Chewbacca to Zapata: Revisiting the Myth of the Mexican Revolution

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Alien Nation, 2008 Pencil On Paper 7 X 16 In © Courtesy of the Artist and Morono Kiang Gallery
Chewbacca to Zapata: Revisiting the Myth of the Mexican Revolution

Bradbury Building
218 W. Third St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
September 25th, 2010 - November 20th, 2010
Opening: September 25th, 2010 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Tuesday to Saturday, 12 to 6
video, installation


Morono Kiang Gallery presents its forthcoming exhibition Chewbacca to Zapata: Revisiting the Myth of the Mexican Revolution, curated by Pilar Perez and Marcus Kuiland-Nazario. Participating artists include Octavio Abundez, Mariana Botey, Nao Bustamante, Alida Cervantes, Raul Baltazar, Rafael Gallardo, Ruben Ortiz Torres, Pocho Research Society, Javier Rodriguez, Fernando Sanchez, Joaquin Seguara, Laureana Toledo, and Mario Ybarra, Jr.

Chewbacca to Zapata examines the enduring myth of revolution through the lens of contemporary artists from both sides of the U.S. / Mexico border. The exhibition will feature video, painting, and installation-based works created exclusively for this project, as well as revisiting existing works like Ruben Ortiz Torres’s How to Read Macho Mouse (1991).

Accompanying the exhibit will be an evening of performance centered around the themes of myth and revolution curated by Marcus Kuiland-Nazario. A panel discussion in November will examine the topics of immigration, art, and revolution. A forthcoming press release will be issued with further details and dates.

Among the artworks presented will be Nao Bustamante’s Tierra y Libertad: Kevlar 2945, (2010) a first in a series of garments that time-travels women in wartime; Sandra de la Loza’s photo action based on the myth of Emiliano Zapata’s horse; Fernando Sanchez’s Own Your Own Mexican, an installation that references cardboard communities and day laborers; and new paintings by Alida Cervantes.

The opening reception will feature legendary party maestro DJ Lengua a.k.a. Eamon Ore Giron. As a founding member of Discos Unicornio record label, DJ Lengua has released numerous mixes and two vinyl LP's. In addition to being a musician, he is also a well known visual artist having exhibited his work throughout the world.


OCTAVIO ABUNDEZ Octavio Abundez´s work is an exploration around the limits and relations between culture, language and perception. He is particularly interested in studying the forms in which we conceive "space," be it virtual, physical or geographic. Amidst the growing globalization and digitalization phenomena he has produced site specific work in Europe and America. Abundez has an architecture degree from the Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey (2005). He is also a member of Tree Amigos, an art collective whose interests are based primarily on creating collaborative and collective pieces. He has had two solo shows, "No es una moda es un estilo de vida," at Museo de las Artes, Guadalajara, and recently "Fallas de Origen" at Curro y Poncho Gallery. He has participated in numerous group shows and fairs since 2004. He lives and works in Mexico City.

RAUL BALTAZAR Raul Paulino Baltazar lives and works in Los Angeles and Mexico City. He received his BFA in Sculpture and New Genres at Otis College of Art and Design. Locally, he has exhibited at g727, Slanguage, Monte Vista, Barnsdall Municipal Gallery, Angels Gate, SPARC, Self Help Graphics, 18th Street Arts Complex, Palm Springs Museum, and various underground art spaces like Regeneracion. Internationally he has exhibited/ performed in Colima, Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico City, Chiapas, Merida, Mexico and Tai nai City, Japan. Baltazar has competed several public murals, installation, sculpture commissions at various schools, drug rehabilitation centers, public parks and juvenile halls. He is currently researching contemporary mythological and archetypical characters and performing them such as Tochtli 7 (the Aztec Bunny).

MARIANA BOTEY Mariana Botey was born in Mexico City in 1969, she graduated in 2000 with an MFA from the University of California, Irvine Studio Art Department Program; and in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London, England. She is a working artist in the media of experimental cinema, video installation and video documentary. Her work has been shown in the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao, The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, The San Diego Museum of Art, The Museo Carrillo Gil in Mexico City, REDCAT at the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles amongst many other museums, galleries and festivals. She has recently completed her Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies at the University of California, Irvine.

NAO BUSTAMANTE Bustamante's at times precarious and radically vulnerable works encompass performance art, video installation, visual art, filmmaking, and writing. Bustamante has presented in galleries, museums, universities and underground sites all around the world. She has exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the New York Museum of Modern Art, Sundance 2008/2010, and the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki. Her films have been screened at Outfest in Los Angeles, The Sundance Film Festival, and Mix in New York City, among other festivals. In 2001 she received the prestigious Anonymous Was a Woman Fellowship and in 2007 was named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, as well as a Lambent Fellow. Currently, Bustamante holds the position of Associate Professor of New Media and Live Art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She attended San Francisco Art Institute.

ALIDA CERVANTES Alida Cervantes is from Tijuana, Mexico. Her work examines hierarchies of power with regard to gender, class, race, and species in the context of her bi-culturalism in the Tijuana/ San Diego border. She has shown, among other places, at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Zacheta National Gallery in Warsaw, Poland. She currently lives in San Diego, California.

