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 L Gallery
Thursday, August 25 - Friday, December 9, 2022


(RE)CONTEXT brings together ten contemporary artists who integrate words and text into their artistic practice. Through diverse media, words are recontextualized and reappropriated, creating a visual narrative that challenges the relationships between art, objects, advertising, media, and history. Seen together, these works form a dialogue that address themes such as identity, immigration, and popular culture, creating a message that is socially and politically relevant.

Gabriella Sanchez, Notes To Self, 2021
Kennedy Prints
Patrick Martinez, Civil Disobedience (Thoreau), 2020

Works by New York-based artist Hank Willis Thomas feature lenticular optical-illusion text where depending on where the viewer stands – or their point of view – the message and the meaning changes, blurring lines and creating multiple interpretations. In this series, Thomas states he uses “Text as pendulums where, what they mean, what they’re saying can switch right before our eyes.” 

In two commissions for this exhibition, Mexico City-based rotulista Alina Kiliwa paints large-scale signage on canvas for the Rubin Center Atrium. Here, Kiliwa brings the colorful, and bold signs, messages, and wordplay found in the streets - indoors. Currently, in Mexico City these iconic hand-painted signs are being whitewashed and erased, with government officials stating “No es Arte.” Yet these artistic expressions and announcements have played a part of the social identity, street landscapes, and popular culture of Mexico for generations. Kiliwa’s hand painted signs are an act of resistance and protest.




(RE)CONTEXT features: Diagonal Press, Jeffrey Gibson, Alina Kiliwa, Kennedy Prints, Nery Gabriel Lemus, Patrick Martinez, Gabriella Sanchez, Felandus Thames, Hank Willis Thomas, and Jose Villalobos. The exhibition was curated by Rubin Center Community Curator, Ramon Cardenas.