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[Read all five “Icons” profiles from ARTnews’s Spring 2018 issue, featuring Dara BirnbaumArthur Jafa, Amalia Mesa-BainsFred Moten, and Cady Noland.]

On her way to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University one day in the fall of 1993 to assemble her large installation piece, Vanitas: Evidence, Ruin and Regeneration, in the exhibition “Revelaciones/Revelations: Hispanic Art of Evanescence,” Amalia Mesa-Bains thought about her plan for the piece. She had already arranged to incorporate objects from the museum’s collection, including Teotihuacán artifacts and a 17th-century painting by Dutch artist David Bailly, Vanitas with Negro Boy, which shows a young black boy, probably a slave, standing next to a tabletop on which are heaped his master’s treasures, among them a human skull. She planned to frame the Bailly painting in lengths of green satin tacked to the wall to look like stage curtains, and place a telescope next to it. An adjacent wall would hold an ofrenda—a temporary traditional Mexican altar for Day of the Dead—that she had made in honor of César Chávez, who had died earlier that year, as well as a glass case filled with the Teotihuacán artifacts. On the floor between the vanitas painting and the ofrenda, she would set a veterinarian’s autopsy table holding numerous objects including a microscope, a globe, glass bottles, and a human skull that would echo the one in the painting.

When Mesa-Bains arrived at the museum to begin installing, she learned that she would no longer be able to use the original Bailly painting, but would be given a to-scale reproduction. She was told that the museum director was concerned that her recontextualization of the European masterpiece would “undermine the integrity of the object.” Mesa-Bains installed her artwork as she’d planned, using the reproduction, but she wrote the director’s words of explanation on the wall directly beneath it. “I just feel like museums need to be slapped around from time to time,” she said recently, beginning to laugh, “because that was without a doubt one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen.”

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The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility

Exhibition Dates: January 27 - April 14, 2018
Curated by Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims & Ana Elena Mallet

featuring work by Prof. Dionicio Mendoza

For Digital Program Guide click here
For US - Mexico Border Essay in English click here

For US - Mexico Border Essay in Spanish click here

516 ARTS
516 Central Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Place, Imagination, and

01/27/2018 - 04/14/2018

516 ARTS and the Albuquerque Museum present The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility co-curated by Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims and Ana Elena Mallet. The exhibition presents the work of contemporary artists who explore the border as a physical reality (place), as a subject (imagination), and as a site for production and solution (possibility). The inclusion of artists from various disciplines —including design, architecture, sculpture, painting, and photography—reflects the ways in which contemporary artists and designers themselves cross disciplinary borders. Many of the artists featured in the exhibition pursue a creative problem-solving process sometimes described as “design thinking,” which involves invention, social engagement, and the task of making.

Download the press release here

Artist as Teachers

2/24/2018 - 04/08/2018

Artists as Teachers features artist-educators of Monterey County’s accredited fine art photography programs. Participants include Kevin Bransfield, Martha Casanave, Celia Lara and Greg Mettler of Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey; Claire Lerner of Santa Catalina School, Monterey; Angelica Muro of California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside; Lesha Rodriguez, Dina Ropele Santos, Nancy Sevier and Trish Sullivan of Hartnell College, Salinas; and Cole Thompson of Stevenson School, Pebble Beach. Many of these educators are also regularly exhibiting photographers, whose work is collected by various private and public institutions. This important group of artists also have the challenging task of sharing with their students the Monterey Peninsula’s widely recognized photographic legacy, while also illuminating the latest trends in twenty-first century image making.

Center for Photographic Art

San Carlos and 9th , Carmel, CA 93921 

+ Google Map

Phone: 831 625-5181 Website:

Opening Reception: February 24, 2018,


Exhibition Dates: Feb. 24-April 8, 2018

Artists’ Roundtable in Carpenter Hall: February 24, 2018, 4-5 pm, reception to follow in the CPA gallery. A catalog will be available for purchase on site and online.

Roundtable and Reception are Free & Open to the public!

In Addition: CpFA will be offering print review nights for students on most Thursday evenings throughout the run of this exhibition (March 1, March 15, March 29 and April 5, 2018).

Melting Point

1/11/2018 - 02/10/2018

Melting Point
Exhibition Dates: 

January 11 – February 10, 2018

As things heat up they eventually reach a point of paradigm shift: the MELTING POINT. Curated by Nick Dong & Johanna Poethig, participating artists respond to this shift in multiple ways: as a metaphor for climate change; global politics; sexual abuse; love and emotion; construction of boundaries; racism; merging of cultures that fuse into new diverse forms; archaeological layers; and art that literally melts. In the spirit of exploration and experimentation, this exhibition includes installation, painting, sculpture, video and performance.

