or maybe it is a result of the wonderful large prints from the series called “Esclavos del Sueno” (Slaves of the dream) which poses a languorous figure, often nude,surrounded by imagined landscapes- the whole filled with somnolence and other lands and time. Like most of the prints in the show these are in black and white which adds a sense of out of time and place.
In some cases her concern with the female figure leads her to create highly detailed portraits, while in other instances she has applied thinner to a face drawn on a sheet of newsprint which erases part of the detail, contributing to the unreality. The show includes a pillow book she has drawn which seems like a scene from a telenovela, as well as other little books and fold out creations. She has appropriated old post cards from Cambodia placed on vintage material for a series called Turista.
One whole wall is given over to her judicious selection of archival photos from Nebraska, where her own ancestors came from, and Mexican archives with photos from around the time of the Mexican Revolution. There is one photo from 1914 which shows US troops from Nebraska camped on the Mexican border, this in a nod perhaps to referencing her own personal history.
Some retrospectives concentrate on how an artist has chaqnged technique from realism to abstraction for example, or how a change of media. This show despite a plethora of techniques seems to show a continuity of theme and purpose. It also shows the power inherent in skilled draftsmanship.
It takes a show like this to remind one of what power there can be found in pure technical skill combined with a willingness to invent, and an idea to explore. It makes so much of what is often on view seem like the gawdy trinkets of a two-bit street hustler.-david sokolec

Carla Rippey- Resguardia y Resistencia

I am really looking forward to the opening of Carla Rippey’s retrospective  at the Museo de Arte here in Juarez this Friday night. Rippey is the current director of “La Esmeralda”(La Escuela Nacional de Pintura,Escultura y Grabado) and the first woman to hold that position. Although born in Kansas City, she has lived in Mexico since 1973, having fled Chile after the fall of Salvador Allende.
The exposition, covering the years 1976-2016, recently opened at the Museo de Arte Carillo Gil and from all I can gather  it seems a magnificent show which not only demonstrates her extraordinary skill at interweaving photography and printmaking among other artistic talents, but also, and more importantly, shows her interest in preserving her personal memory, exploring the female and cultural cross-currents.
Should be an incredible show ,particularly for those interested in print making and drawing  but also anyone interested in seeing the workl of this important and involved artist.
The opening is set for Friday 17th at 7 pm.
I also want to mention there is still time to see the show Encuentro de Mujeres Artistas at Alianza Francesa. Thirteen local artists combined forces to show 30 pieces in various media. The work shows just some of the remarkable talent here in Juarez, and the wide range of subject matter and media used. It includes a video, and a wonderful installation in a nook just inside the entry which combines music with shell forms hanging from the ceiling into each one of which is delicately inserted a drawing.
The show continues through April 10. -david sokolec

 

 

 

Berlin Juarez- Gut Fiesta

Before too much time elapses, I wanted to just say what a great opportunity we had last week to have an exchange with the team of artists from Project Space Festival Berlin. Thanks to Gabriela Duran Barraza who arranged this and to Nora Mayr, Stine Marie Jacobsen and others who made the trip over here.
This was not about object oriented art, but rather about active exchanges between participants, and learning about different ways that interchange was happening in Germany. It was also about having a party and the lucha libre at the Bazaar de la Monumento or the Hard Pop concert provided a huge amount of fun.
Stine talked about her work with at-risk teens as well as with immigrants. She does something really interesting. They take specific laws and court cases in which they demystify the language and then she has the teens write their own law and give their opinions on how a court case should have been decided. Both of these things helps give them a handle on what the law is really saying in the midst of all the legalise and gives them an opportunity to own it in the sense that once they understand what the law is really saying, they can have a better judgementof it and feel more comfortable discussing it.
Nora also showed a wonderful presentation of the widely varied spaces in Berlin which have been converted to use for art presentation-the spaces often informing the art being shown.
I believe there was also ample interchanges between students here in Juarez and the team from Berlin. This was simply a great time for everyone, and a reminder of something of which I think many people north of the border are unaware, and that is that there really is a huge amount of exchange between artists here in Juarez and artists from various European countries as well as those from South America and it gives everyone a much broader perspective. -david sokolec

Francis Alys showing in Juarez

Belgian born artist Francis Alys is arguably one of the best known international  artists currently living in Mexico.He has worked all over the world and been shown in important venues all over the world. Currently he is represented by the influential David Zwirner gallery.

