Xican–a.o.x. Body adds complexity to understandings of Chicano art and culture by exploring the visual practices that foreground the body as the site in which imagination and political enunciation are articulated. The artists featured in the exhibition celebrate the creativity of decolonized political personas that are playful, unapologetic, and irreverent. These multidisciplinary perspectives erase any presumed hierarchy between popular art and what has traditionally been thought of as “high art.” Simultaneously, Xican–a.o.x. Body’s artists embed conceptual and intellectual aspects through their aesthetics and the materiality of their artwork.
Consisting of approximately 140 artworks by about 70 artists and artist collectives, Xican–a.o.x. Body weaves a rich tapestry of diverse media—including Lowrider cars, poetry, pottery, painting, photography, sculpture, and film. These works span from the late 1960s through today.
Xican–a.o.x. Body adds complexity to understandings of Chicanx art and culture by exploring the visual practices that foreground the body as the site in which imagination and political enunciation are articulated. The artists featured in the exhibition celebrate the creativity of decolonized political personas that are playful, unapologetic, and irreverent. These multidisciplinary perspectives erase any presumed hierarchy between popular art and what has traditionally been thought of as “high art.” Simultaneously, Xican–a.o.x. Body’s artists embed conceptual and intellectual aspects through their aesthetics and the materiality of their artwork.
This approach can be seen in Yolanda López’s Tableaux Vivant (1978) and Alma López’s Our Lady (1999). Both works deactivate prejudices and stereotypes through roleplay to create feminist, anti-colonial perspectives. Specifically, these respective artworks disrupt the essentialism of the Virgen de Guadalupe as a religious figure and a feminine reference not only of Chicana women but also of canonical ideals of beauty perpetuated by masterworks of European art history, such as Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.
Similarly, artists such as rafa esparza investigate elements of Xicanx culture. Taking the example of the Lowrider as a tool of rebellion in works from 1970s and 1980s by Ricardo Valverde and John Valadez, esparza transmutes his own body into that of a Lowrider, transforming from object to subject and queering the hypermasculine elements of Lowrider car culture.
Artists in Xican–a.o.x. Body include: Laura Aguilar, Celia Álvarez Muñoz, Asco (Harry Gamboa Jr., Glugio Gronk Nicandro, Willie Herrón III, and Patssi Valdez, 1972–82), Mario Ayala, Judith F. Baca, Alice Bag, Julia Barbosa Landois, Ariana Brown, Nao Bustamante, William Camargo, Barbara Carrasco, Charlie Cartwright (Good Time Charlie), Mel Casas, Isabel Castro, Yreina D. Cervántez, Enrique Chagoya, Artemisa Clark, Liz Cohen, Adriana Corral, Camilo Cruz, Cyclona, Ms. Vaginal Davis, Albert De Alba Sr., Sandra de la Loza, Natalie Diaz with Mohammed Hammad, Alex Donis, Frances Salomé España, rafa esparza, Justin Favela, Christina Fernandez, Diane Gamboa, Maria Gaspar, Jay Lynn Gomez, Ken Gonzales-Day, Alfonso Gonzalez Jr., Fabian Guerrero, Ester Hernandez, Sebastian Hernandez, Celia Herrera Rodríguez, Salomón Huerta, Luis Jiménez, Alma López, Yolanda López, Richard A. Lou, James Luna, Narsiso Martinez, Patrick Martinez, Delilah Montoya, Malaquias Montoya, Chuco Moreno, Gabriela Muñoz, Marcos Raya, Sandy Rodriguez, Gabriela Ruiz, Sylvia Salazar Simpson, Shizu Saldamando, Teddy Sandoval, Tamara Santibañez, The Q-Sides (Vero Majano, Amy Martinez, and Kari Orvik), Walter Thompson-Hernández, John M. Valadez, Patssi Valdez, Linda Vallejo, Ricardo Valverde, Kathy Vargas, and José Villalobos.
For booking information, contact Russell Lord, Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Initiatives, email@example.com
The exhibition will be accompanied by a major publication further advancing the study and critical discourse surrounding Chicanx art from the 1970s to the present.
Cecilia Fajardo-Hill is a Latina British/Venezuelan Art Historian and Curator in Modern and Contemporary Art, specializing in Latin American and Latinx art. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Essex, England, and an MA in 20th-Century Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England. She is associate professor of art history and museum studies at Arizona State University and director of the Northlight Gallery at ASU.
Marissa Del Toro is an independent curator and Assistant Director of Exhibitions and Programs at NXTHVN in New Haven, CT. She holds her MA in Art History from the University of Texas at San Antonio, with an overall focus on the modern and contemporary art of Latin America and the U.S.
Gilbert Vicario is Chief Curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Previously, he served as Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and The Selig Family Chief Curator at Phoenix Art Museum, and as Senior Curator and division head for curatorial affairs at the Des Moines Art Center. He holds an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.
Xican–a.o.x. Body is organized by the American Federation of Arts.
Major support for the exhibition and catalogue is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Terra Foundation for American Art.