Skip to main content

Claiming Space: Mexican Americans in U.S. Cities

Rubin and L Galleries
September 4 - December 13, 2008

 Co-curated by Kate Bonansinga and Mónica Ramírez-Montagut



Claiming Space introduced several visual artists of Mexican descent now living in U.S. cities as examples of how urban dwellers claim, mark and record their place in the world. Most of the artwork was commissioned and site-specific - created inside, on the facade of, and around the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

The exhibition included five internationally known artists who create architectural-scale paintings or sculpture or engage in performances that respond in non-traditional aesthetics to the generalized urban environment, either its buildings or its neglected spaces. Two of them, immigrants themselves, (Rafael Vargas-Suarez Universal, Julio Cesar Morales), read the urban environment as a static structure that comes to life through the spontaneity of migratory activity. The other three are from immigrant families (Nicola Lopez, Leo Villareal  and Noah Mac Donald) and, albeit engaging the urban setting as their testing field for unpredictability and random systems, make no specific reference to their ancestors' situation. Exhibition funded in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department.