Yishai Jusidman

  • Arthur Bispo do Rosario

    Arthur Bispo do Rosario (1909?–89) refused to call himself an artist. Not out of modesty, but because he had loftier ambitions. Bispo claimed to have been entrusted by seven blue angels and Christ himself with the momentous task of inventorying everything worth redeeming on the impending Day of Judgment. He was diagnosed a paranoid-schizophrenic in 1938 and carried out his divine mission in isolation, confined for life to a psychiatric clinic in Rio de Janeiro. Preparing the material chosen for salvation for the time it would be presented before God, Bispo fashioned ceremonial garments,

  • Miguel Ventura

    Modernism equated artistic fulfillment with the achievement of expressive uniqueness. Miguel Ventura has met this ideal literally by devising and promoting his very own language, Nilcese, named after the fanciful New Interterritorial Language Committee (NILC). No Esperanto, Ventura’s linguistic contrivance was conceived, again literally, tongue in cheek The drawing series “Los cuadernos de Mademoiselle Heidi Schreber” (The notebooks of Mademoiselle Heidi Schreber), 1993, shows the artist’s tongue stretching out, multiplying, and mutating to entangle, lacerate, and displace his own face, which

  • Thomas Glassford

    Eliminating considerations of taste was a common goal during the golden age of Minimalism and Conceptual art. The idea was to disengage art from the frivolity of Pop as well as from bourgeois hypocrisy. Ironically, in the past decade the minimal/conceptual look has enjoyed an ever-widening popularity and fostered a burgeoning market. And this look has become the standard of taste—smart, elegant, wholesome.

    This turn of events becomes blatantly evident in the recent works of Laredo-born Thomas Glassford. Glassford has explored the functional potential of sculpture ever since he moved to Mexico

  • Marco Arce

    Suppose the lotto ticket you bought today happens to have the winning number . . . of yesterday’s draw. Well, you still have a chance, though common sense would suggest otherwise. Marco Arce’s ticket to artistic success—his acute eye and precise hand—would have warranted a prize in yesterday’s art world, but the prevailing pattern calls for winners to be drawn from the disaffected rather than the virtuosi. While young Marco’s innate painterly abilities may seem to have become professional liabilities, he still has a chance and seems to want to stretch it far and wide.

    In Arce’s recent

  • Maruch Sántiz Gómez

    Maruch Sántiz Gómez’s photographs come with curious bits of advice written underneath them. Consider the following: “When lifting a griddle off the fire, one shouldn’t look at the little sparks produced, or pimples will grow on one’s face like those on the surface of the griddle.” This odd tip accompanying a stark image of a frying pan is much more than a cynical provocation. Sántiz, a twenty-two-year-old Tzotzil Indian, was recruited by photographer Carlota Duarte to participate in a community project in the recently newsworthy state of Chiapas. Sántiz responded with twenty-five black-and-white

  • “inSITE 97”

    For the third installment of “inSITE,” a binationally organized triennial of art from the Americas, forty-two site-specific projects dotted the decidedly unidentical twin cities of Tijuana and San Diego with just about any kind of work post-Conceptual appetites might fancy—that is, anything except painting. Multicultural chic gone continental, “inSITE 97” was further proof that it no longer matters whether you’re in Buenos Aires, Tijuana, or Vancouver: wherever you are, you can just as easily drink Coca-Cola, watch The Simpsons, and enjoy pretty much the same generic contemporary art.

