Los Angeles artist Ruben Ochoa investigates the ways that class and race are expressed in the built environment. Drawing equally from international conceptual practices of the last thirty years and the funk and humor typical of the West Coast scene, he makes videos, public art interventions, sculptures, and installations from concrete, re-bar, dirt, metal fencing, asphalt, and related materials. His best known project, Freeway Wall Extraction (2006-7) injected photographic murals into a slice of LA’s Interstate 10, alluding to the landscape that the retaining walls blocked from view. To compliment this work, an installation at LAXART Gallery featured a sculpture resembling an extracted portion of a freeway retaining wall. For Ochoa “Walls may mean protection as in a retaining wall. But they also indicate borders, keeping something out of the way.” In his work, Ochoa shows an interest in exploring issues of containment and transgression in their broadest senses.
SITE Santa Fe has commissioned Ochoa to make a new work in a 5,000 sf exhibition space in his first major one-person museum exhibition. Ochoa has an open invitation to make new work in a city whose built environment is as fraught with class and race distinctions as any in the world.