Mercury 20 Gallery | 475 25th Street, Oakland CA 94612 | 510-701-4620 |

Thurs. - Sat. 12 - 6pm. First Friday 6-9pm

Process in Progress: New Mixed Media Works by Dionicio Mendoza

12/12/2017 - 02/4/2018

PROCESS IN PROGRESS: New Mixed Media Works and Works in Progress by Dionicio Mendoza

Monterey Museum of Art
559 Pacific Street

Monterey, CA 93940

Exhibition Dates: December 22, 2017 to February 4, 2018

Opening Reception: January 5, 2018, 

5:30-7:30 pm

“Process in Progress” includes drawings, sculptures and installations that invites the public to experience a glimpse into the artist’s studio practice, a behind-the-scenes look into the artist’s process of making art.

The main impetus of the project is to present a body of work in its various stages of completion, allowing the public to consider the following questions:

  1. When is artwork considered complete and ready to exhibit?

  2. What are the influences that dictate, inspire or inform a body of work?

  3. What role does the alchemy of materials play when creating art?

  4. How is the process of experimentation a major contributing factor for generating new art techniques and ideas?


Call and Response is a collaborative component of this exhibition that features multi-media artworks between Dionicio Mendoza and various local artists. Participating artists include Sean Boyles, Normi Burke, Amy Diaz-Infante,  Juan Luna-Avin, Angelica Muro, Prole Arts Collective,  and Paul Seftel.

Champions of the Arts Gala
honoring Prof. Angelica Muro 2018 Educator


Chafismo: An Introduction to New Forms of Art

02/04/2017 – 03/12/2017

Curated by Angelica Muro and Hector Dionicio Mendoza 


This exhibition re-examines social based-phantom culture by sampling and appropriating sources linked to both high and low culture through the use of materials that convey socio-economic and political factors including class, race, gender, and sexuality. Chafismo highlights work that expands the current dialogue surrounding the complexity within chicanx art practices. this often means artists giving a critical voice to theoretical paradigms that frame arte y cultura as issues that should be expanding our understanding of positionality, value, and worth. Chafismo, a new approach and visual language, questions established tenets by probing the conventionality of what is considered broken, irreverent, or complacent.

Songs for Women Living with War/ Bahay ni Lola 

10/08/2016 – 11/12/2016

Songs for Women Living With War / Bahay ni Lola/ House of the Grandmothers 

Artist Johanna Poethig is the curator of a “Living Memorial” and anti-war monument to open at Pro Arts in the form of an installation and series of public workshops, presentations, performances and discussions, entitled “Songs for Women Living with War.” This is the second iteration of “Songs for Women Living with War.”


Three academic departments at Cal State Monterey Bay joined forces in Spring 2016 to present “Songs for Women Living with War,” a series of public art installations, performances and discussions. Events at Cal State Monterey Bay included Claudia Bernardi who works in the fields of art, human rights and social justice, Gwyn Kirk (Women for Genuine Security), Deborah Pembrook (Coalition to End Human Trafficking) and Lila Ramos Shahani, former Assistant Secretary head of communications of the Human Development and Poverty Cabinet Cluster of the Republic of the Philippines and Spokesperson against Human Trafficking.

“I picked this theme because there are so many public memorials that commemorate wars, victors – primarily men. Though women suffer so much in conflict, there are hardly any public sites that acknowledge this,” said artist and curator Johanna Poethig.

“Songs of Women Living with War” installation and anti-war memorial on view at Pro Arts consists of three walls forming an open house structure, which incorporates elements from the traditional architecture and materials used to build Philippine’s nipahuts.  The central wall spells out Songs for Women Living With War.  The woven textile wall, based on banig or mat designs is draped with the words of war accounts collected from multiples sources. The third wall comes alive with the sound of voices, stories and songs, collected from Lolas (Pilipino for Grandmother) and from past events that took place during the first iteration of “Songs with Women Living with War” at the Visual and Public Art Department, CSU, Monterey Bay in Spring 2016.

“Songs for Women Living with War” project is created in conjunction with the Visual and Public Art program at CSU, Monterey Bay. With special acknowledgment of VPA alumni John Elliott, Elgene Tumacder and Roxana Keland, and VPA faculty Angelica Muro, Dionicio Mendoza and Stephanie Johnson.

