San Francisco

Armando Rascón

SFAI Walter and McBean Galleries

Armando Rascón, who grew up in Calexico, remembers the border between California and Mexico as a place of benign transition; his mother often sent him to Mexico to buy tortillas. Today, of course, crossing the border is like going to the moon: steel grates used during the Gulf War as portable desert landing strips have been installed upright to form a fence. A piece of that fence, a module of the military mindset, hung on a wall in Rascón’s installation, Occupied Aztlán, 1994, next to a small video monitor playing Orson Welles’ A Touch of Evil, 1958. Made in and around Calexico—and starring a brown-faced Charlton HestonWelles’ film illustrates an easy confluence of cultures along the border, at least if you read around the Hollywood stereotypes. In that confluence, Rascón sees the fluid cultural spaces of his childhood. Still, the side-by-side contrast of the tremulous video field and the

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