RAFAEL GALLARDO Rafael Gallardo is a native Angelino born to Mexican parents. Born and raised in Cudahy, CA he attended Otis College of Art and Design and started developing a body of work that was based on his observations in his environment. He became interested in the space between the visual reality, the actual reality and our culture of the spectacle of violence. Rafael works with both multimedia and traditional media and has shown in group exhibitions at Bank, Pøst, and White Box Gallery.

RUBEN ORTIZ-TORRES Rubén Ortiz-Torres is widely regarded as one of today's leading Mexican artists and as an innovator in the 1980s of a specifically Mexican form of postmodernism. Over the past ten years, he has produced a body of work in a wide range of media—extended series of photographs, series of altered readymades, a feature film, several videos (including three in 3D), large scale video installations, major painting series, sculptures, customized cars and machines, photocollages, performances and curated exhibitions. Since 1982, Ortiz-Torres's work has been featured in 25 solo exhibitions, over 100 group shows in the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and more than 50 screenings of his films and video works. Ortiz-Torres has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants from, to name a few, the Andrea Frank Foundation, the Foundations for Contemporary Performance Art, the U.S. Mexico Fund for Culture, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Banff Center for the Arts, and the Fullbright Foundation.

THE POCHO RESEARCH SOCIETY (PRS) is an on-going collaborative project that involves trained and “organic” artists, activists, and historians who reside in Los Angeles. Dedicated to the systematic investigation of place and memory, the PRS challenges dominant constructions of local Los Angeles history through archival and curatorial projects and public interventions. In 2008, the PRS completed a project, Fort Moore, Living Monument, for the traveling exhibit, Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. During the summer of 2007, the PRS launched “Echoes in the Echo”, an action addressing gentrification. The group installed “unofficial” plaques in public spaces to commemorate formerly queer Latina/o bars in Los Angeles. In 2005, the PRS curated, Collective Synapse: A Forward Memory of the Peace and Justice Center, an archival project focusing on a youth-run cultural space that existed in Los Angeles during the mid-nineties, culminated in an exhibit, live events and panel discussions. Other projects include the October Surprise (2004) and Operation Invisible Monument (2002). Currently members are developing a research based project as part of a larger curatorial project: Los Angeles: The Mexican Presence in L.A. Art, 1945-1980, sponsored by the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Initiative, that will culminate in a publication and solo project at the Los Angeles County Museum or Art during 2011.

JOAQUIN SEGURA Joaquin lives and works in Guadalajara, Mexico. His action, installation, intervention and photographic work has been extensively shown in solo and group exhibitions in Mexico, USA, Europe & Asia. Some spaces that have featured his work include La Panaderia, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Centro de la Imagen and Ex-Teresa Arte Actual in Mexico City, along with El Museo del Barrio & apexart, New York, NY, LA, ART & Outpost for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, National Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia and Palace Adria in Prague, Czech Republic.

JAVIER RODRÍGUEZ Javier Rodríguez was born in 1980 in Guadalajara and began working in film production in the late 1990´s. Rodriguez later worked in advertising and design, and for the past three years he has produced a body of work in mixed-media sculptures, readymades, and interventions. His current work is constructed from every day objects like clocks and picture frames and has a special focus on altering games like chessboards, puzzles and dice. Influenced by modern studies of physics and conceptual art, Rodríguez work frequently address the conflicts of isolated conceptions of reality and the links between them. He has recently shown with Curro y Poncho Gallery in Guadalajara.

FERNANDO SANCHEZ Fernando has studied at the Taller de Artes Plásticas Rufino Tamayo, Taller de Grabado Arte de Oaxaca, Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas UNAM Plantel Taxco. He has been a grant recipient of the Producción y Experimentación de la Fundación Pilar y Joan Miro, Mallorca, Spain, and twice recipient of the prestigious Jóvenes Creadores (young creators) del FONCA, 2003/2010. As an individual and as part of collectives, Sanchez has participated in over twenty exhibitions outside of his native Mexico. He is the founder of “La Raya” a graphic art collective and is a member of the “Malagua” collective. Currently he received his BFA from the University of Guadalajara and participated in the Biennale of the Americas in Denver, Colorado. Fernando lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where he is working on his latest project Taller de Artes Visuales Pulpo Rojo.

LAUREANA TOLEDO Laureana lives and works in Mexico City. She started her career as a photographer, subsequently integrating drawing, painting, video, sound and sculpture into her practice. Her works deal with the simultaneous representation of different forms of language and communication, from the purely visual to the spoken word, from flat fields of color to images of restless motion and chaotic sound, all of which seem to be striving to convey a meaning in some secret code.

MARIO YBARRA JR. Mario earned his MFA from the University of California, Irvine. Since then, he has had solo exhibitions in Zurich, New York, Chicago, Torino, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami. He has been featured in exhibitions such as "Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Juan Poly/Graphic Triennial (Puerto Rico), the 2008 Whitney Biennial (NY), Prague Biennial 3 (Czech Republic), 2006 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art. In his installations and community-based projects, Mario Ybarra Jr. re-imagines the possibilities of “contemporary art that is filtered through a Mexican-American experience in Los Angeles,” as he told the LA Times. Indeed, the work of this “cholo aestheticist and inveterate jester,” in the words of critic Andrew Berardini, frequently considers the exigencies—and perverse oddities—of cultural translations and the appropriative acts they presuppose.