Intriguing Art with Social Commentary at Art Miami
Drawing from his experiences living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in the late 70’s, and also in Europe in the late 90’s, Enrique Chagoya juxtaposes secular, popular, and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States, Latin America and the world. Through seemingly harmless characters Chagoya examines the recurring subjects of colonialism and oppression that continue to riddle contemporary international policy. Chagoya has been exhibiting his work nationally and internationally for over two decades. He is a full-time Professor at Stanford University’s department of Art and Art History. His work is in many public collections including The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC, SFMoMA and the De Young in San Francisco, among others. He has been a recipient of numerous awards such as an Honorary Doctorate from the San Francisco Art Institute, NEA and Tiffany artists fellowships, one from the National Academy of Arts and Letters in NYC, and a residency at Giverny in France.
–Courtesy of San Francisco Cinematheque
Image rights: Courtesy of the artist
Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, 2015.
Reviewed in Art in Print, March-April Issue 2016 By Sarah Kirk Hanley
Integrating elements of pre-Columbian mythology, Western religious iconography, and American pop culture, Enrique Chagoya’s politically charged paintings and prints are about the changing nature of culture and power relationships between the U.S., Central and South America, and the rest of the world. His work juxtaposes diverse visual references including canonical European painting and sculpture, indigenous Central American codex books, pornography, and currency. Over the past decade, he has largely focused on issues of illegal immigration, racial stereotypes, and xenophobia in the post-9/11 world. One particularly controversial piece of Chagoya’s was a multi-panel lithograph in the 2003 series “The Misadventures of Romantic Cannibals”, intended as a commentary on corruption in the Catholic church. It was widely misinterpreted and decried as a depiction of Jesus performing a sex act, and ultimately destroyed in 2010 by a museum visitor wielding a crowbar.
Mexican-American, b. 1953, Mexico City, Mexico, based in San Francisco, California