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, Hector Hernandez, Gyula Kosice, LA VATOCOSMICO c-s, Robert “Cyclona” Legorreta, Chico MacMurtrie / Amorphic Robot Works, Marion Martinez, MASA—MeChicano Alliance of Space Artists (Luis Valderas and Paul Karam), Jillian Mayer, Mundo Meza, Guadalupe Maravilla, Glexis Novoa, Rubén Ortiz Torres, Rigo 23, Alex Rivera, Clarissa Tossin, Carmelita Tropicana, Luis Valderas, Ricardo Valverde, and José Luis Vargas.
Representing a region that is home to vast immigrant populations from Latin America and a vibrant art scene sustained by Latinx artists locally and internationally, the Queens Museum presents the East Coast reiteration of the exhibition. This exhibition and programming will reflect on New York’s cultural and geopolitical ties to the Caribbean and South and Central Americas.
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 dynamically 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; and Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, Harlem will organize a series of special programming for family audiences.
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 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 traveling iteration is organized by Hitomi Iwasaki, Director of Exhibitions and Curator at the Queens Museum and Joanna Szupinska-Myers.
Image: Beatriz Cortez, The Cosmos (Spaceship), 2015. Wood, acrylic mirror, sound installation. Courtesy the artist and Commonwealth and Council.
Major support for the exhibition was provided through grants from the Getty Foundation. The exhibition was part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative.
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 Booth Ferris Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.
Limited Time Temples -solo show
Saturday, October 13th, 2018 Southtown Art Gallery is pleased to present Limited
Time Temples, by interdisciplinary artist, Hector Hernandez. A feature of guerrilla photography,
Limited Time Temples is a solo exhibition that examines the nature of place, in times of
migration and displacement. Inspired by the fluid motion and colors of baile folklórico, traditional
Mexican folkloric dance, Limited Time Temples weaves a narrative that questions what it truly
means to belong on the ground we stand.
Robb Hernández is a scholar of Latinx literary and visual culture. His forthcoming book, “Finding AIDS: Archival Body/Archival Space and the Chicano Avant-garde,” examines the role of gender and sexual transgression in the formation of Chicano art and unveils the alternative archival practices that Latinx artist communities generated in response to the AIDS crisis in Southern California.
Orville M. Winsand Lecture for Critical Studies in Art
Free and open to the public.
Introducing the work of dynamic artists such as Hector Hernandez to California audiences. Made with pieces of brightly colored fabric and natural gusts of wind, Hernandez’s photographs Bulca, 2015, and Sound of Winter, 2014, image what the artist terms “hyperbeasts,” inhuman creatures with no discernable gender.
Apocryphal notions, like northern superiority and European “discovery” of land already populated, pervade the Western Hemisphere. Even before Thomas More’s 1516 book Utopia, our so-named New World has been a locus for European fantasy projection. Currently on view at UCR ARTSblock, “Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas” showcases the work of artists employing science fiction as a means of questioning the status quo. Like More, but contrasting with his Anglo-centric viewpoint, these artists bestow imaginative visions of the existing world as metaphors for social and political critique. Themes of geographic, cultural, and social alienation pervade multifarious artworks ranging from small 2D pieces to expansive installations.
Many of the 32 artists in Mundos Alternos use the limitless possibilities of the science-fiction genre to symbolically transcend borders or identity. In a similar spirit, the exhibition curators—a trio of ARTSblock director Tyler Stallings, Joanna Szupinska-Myers of the California Museum of Photography, and UCR English professor Robb Hernández, who specializes in science fiction—eschewed a geographic categorization of the artists, and instead thought about the show as a way to explore ideas based on sci-fi-oriented themes.
“Mundos Alternos” is divided into categories that suggest ways to consider timely social and political issues through novel lenses. Alien Skins, a category addressing morphing via attire, includes a fantastically painted suit that eccentric artist L.A. Vatocosmico (aka L.A. David) wears around his Texas barrio as a sort of performance. According to Stallings, Hernández was keenly interested in how “artists who could be identified as Latino or Chicano would change their own skin within their barrio or community.” These ensembles show how Chicano artists employ the transformative power of clothing, accessories and makeup to alter their physical and social identities, blending performance art and everyday life.
Another Tejano, photographer Hector Hernandez, represents alienation and gentrification through pictures involving surreal costuming in works found in the exhibition’s Chicano Futurism section.
In the category of Information Control, Claudio Dicochea reworks colonial “casta” miscegenation paintings to investigate contemporary media’s perpetuation of caste systems. Dicochea’s strange, often humorous juxtapositions hybridize eras and cultures to question contemporary stereotypes—a commentary on how caste is “alive and well,” Stallings asserts.
Battling discrimination is a principal mission of contemporary indigenous revolutionaries in southern Mexico. Portuguese-born, San Francisco–based artist Rigo 23 conducts workshops with members of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in Chiapas. Indigenous Futurism includes Rigo 23’s immersing maze-like installation created in collaboration with Zapatista artists. Their version of utopia involves a cornhusk spaceship piloted by snails symbolizing slow progress. Leading to the spaceship, paintings, baskets and other works created by these Chiapan artists adorn ramshackle walls evoking vernacular architecture of southern Mexico.
Also evoking exploratory wonder, Rubén Ortiz Torres’ kinetic sculpture Alien Toy(1997), is a border patrol vehicle/lowrider hybrid that mechanically disassembles within the exhibition’s “Post-Industrial Americas” section, which examines low-tech production as a means of self-empowerment. Alien Toy evokes the idea of a space exploration vehicle such as a lunar rover. Whimsical logos reading “Space Patrol” look like border patrol vehicle logos, furthering the title’s double entendre. This implied reference to space aliens slyly adopts the commonly used term for foreigners. Addressing issues pertaining to technology as well as immigration and borders, this sprawling, dynamic artwork blurs categorical, spatial, and technological boundaries. It also embodies aspects of Chicano Rasquachismo aesthetics involving biculturalism, reuse of everyday materials, and working-class sensibilities.
Car culture and cosmopolitism also figure in LA-based Brazilian Clarissa Tossin’s Transplanted (VW Brasilia) (2011), a detailed latex cast that appears as her car’s shed skin. Lying on a low pedestal close to the floor, this yellowish, flattened piece imagines a vehicle as its owner’s literal “third skin,” a metaphor for how automobiles are often viewed as surrogate versions of their owners’ personalities. Via allusions to the rubber industry, the automobile industry, and the car-oriented cities of LA and Brasilia, this piece also connotes the relationship between North and South America.
In Tania Candiani’s Engraving Sound (2015), viewers can tinker with an extraordinary soundboard where engraving plates act as records emanating otherworldly noise. Interactive pieces like this give the overall show a science museum feel aligning with its topic.
“Mundos Alternos” is accompanied by performances, a film series and a 160-page catalog including essays by the curators and sci-fi scholars. “The shared theme is that we’re dealing with social justice issues through the show as a whole,” Szupinska-Myers concludes. The work on display resounds with science fiction’s manifold capacities for surpassing mere escapism.
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Mundos Alternos.
For over fifteen years, artist Rigo 23 has made work about the struggles of Indigenous communities and imprisoned activists, in some cases depicting individuals involved in those causes. Now he has begun to collaborate with them. “Rigo leverages his privilege as an artist to transfer material resources from powerful cultural institutions to political prisoners and Indigenous communities, and to produce platforms where these oft-ignored stories can be heard” Erica Dawn Lyle writes. CLICK