The Mistake Room at Anonymous Gallery for Condo, Mexico City, Mexico
Over the last five years, conversations about diversity within a host of cultural spheres in the United States have taken on a new sense of urgency. From film and television to the visual and performing arts, this emboldened public debate has instigated a push towards more equitable representation for historically marginalized people in creative industries. This push has manifested as producers of color create content for major networks, directors and their inclusive casts guide films to box office-shattering success, and museums stage exhibitions of works by artists too often left out of art history. In short, we are living through a moment when increased visibility seems to be proof of progress made. And yet, like similar times past, questions loom about the intentions and consequences of this urge to be seen.
Do the marked bodies that inhabit these pictures and stories also own them? Are they stakeholders and powerbrokers in the structures through which these images and narratives circulate? Do they benefit from the economies their distribution and mediation generate? A stubborn disconnect seems to remain between the heightened visibility afforded by an increase of institutional support and the notable absence of a similar rise in power. In the realm of contemporary art, this draws unsettling parallels to the brief embrace of multiculturalism during the 1980’s and the subsequent backlash that followed it. Conscious of promises previously broken, it seems urgent, and perhaps even necessary, to consider what the outcomes of our current embrace of inclusivity will be.
This exhibition is the first in a series of projects TMR will stage dedicated to expanding a more candid engagement with the practical complexities that accompany our institutional discourses of inclusion and representation. No Longer Yours takes contemporary art’s resurgent interest in the figure as a point of departure to begin to understand the strategies artists are mobilizing to resist the easy consumption of their work in intellectual and institutional spaces that have historically marginalized it. The show, part of the Mexico City edition of Condo, is a selling exhibition. Half of the proceeds of all sales will go directly to participating artists and the other half to TMR to support future projects like this one that aspire to restructure the relationship between institutions and artists so that risk, power, and resources are shared between both more equitably. Inspired by conversations with our collaborators, this iteration of the exhibition is a precursor to an expanded version of the show that will be presented at TMR’s Los Angeles space in Fall 2018.
For the artists included in this exhibition, visibility is highly suspect. Their works resist, evade, and undermine the legible body. Their figuration flees from any form of finality through the continuous accrual of marks, the formal privileging of moments of emergence, and a ceaselessly inventive obstruction of the identifiable. The result is a conscious and varied refusal of being-pictured that denies the social and economic compulsion towards accessibility. Instead, these artists create secret forms of value through a visual language of rejection, obstruction, and elusion that stymies the demand for stable representations of difference, but allows intimate knowledges to flourish. To a voracious public, they offer estranged and cryptic forms that resist consumption, deliberately reserving their corporeal histories, gestures, and traumas to themselves and reveling in the unknown pleasures of opacity.
Artists in exhibition: Eddie Aparicio, Susu Attar, Felipe Baeza, Aaron D. Estrada, Young Joon Kwak, Ofelia Marquez, Ronny Quevedo, Fay Ray, and Cosmo Whyte.
No Longer Yours is organized by The Mistake Room and curated by Cesar Garcia, TMR Executive & Artistic Director, Kris Kuramitsu, TMR Deputy Director & Head of Program, and Nicolas Orozco-Valdivia, TMR Assistant Curator.