Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas brings together contemporary artists from across the Americas who have tapped into science fiction’s capacity to imagine new realities, both utopian and dystopian. Science fiction offers a unique artistic landscape in which to explore the colonial enterprise that shaped the Americas and to present alternative perspectives speculating on the past and the future. In the works featured in the exhibition, most created in the last two decades, artists employ the imagery of science fiction to suggest diverse modes of existence and represent “alienating” ways of being in the world. The exhibition offers a groundbreaking account of the intersections among science fiction, techno-culture, and the visual arts.
Mundos Alternos brings together the work of international artists from across Latin America with Latinx artists from throughout the United States: ADÁL, AZTLÁN Dance Company, Guillermo Bert, Erica Bohm, Tania Candiani, Beatriz Cortez, Claudio Dicochea, Faivovich & Goldberg, Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Hector Hernandez, Gyula Kosice, La Gravedad de los Asuntos (Nahum and Ale de la Puente) with selected participants Tania Candiani, Juan José Díaz Infante, Nahum, Ale de la Puente, L.A. VATOCOSMICO c-s, Robert “Cyclona” Legorreta, Chico MacMurtrie / Amorphic Robot Works, Guadalupe Maravilla, Marion Martinez, MASA—MeChicano Alliance of Space Artists (Luis Valderas and Paul Karam, with Sergio Hernández, Debora Kuetzpal Vasquez, Miguel Luciano, Laura Molina, Tony Ortega, and Raúl Servín), Jillian Mayer, Mundo Meza, Glexis Novoa, Rubén Ortiz Torres, Rigo 23, Alex Rivera, Clarissa Tossin, Carmelita Tropicana, Luis Valderas, Ricardo Valverde, and José Luis Vargas.
This exhibition’s travel to the Queens Museum continues a national, and potentially transnational, conversation about speculative aesthetics at a time when immigrant futures are facing a crossroads. Home of the past two New York World’s Fairs that lauded New York City as the neighborhood of the future, the Queens Museum is the most relevant venue to host a show of this kind. Located in the borough of Queens, a region transformed by waves of Caribbean, South American, and Mexican migration, Mundos Alternos invites East Coast audiences to imagine another world where many worlds may cohabitate
The exhibition is organized into thematic “constellations” including Cornerstones, Time Travel, Alternate Americas, Indigenous Futurisms, Reimagining the Americas, and Alien Skins. For this iteration, Mundos Alternos expands its interface with satellite installations and programs at partner institutions throughout New York City: The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art will exhibit the section Alien Skins; the Museum of the Moving Image will present a film screening series and lectures organized by Mexico City-based guest scholar, Itala Schmelz; The New York Hall of Sciencewill exhibit artist Rubén Ortiz Torres’s Alien Toy (La Ranfla Cósmica) (1997), which will be complemented by a weekly family activity in the NYSCI Design Lab; and Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, Harlem will organize a series of special programming for children.
A series of performances, talks, readings, and workshops will be presented to examine the far-reaching influence of science and speculative fiction in the Americas and beyond. Programming will center on contributions from artists, writers, poets, and musicians that engage “futurisms” from a wide range of perspectives covering geo-political, social, environmental, and personal themes.
Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas is organized by UCR ARTS at the University of California, Riverside, and curated by Robb Hernández, Assistant Professor of English at UCR; Tyler Stallings, Director of the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion at Orange Coast College, and former Artistic Director of the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts at UCR ARTS; and Joanna Szupinska-Myers, Senior Curator at the California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTS. The New York City iteration is organized by Hitomi Iwasaki, Director of Exhibitions and Curator at the Queens Museum and Joanna Szupinska-Myers. “Alien Skins” at Leslie-Lohman Museum is organized in collaboration with Gonzalo Casals and Nelson Santos, Director and Interim Director of Curatorial Programs of the Leslie-Lohman Museum.
Images in order of appearance: Chico MacMurtrie/Amorphic Robot Works. Organic Arches (Time Traveler), 2014/2017. High tensile fabric, electic valves, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Computer. Laura Molina, Amor Alien, 2004. Collection of the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago. CCBY-SA 3.0
Adál, Coconauts in Space, 2016. Courtesy the artist. Beatriz Cortez, The Cosmos (Spaceship), 2015. Wood, acrylic mirror, sound installation. Courtesy the artist and Commonwealth and Council.
Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas at the Queens Museum is made possible by lead support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Consulate General of Brazil in New York, Fundación Jumex, and Galeria Luisa Strina. Major support for Mundos Alternos at UCR ARTS at the University of California, Riverside was provided through grants from the Getty Foundation. Major funding for the Queens Museum is generously provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Lambent Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, and the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation.