US-Mexico border

The Los Angeles CAFAM museum will host the work of over 40 contemporary artists and designers who have lived the border’s culture, long before Trump.

Pablo López Luz, San Diego County – Tijuana IX, USA-Mexico border, 2015
The Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) announces the group exhibition “The U.S.–Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility” with the work of approximately 40 contemporary artists who explore the border as a physical reality (place), as a subject (imagination), and as a site for production and solution (possibility). The exhibition is curated by Lowery Stokes Sims, curator emerita of the Museum of Art and Design in New York, and independent curator Ana Elena Mallet.


Since the 1990s, the U.S.–Mexico border has become an important site for creative exploration of issues related to emigration, immigration, labor conditions, hybrid identities, and transformation. The U.S.–Mexico border is often thought to include territory within 100 miles of the national boundaries of the two countries; however, the exhibition’s parameters include the whole of the ten U.S. and Mexican states situated directly along the national boundaries. This allows to acknowledge the persistence and survival of heritage and culture in the passing down of traditional skills and techniques within various communities and families on either side of the border.

Betsabeé Romero, Estalagmitas y estalagtitas urbanas, 2014
Betsabeé Romero, Estalagmitas y estalagtitas urbanas, 2014. Rubber tires, printed with gold ink. Courtesy of the artist
While the selection largely focuses on work executed in the last two decades, it also includes objects by Chicano artists in California who came together in the 1970s and 1980s to address border issues in their work. The inclusion of artists from various disciplines, including design, architecture, sculpture, painting, and photography, reflects the ways in which contemporary artists and designers themselves cross disciplinary borders.
Ana Serrano, Cartonlandia, 2007
Ana Serrano, Cartonlandia, 2007. Cardboard, paper, acrylic paint. The AltaMed Art Collection, courtesy Cástulo de la Rocha and Zoila D. Escobar. Photo Julie Klima
Selected artists include Ana Serrano, Marcos Ramirez ERRE, Betsabeé Romero, Teddy Cruz, Studio Rael San Fratello, Tanya Aguiñiga, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Guillermo Galindo, Margarita Cabrera, Haydeé Alonso, Judith F. Baca, Eduardo Sarabia, Cog•nate Collective, Teresa Margolles, Guillermo Bert, Julio Cesar Morales, Viviana Paredes, G.T. Pellizzi and Ray Smith.
Ronald Rael & Virginia San Fratello, Teeter-Totter Wall, 2013
Ronald Rael & Virginia San Fratello, Teeter-Totter Wall, 2013
“The border has been a contentious site for much longer than the current news cycle’s focus on the wall”, says curator Lowery Stokes Sims. “And though the exhibition has taken on a particular urgency in the current political environment, this project recognizes the border as a long-standing site of interdependence and connectivity, despite the painful divisions it causes. We celebrate the creativity and commitment of this selection of designers, artists, and makers for whom the border is a lived experience.”
Pablo López Luz, Tijuana – San Diego County III, Frontera USA-Mexico, 2014
Pablo López Luz, Tijuana – San Diego County III, Frontera USA-Mexico, 2014. Courtesy the artist

10 September 2017 – 7 January 2018
The U.S.-Mexico Border. Place, Imagination, and Possibility
curated by Lowery Stokes Sims and Ana Elena Mallet
CAFAM – Craft & Folk Art Museum
5814 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

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