San Francisco

Enrique Chagoya

de Young Museum

Like an offering to the gods of crosscultural communication, Enrique Chagoya’s first museum show in his adopted hometown, entitled “Borders of the Spirit,” presented a thoughtful and often bitingly humorous cross section of work from the past decade. Chagoya’s paintings, drawings, and sculpture explore what happens when two (or sometimes three) worlds bump up against each other, by setting American pop-culture icons—Superman, Mickey Mouse, Olive Oyl—into a matrix of the rich, highly diverse visual traditions of Chagoya’s native Mexico. By juxtaposing Aztec gods and DC Comics superheroes, Mickey’s three-fingered glove and the Mexican-Catholic image of a bleeding hand, Chagoya comments not only on the clash of cultures, but on the Newest World—the multiracial, multicultural society that, whether we like it or not, will predominate in the coming decades.

Most of the works shown date from 1994,

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