The wide-ranging contributions of artists throughout Latin America are highlighted in several spectacular exhibitions opening this fall, from Pop Art to contemporary performance. Some, such as DePaul’s group exhibition “Remember Where You Are,” draw attention to the complex narratives of acculturation and migration in poignant but pressing ways.
In this first exhibition to bring together Latin American expressions of Pop Art, the Block Museum situates the movement in an international context while complicating our understanding of what inspired these artists. Nearly a hundred works from North, Central and South American artists are on display, including pieces from powerhouses such as Marisol, Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana. Opening September 21, the exhibition shows how Pop artists used the language and tools of advertising to critique politics, gender and the rise of globalization and capitalism.
The overlooked detritus and commonplace materials of the urban landscape form the basis of this two-person exhibition at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, on view after a stint at the Chicago Cultural Center. Puerto Rican native Edra Soto and Yhelena Hall, originally from Ukraine, come from vastly different cultures, but each uses their experience of city life to explore the elements that make up a neighborhood. Soto uses architecture motifs from her home country in an installation that asks the viewer to reflect on memory and placemaking, while Hall uses urban artifacts that signify remnants of Chicago history.
The DePaul Art Museum brings together four emerging artists, based in Chicago or San Antonio, each of whom explores narratives around personal heritage and whose stories get told and whose get erased. As part of his contribution, Texas artist Jimmy James Canales will document a twenty-seven-mile walk across the city, gathering materials along the way to be installed in the museum. Local multidisciplinary artist Melissa Leandro works on a more personal level, using digital and traditional weaving techniques as a thread relating to her experience as the daughter of a domestic worker.
Works by three artists plumb the complex experiences of migration from Latin America. Nohemí Pérez’s “Panorama Catatumbo” consists of lush paintings depicting a Colombian jungle that juxtapose the beauty of the landscape with harsh sociopolitical struggles. In the Noe Martinez video work, “Las cosas vividas antes de nacer (The Lived Things Before Being Born),” the artist records his parents, born in an indigenous community in Mexico that they were later forced to vacate, returning to their homeland and attempting to recover the memories they left behind. (Kerry Cardoza)