Mexico: Expected/Unexpected presents over 100 artworks selected from the Isabel and Agustín Coppel Collection, which is one of Mexico’s most comprehensive contemporary art collections. From the poetic to the political, Mexico: Expected/Unexpected showcases the key figures of the Mexican contemporary art scene, including Francis Alÿs, Carlos Amorales, Iñaki Bonillas, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Jorge Méndez Blake, Gabriel Orozco, Damián Ortega, Pedro Reyes, and Melanie Smith. The exhibition contextualizes these artists in relation to noted historical international practitioners, such as Lygia Clark, William Eggleston, Gordon Matta Clark, Ana Mendieta, and Helio Oiticica. Mexico: Expected/Unexpected goes one step further to incorporate the work of cutting-edge international artists working today who share artistic sensibilities and working methods such as Lothar Baumgarten, Maurizio Cattelan, Kendell Geers, Marepe, Rivane Neuenschwander, and Tatiana Trouvé.
In its only United States presentation, Mexico: Expected/Unexpected is shown concurrently in two Southern California venues: the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, further suggesting a viewing structure based on the aesthetics of displacement and on poetic resonances across space and time.
The exhibition is organized in thematic sections that offer a constant interplay of artworks and artists whose exchanges underline the thoughtful development of the Coppel Collection. Instead of a narrative of evolution and progress reflective of a monolithic idea of peoples and places, Mexico: Expected/Unexpected proposes short stories that echo each other along thematic lines. Painting, photography, installation, video art, sculpture, and text pieces are gathered into sections such as poetics of craftsmanship, the relationship between city and nature, structural affinities, the iconography of nationalism, imagery of death and mortality, constructive logic, archival accumulation and grouping, and precariousness of everyday life.
Mexico: Expected/Unexpected destabilizes categories typically associated with Mexico and with Mexican art. The exhibition mimics the logic that organizes the collection and that pervades the unpredictable character of contemporary Mexico. Featuring expressive artworks that dialogue with and overcome the concept of “Mexican-ness” as a fixed category, the Coppel collection surprises in unexpected ways, defying the plainness of cliché. Likewise, Mexico: Expected/Unexpected proposes that Mexican contemporary art, like the global culture to which it responds, is unstable, rich, complex, unpredictable, and constantly shifting between tradition and innovation.
Mexico: Expected/Unexpected is organized by CIAC with support from La Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, México, and the Consulado Genera de México in San Diego and Los Angeles. The exhibition is jointly presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) and at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach, California.