National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum (NHCC) 2022-2023

Fronteras del Futuro: Art in New Mexico and Beyond
Curated by Jadira Gurulé
National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum
Albuquerque, New Mexico
March 11, 2022 – March 12, 2023



Astronauta Latino (David Bowman, 2001: A Space Odyssey), 2018 Pigment print on canvas, acrylic 48 x 36 in. Fronteras del Futuro: Art in New Mexico and Beyond features artworks that explore the intersections of art, science, technologies (both ancient and modern), cosmic-musings, future-oriented visions, and more. The exhibition engages with themes that are relevant in New Mexico (and beyond) with contributions from artists in New Mexico, across the nation, and internationally.

“More than mere escapism, science fiction can prompt us to recognize and rethink the status quo by depicting an alternative world, be it a parallel universe, distant future, or revised past.” -Catherine S. Ramírez

This exhibition presents artworks by Hispanic, Chicana/o, Latina/o/x, and Indigenous artists in New Mexico and beyond that explore the intersections of art, science, technologies (both ancient and modern), cosmic musings, and future-oriented visions. It looks to artists to inform, interpret, and expand the ways we imagine our collective futures.

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) art and cultural producers have engaged with science fiction and other tenants of speculative fiction in their work for decades.

As an umbrella term, speculative fiction encompasses the intersections of science fiction, fantasy, future-oriented imaginings and much more. In the last few years, a number of exhibitions have illustrated the scope of this work in Latinx and Latin American art on a global scale as well as its significance to cultural criticism and the task of imagining alternative, just, and thriving futures for our communities.

While New Mexican artists have been included in these exhibitions, there is much more to explore about New Mexican artistic contributions by artists who create in this environment. What does New Mexican speculative fiction look like and how does it contribute to the larger body of work produced by Hispanic, Chicana/o, Latina/o/x, Indigenous, Latin American, and African American artists outside of New Mexico?

—Jadira Gurulé, Curator

Image: Astronauta Latino (David Bowman, 2001: A Space Odyssey), 2018 Pigment print on canvas, acrylic 48 x 36 in.




Linda Vallejo’s Astronauta Latino (David Bowman, 2001: A Space Odyssey) and Guerreros de las Galaxias (Galactic Storm Troopers) include obvious references to science fiction, they are a part of a larger body of work by Vallejo wherein she draws attention to the absence of Mexican American culture in mainstream society, particularly at the Oscars, by repurposing iconic images of American culture and painting them brown. In Vallejo’s world, Galatic Storm Troopers become Guerreros de las Galaxias as their armor adopts a new brownish hue. In a similar vein the Well-Off-Man’s interpretation of this type of image repurposing, Itala Schemiz’s article, “The insubordination of Alternate Worlds,” discusses the way in which mainstream imagery became tools for “social subversion and underground art.” Vallejo’s work does just this as the viewer is simultaneously grounded in familiar images while being forced to recognize that something about it is different. Facing this bit of cognitive dissonance has the power to draw attention to what might have otherwise passed by as normal – the infrequency with which we see brown skin in the mainstream depictions of culture in the U.S. and presenting an opportunity to shift the dynamic.

Since 2011, Linda Vallejo has transformed found bits of Americana – a Bob’s Big Boy statue or figurines of Elvis and Gary Cooper from ‘High Noon’ – into more Mexican-ized icons with careful application of brown paint. Big Boy therefore becomes ‘Muchachote,’ Elis becomes ‘El Vis,’ and Cooper is turned into “El Vaquero de High Noon.’

Now the artist has released a series of painted images that address the Oscars’ lack of diversity – depicting Audrey Hepburn as ‘Aurora Hernandez’ and Cate Blanchett as ‘Catarina Blancarte.’

She has even created one work in honor of Paul Muni, the Hungarian-born actor who wasn’t Latino but played one in the movies: the disbarred lawyer, Johnny Ramirez, in the 1935 Bette Davis vehicle ‘Bordertown.’ With a coat of paint, Vallejo transforms Muni into ‘Pablo Mundial.’

With a bit of brown paint, Linda Vallejo draws attention to the absence of Mexican American culture in the mainstream. ‘Hollywood wants it all white? Vallejo laughed recently. Well, guess what? We want it all brown.”



NHCC exhibit presents a transformative look at pop culture, religion, tradition, identity and more, Albuquerque Journal, by Adrian Gomez, NM, March 11, 2022

A Futuristic View with a Nostalgic Spin, Hyperallergic, April 18, 2022

‘Fronteras Del Futuro,’ an Exhibition That Rethinks Identity Through Pop Culture, BELatina, by Family Habib, April 18, 2022



Artists included: Laura Alvarez, Esteban Bojorquez, Nikesha Breeze, Angel Cabrales, Enrique Chagoya, Cynthia Cook, Celeste De Luna, April Garcia, Eric J. García, Felicia Rice, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Stevon Lucero, Gilbert “Magu” Luján, Ehren Kee Natay, Nicole Marroquin, Marion Martinez, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Tigre Mashaal-Lively, Patrick McGrath Muñiz, Mike Moreno, Oscar Moya, Rachel Muldez, Tony Ortega, Santiago Pérez, Augustine Romero, Ryan Singer, Máye Torres, Linda Vallejo



NHCCNM website Press release