I bring this up because beginning tomorrow (Oct 17) his work will be on view at Alejandro Luperca Morales’s visual movable feast Proyecto Impala. Alys was in Juarez a few years ago on a project literally kicking a fireball down the street. This is typical of his work which involves interacting in various ways with the environment, in ways which usually include a political component or to simply provide a different way of interacting or viewing a given space. He will either work alone or involve members of the community in his activity. Because of this the work seems to fall more properly under the heading of documentation rather than a traditional finished work of art, but as good art can generally be said to change our perception of something, to look at things in a new way, Alys certainly does that following his own path. He apparently likes to invoke the idea of the flaneur (traditionally a stroller of boulevards, a walker so his work often involves strolling through a city or some area . (I can relate to this as being a flaneur is perhaps the only occupation I have asiduously and seriusly pursued over the years.)

It is really exciting to have his work here, and I believe it was due to his connection with local artist and arts promoter Morales (who seems to know a staggering array of people all over the place) that this happened so thank you Alejandro and everyone else involved  for helping make this happen. Mo info on Alys can be found on his website (including that fireball in Juarez), and for when and where the Proyecto Impala will be you can go to their website or Facebook. -david sokolec

 

Venas de Acero

Venas de Acero (Veins of Steel) is not the latest Marvel comic book offer, but the satisfying exhibition of sculptures by Agueda Lozano at the Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez. Born in Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua in 1944, Lozano studied art in Nuevo Leon and  moved to Mexico City in the tumultuous year of 1968. There she exhibited widely, but although there were a number of important art movements going on at the time, she apparently didn’t quite feel at home with any of them and moved to France in 1971. That seems to have been a smart move. The Museum of Modern Art  of Paris acquired one of her works  and she won a prize at the International Festival of Cagnes-sur-Mer.
She has spent her time since then working steadily and intensely on her work. She began painting abstracts but then turned to sculpture using steel as her preferred medium while continuing with her works on canvas.fotor_147534070947444.jpg

Ecoute Celeste -200x50x86 cm

The pieces shown here, all of fairly recent vintage and ranging in size from table top to well over 6 feet (200 cm)  show balance, harmony and movement. Lozano often gives her pieces sharp serrated edges as though the halves had been ripped apart. Other works are like “La Derniere Page” which shows leaves of a book with  the last page appearing to have just been turned.fotor_147525045699786.jpg La Derniere Page (132x75x85cm)

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Terre du Mexique Enterre de France (116x35x26cm)

There is a fluidity and sense of movement in many of the works with the parts seeming to either be about to wrap around each other or perhaps fly off.

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Etoile Filante (200×200 cm)
Also on exhibit are  some of her large (200 x 200cm) abstract paintings. These are spare uncluttered works which  hint at an interior world into which the viewer is allowed to enter.
When so much art being produced today often seems to be trying too hard to be clever or simply slapped together and rushed to market, it is refreshing to see work which can stand on its own and which shows the result of years of hard work and continuing exploration.
Lozano has recently inaugurated a cultural center in Cuautemoc where presumably the next generation of artists can be trained and developed.
The show will be up through the end of the year.-David Sokolec

Murals for a new Regeneration

In all of the activity surrounding Juan Gabriel’s untimely death, it was nearly forgotten that the city  unveiled the new plaza, which is supposed to be a part of the regeneration of downtown. This is on Mariscal in what used to be either a no go or where else would you go zone depending on your tastes and vices (or lack thereof).In any case as part of this, the collectivos Local 8 and Clavera Studio were hired to paint murtals on buildings fronting the new plaza, and they make a great addition. Here are a few.-david sokolecfotor_147285713098567.jpgfotor_14728572937416.jpgfotor_147285748725210.jpgfotor_147304760546154.jpg