sfai news

January 14, 2011

Phase 2 of Disponible–a kind of Mexican show opens on February 10

The San Francisco Art Institute is pleased to announce Phase 2 of Disponible–a kind of Mexican show, a group exhibition of seven contemporary artists working in film, video, sound, installation, and performance. The exhibition is on view February 10-March 26, 2011 in SFAI’s Walter and McBean Galleries. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, February 9 from 5:30-7:30 pm.

Co-curated by Hou Hanru, SFAI’s Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs, and Guillermo Santamarina, an independent curator based in Mexico City, this exhibition takes its name from the empty billboards reading “disponible” (+ phone numbers) that are seen across the skylines of Mexican cities. Meaning at once available and potentially changeable or disposable, the word disponible reflects the dynamic, contradictory reality of Mexican society in transition from post-colonial revolution to globalization. The exhibit also coincides with the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence and the centennial of the republican revolution.

Phase 1 of Disponible—a kind of Mexican show opened in November 2010. To that existing work, Phase 2 adds pieces from three artists who exemplify the social engagement of artists in Mexico today. Focused on issues such as violence, gangs, and drugs, these artists create works of urgency and importance.

The new pieces on view for Phase 2 are:

  • A site-specific work by Teresa Margolles. Margolles, one of Mexico’s preeminent contemporary artists, has invited keymaker Antonio Hernandez Cumacho from Ciudad Juárez to come interact with the San Francisco public, sharing stories about owning a small business in a border city riddled with drugs and violence.
  • Natalia Almada’s film El General. Almada is the great-granddaughter of Mexican president Plutarco Elias Calles (1924-1928), one of Mexico’s most controversial revolutionary figures. This portrait of a family and a country under the shadow of the past earned Almada the Documentary Directing Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
  • Arturo Hernández Alcázar’s Never Work (transformation of knowledge into work, work into energy and energy into a hot soup). This sound installation documents the recycling of electronic junk by Mexican workers. Outside the gallery, megaphones play noises recorded in the recycling factories. Inside, documents and materials collected from the factories reveal inhumane labor conditions and environmental destruction.

Works from Phase 1 that remain on view are: Edgardo Aragón’s video Matamoros, in which the artist recreates his father’s journey from Oaxaca to Tamaulipas as a drug trafficker; Manuel Rocha Iturbide’s sound installation I play the drums with frequencyMauricio Limón’s video Bizco Merolico Chorus, featuring vendors from the Mexico City subway repeating their sales pitches; and Hector Zamora’s Essay about the smooth and the striated, a site-specific installation made of suspended drying racks. 

SFAI’s exhibitions and public programs are supported in part by the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund with additional support provided by the McBean Family Foundation, the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco and AeroMexico.