    Even though

  • Santiago Sierra

    In his native Spain, Santiago Sierra’s stylish production took the form of post-Minimalist intervention (e.g. digging the floor of a medieval-cloister–turned-contemporary-art-space, or covering a gallery with pristine aluminum billboard supports.) When he headed to Mexico a couple of years ago, however, Sierra gave up his institutional and historical safety net, since the artistic establishment in amigo-country is notoriously wary of formalist—or post-formal—pyrotechnics. Whether by design or accident, Sierra’s site-specific works in Mexico City have ended up addressing the idiosyncracies of

  • Rubén Ortiz Torres

    Rubén Ortiz Torres looks for staples of national identity in foreign settings: a puny Statue of Liberty in a Guatemalan public school becomes a caricature of “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Guatemalan Liberty/Liberatad Chapina, 1995); two young Latinos at a Halloween party on Hollywood Boulevard pose as the “miscast” brown versions of horror-movie villains (Dios de la Guerra/Wargod, 1991); while two suburban blond kids wave at us from their taco-shaped cart in a parade (California Taco, 1995). Ortiz’s photographic series “The House of Mirrors,” 1990– , presents a cultural carnival of

  • Eduardo Abaroa

    While in other Latin American countries artists toyed with Pop and Conceptualism, in Mexico they have stuck to painting. Only recently have young Mexican artists taken up “new” media: installation fever has infected even government officials, who are finally sponsoring such work. As might be expected, most of this celebrated “new” art can be seen as either a belated and unacknowledged evocation of the ’70s—call it naive conceptualism—or an updated package of the usual Sabor Latino or post-Tropicalismo tidbits. But these unusually propitious conditions do allow raw talent to develop unhindered

  • “Chronologies”

    Staunch anti-Modernists used to celebrate paintings with an obvious narrative line (such as those by Jorg Immendorff and Eric Fischl), if only as a means of antagonizing those who espouse an “antitheatrical,” formalist approach. Narrativity has since been unhappily linked to content in its yet unhappier quarrel with form. “Chronologies,” a tight international exhibition of recent narrative works, refrained from playing the role of the post-Modern contrarian. The allure of these stylistically hybrid pieces derived less from their subject matter than from the artists’ concern with creating artworks

  • Francis Alÿs

    The twin series of paintings in Francis Alÿs’ recent gallery show probably originated as illustrations to the urban interventions he executed after moving to Mexico City from Belgium five years ago. While the spirit of those ephemeral pieces swiftly spread among the work of many young Mexican artists—including that of Gabriel Orozco—Alÿs’ paintings evolved into works that defamiliarize our viewing habits.

    In “The Liar,” 1993–94—a series of strangely delicate paintings in resin, wax, and oil—an archetypal clerk in a standard gray suit is the agent of seemingly incoherent actions and situations.

  • Jorge du Bon

    During the ’60s, the official party strove to portray Mexico as a land of promise (an image to which it has returned in the ’90s), and part of this effort consisted of promoting the work of a group of young, local artists who diluted American formalist sculpture into mellow geometrical abstractions as evidence of the (ever-impending) modernization of the country. Three decades later, most Mexicans no longer believe progress is imminent, yet those same artists continue to propagate their pastoral Minimalism, unwittingly confirming the government’s wishful delusions about modernity and, by the

  • Julio Galán

    Julio Galán’s inventive mix of Mexican kitsch and contemporary pictorial styles has won him international attention for nearly a decade. An early but timely retrospective of this work unified what have often seemed like discordant gallery shows.

    Galán’s decorative early tableaux (1982–84) share a school girl’s predilection for pretty colors, frontality, and simplification. The children, toys, figurines, and animals depicted in these cute dreamscapes refuse to be anchored or linked. Beneath the apparent innocence of such cheesy and crowd-pleasing surrealism, there is something disturbing, perhaps

  • Diego Toledo

    While New York conspired to steal the idea of Modern art from Paris, Mexico’s Europeanized elites complacently hosted Andre Breton and his cronies. Under the Surrealists’ influence, Mexican art lovers abandoned themselves to an Oz-like esthetic realm that, in turn, bolstered local ethnosurrealist figures like Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo. But the poetic dream eventually degenerated into an opiated lethargy, sheltered as it was by the barriers of commercial and cultural protectionism. A timely young generation of Mexican artists is already craving to trade in the market of the global art world.