The Happy Lion is pleased to present The World’s Largest Cardboard Sign and Other New Works, a solo offering by New York-based artist Alejandro Diaz. Standing 10 feet tall and 12 feet across and weighing 200 pounds, the “sign” is the centerpiece of an exhibition of language-related works that include sculpture, neon and installation.
Alejandro Diaz uses humor to critique cultural stereotypes, socio-political economies and the contemporary art world. Sharp yet accessible, seemingly irreverent works belie layers of meaning. Take the World’s Largest Sign-- the object speaks directly to the American “Super Sized” mentality—a space taking, imperialist view, while also alluding to Pop art in its everyday object-hood and post-modern self-reference. Another work, Marfa 1,600 Miles, mocks the art world insider as it randomly points the way to Mecca while at the same time elevating the commercial neon sign to art object. Diaz continues to investigate “sign-language” with Please Do Not Touch: a facsimile of unfinished exposed wiring protruding from the gallery wall with hand written sign. This piece represents a Mexican laissez-faire tolerance for the imperfect, the unfinished, and the downright dangerous while simultaneously questioning our adherence to directions and expected gallery behavior.
Alejandro Diaz was born in Texas and lives and works in New York. He received his BFA from the University of Texas, Austin and his MA from Bard College. His work has been exhibited extensively in the US and internationally. Recent museum exhibitions have included Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City, among several venues, the Queens International 4 at the Queens Museum of Art, NY, Works on Paper Biennial at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in North Carolina, and A Declaration of Immigration at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. Diaz was commissioned to create major installations for the Havana Biennial and for the Public Art Fund in NY. He was the recipient of the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation award in 2008. This year he was the focus of a solo exhibition at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut. His work has been reviewed in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Flash Art, and Frieze.