Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy

  • Ken Lum, Melly Shum Hates Her Job, 1989, billboard. Installation view, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (now Kunstinstituut Melly), Rotterdam, 2013.


    In 2017, numerous signatories of an open letter called for the name of the Rotterdam institution formerly known as the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art to be changed. The art space was named after the street on which it was located—which itself was named after a seventeenth-century Dutch naval officer—and activists raised concerns over the title’s connection to that officer, who was an infamous agent of colonization. The questions emerged during director Defne Ayas’s tenure, as part of a community discussion around Wendelien van Oldenborgh and Lucy Cotter’s project Cinema Olanda, 2017,


    Curated by Miguel A. López and María P. Malavasi

    Artist-run spaces as well as initiatives advocating for alternative and experimental practices have been instrumental to the circulation of modern and contemporary art, especially in places where cultural institutions are lacking or exclusionary. In such cases, individuals sometimes become pioneering cultural forces—take Virginia Pérez-Ratton, an artist who worked in Costa Rica from the 1980s until her untimely death in 2010. She directed museums, curated biennials, wrote, lectured, and published, all with the aim of introducing regional artists


    Newly resurgent under the directorship of Agustín Pérez Rubio (who took the helm of the institution in 2014), MALBA presents “México Moderno: Vanguardia y Revolución,” a sweeping survey of artistic production in Mexico during the early twentieth century. Presenting more than 120 artworks (many of them loans), the exhibition focuses specifically on the ways in which artists—including many women—used visual expression as a means to codify a uniquely Mexican identity. The show will track the influence of four key

  • “Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910–1950”

    This ambitious exhibition couldn’t be timelier, given that Hispanics of predominantly Mexican origin are now the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, and considering the dismaying signs of cultural intolerance highlighted in the current presidential race. “Paint the Revolution” makes a case for Mexico’s enduring influence in the US and its significant contributions to modernism. Part of the exhibition deals with the encounters between Hispanic and Anglo-American cultures. One section explores

  • Abraham Cruzvillegas, Aeropuerto Alterno, 2002, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    “Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites”

    “Here is an exhaustive survey of Abraham Cruzvillegas’s work—an ambitious undertaking that has curiously (or sadly?) not yet been essayed in the artist’s native country.”

    Born and raised in Mexico, Abraham Cruzvillegas has a close familiarity with autoconstrucciónes—communally constructed environments characterized by formal inventiveness with limited means—and they have inspired much of his work. In this urban context, poetic and ephemeral actions often come from a place of DIY-spirited social resistance, as statements against the false privileges of monumentality. Fittingly, then, some of Cruzvillegas’s strongest works have been fragile assemblages and simple, chance-based actions, such as those he created (and left undocumented)

  • Neil Beloufa, Kempinski, 2007, video, color, sound, 14 minutes. From “Edificio Metálico” (Metallic Building).

    Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy

    1 Edificio Metálico” (TEOR/éTica, San José, Costa Rica; curated by Inti Guerrero) Closed for months following the death of its founder, Virginia Pérez-Ratton, this key Central American cultural space reopened in February, to the pleasure of all, with an international group exhibition. Taking inspiration from the so-called Metallic Building (an early example of prefab architecture, shipped from Belgium to San José in the nineteenth century), TEOR/éTica’s new artistic director, Guerrero, gathered artworks and materials from the Americas, Africa, and elsewhere, ambitiously illuminating tropical

  • reports from Mexico City

    THIS MONTH, MEXICO will commemorate the bicentennial of its independence and the centennial of its revolution with a massive, pull-out-all-the-stops celebration. The extravagant festivities have been preceded by a year of projects and events, ranging from historical exhibitions to television shows to a bicentennial flame traveling around the country à la the Olympic torch. In Mexico City, the Bicentennial Tower will be officially unveiled on the evening of September 15 at the main entrance of Chapultepec Park along the historic avenue Paseo de la Reforma. But the accompanying urban plan designed