Thursday, January 01, 2009

Enrique Chagoya and the Mexicans

Two large traveling exhibits at the Palm Springs Art Museum were a fascinating contrast, with scores of Keith Haring drawings, paintings and prints on one side of the ground floor, and a show devoted to the work of the Mexican artist and Stanford professor Enrique Chagoya on the other.

Haring's work isn't aging very well and its stabs at political importance seem ridiculous, especially in contrast with Chagoya's wild mixture of pre-Columbian art, Mickey Mouse iconography, and Republican gargoyles from Reagan to Bush put into an expressionist blender.

He's my new favorite artist that I'd never heard of before, even though "Borderlandia" was displayed in Berkeley in the Spring of 2008. (The diorama above isn't by Chagoya but shares many of the same concerns.)

The Palm Springs Art Museum, which used to be filled with lots of dark nooks and crannies, has been opened up over the last year to open space and natural light and the changes look great.

There is a "Western Art" gallery on the ground floor with the gringo take on the American Southwest...

...and a gallery upstairs dedicated to the Latin American view of the same region.

It's particularly amusing to watch pre-columbian statues looking across the aisle... a wall of Rufino Tamayo paintings...

...and modernist prints from Guatemala City.

1 comment:

Nancy Ewart said...

I certainly agree with you on Haring but then, I've never been that much of a fan. To me, he's a one-trick pony. Chagoya however has been a favorite of mine for years - ever since I saw one of his scrolls at Gallery Paule Anglim. The marvelous and incongruous juxtaposition of images just delighted and fascinated me. I wish I had a fraction of his talent and imagination.