“Songs for Women Living with War” at Pro Arts is made possible in part with funds by the City of Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program, the Clorox Company Foundation, the W & F Hewlett Foundation,  the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the Fleishhacker Foundation.

Caprichos Anatomicos 

09/04/2015 – 09/20/2015

Caprichos Anatomicos is about retaining the values inherent within a medium while staying true to the diversity of options that allow for risk-taking. The artists in this exhibition see abstraction as experimental–referential, fragmented, and often complicated by the responsibilities inherent within methods and materials. Abstraction is rooted in reduction and reinterpretation. The irony is that the reductive and experimental qualities of the medium complicate things, and the process is often what’s intriguing for the artists. Caprichos Anatomicos (Anatomical Caprice) references obsession through sudden unaccountable changes in mood or behavior.  Through abstraction, the artist is dissecting and analyzing by emphasizing one obsession–a word, an image, a gesture. The abstraction becomes the complexity and the system, and by erasing what we don’t need, we find what we want. 

Curated by VPA faculty Angelica Muro and Juan Luna-Avin

Botanica Poetica

09/25/2015 - 01/31/2016

Home to formal gardens, oak and redwood forests, and various exotic plantings, Montalvo's horticultural diversity serves as inspiration for a series of new works created by Lucas Artist Fellows Kija LucasMonica LundyHector Dionicio Mendoza, and Fieldworks Collaborative(Trena Noval and Ann Wettrich). 

Identifying, collecting, and documenting varied specimens of plant life discovered while exploring Montalvo's 175-acre public park, these artists have adopted creative processes that resemble the activities of the backyard naturalist. Through sculpture, painting, photography, and works on paper, viewers are invited to reflect on the ill-defined boundary between the natural and unnatural, and the intimate entanglement between human history and the landscapes that surround us. 

The works created for Botanica Poetica recall and critique the pictorial conventions of botanical illustration, plein air painting, and the herbarium—as well as earlier antecedents like theWunderkammer and botanical photography. Seen together, these  works critically explore the ways in which natural and cultural ecologies and discourses intersect, overlap, and sometimes collide. 
​

Empire Seven Studios, San Jose, CA. 

Opening Reception: February 12, 2016, 7-9pm

The Club Lido project examines the impact of Asian and Latino cultures. Although San Jose, CA is home to a large Mexican and Vietnamese demographic, these two cultural groups rarely come together. Collaborating artists Juan Luna-Avin & Angelica Muro propose a narrative where these two cultures intersect in both a fictional space as well as a real location, an entertainment venue in downtown San Jose called Lido Night Club. The cultural balance at this venue teeters between a downstairs Mexican cantina and an upstairs Vietnamese dance club. Luna-Avin & Muro look at the cultural similarities of these two immigrant groups through the lens of this unique dance club and bar through sculpture, drawing, and video.

Since 2006, artists Juan Luna-Avin and Angelica Muro have collaborated on various inter-disciplinary projects that revolves around the cult of personality in pop culture through fictitious characters, sub-cultures, urban myths, and legends.

Sacred Cartographies: 
The Art of Amalia Mesa-Bains

11/2/2015 - 12/20/2015 

Galería de la Raza , San Francisco

Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Nov 2 \\ 8PM

The mixed-media work of artist, psychologist, curator, and professor Amalia Mesa-Bains has been informed by a lifetime dedicated to research and the creative arts. Through an exploration of ancient and contemporary histories, Mesa-Bains traces how the past informs the present. Inspired by extensive study of the mythical Mictlan to the visual legacy of Nigeria, the artist has produced a series of rarely seen prints, which layer visual narratives of people and places as well as cultures and histories.   While Amalia Mesa-Bains works in a variety of mediums, she is perhaps best-known for her intricate, contemporary interpretations of traditional sacred forms of altar, ofrenda, descanso and capilla. For this exhibition, Mesa-Bains has recreated the installation Borders: Emblems of the Decade, first exhibited at The Decade Show: Frameworks of Identity in the 1980s, and made in collaboration with the late Mexican curator and scholar,  Victor Zamudio Taylor. Here, Borders, as a large-scale ofrenda, is now dedicated to the life and death of Zamudio Taylor. Drawing parallels between historical and contemporary issues in art and culture formed the foundation of Zamudio Taylor’s life’s work, and in this exhibition, we find the same dedication reflected through the art of Amalia Mesa-Bains.

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