Phoenix Museum, Fall 2021
curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, independent British/Venezuelan art historian and curator of modern and contemporary art, specializing in Latin American art.
with Gilbert Vacario, The Selig Family Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Phoenix Art Museum
and Marissa Del Toro, Curatorial Fellow at the Phoenix Art Musuem
The multidisciplinary exhibition Xican¬–a.o.x. Body focuses on the formative and hugely influential contributions to contemporary art of Chicanx* artists working in the United States from the 1970s to the present. This exhibition aims to add complexity to our understanding of Chicanx art and culture by exploring the conceptual and experimental nature of visual practices that foreground the body as the site in which imagination and political enunciation are articulated.
The central theme of Xican–a.o.x. Body is the artists’ use of the “brown body” to assert acts of political resistance against internationalist (Western European) and nationalist (mainstream “American”) cultural codes that categorize Chicanx as a marginal and secondary narrative associated with racist conceptions of a minority population that lacks contemporary art currency. Chicanx artists’ self-representation in their art affirms the uniqueness and relevance of their project and vision in contemporary art. By making the body an active element of resistance against institutionalization, the body is empowered beyond the limits of stereotypical identity definitions. This exhibition, like the art that comprises it, goes against the idea of the stereotype without refusing specificity. Included are artists whose practice dispels the misrepresentation and invisibility of Chicanxs who celebrate the specificity and creativity of decolonized political personas, and who are unapologetic in the self-representation of their selves and bodies. Xican–a.o.x. Body proposes to depart from the idea of a politicized body through different thematic confluences and artworks that range from self-representation to the collective body.
Xican–a.o.x. Body is a group exhibition comprised of 65 – 70 artists and more than 200 works of art. In a historical moment when current political discussions about Latinxs’ rights in the United States are clouded by the racist rhetoric of the political system, we need more than ever to promote Chicanx and Latinx art and culture and dispel misconceptions about these cultures. As the title indicates, this exhibition defies closed definitions of Chicanx art, reflecting its dynamic and ever-expanding complexity and incorporating artists who have developed their work in dialogue with Chicanx culture.