During January and February, the George Adams Gallery will exhibit new works by Enrique Chagoya. The exhibition, The Thing Itself, takes its title from one of the large-scale paintings in the exhibition, and focuses on images representing aspects of different cultures, including those of well-known personalities as well as stereotypes. The exhibition includes 6 new canvasses, a new “codex” as well as Chagoya’s latest reworking of Goya graphics.
For example, the large canvas titled “The Thing Itself” features a portion of the head of Joseph Bueys, sporting his trademark Fedora floating at sea; adjacent is an “island” constructed of images of miscellaneous cartoon figures, including a soldier, Superman, a cowboy, a Lichtenstein-esque blonde, and a turbaned figure. Arising from out of the pile is an outsized arm holding a knife , which on closer inspection, turns out to be wielded by a Pre-Columbian figure.
There are two codex drawings included in the exhibition. “Codex Finalis Cronos,” a rare square version that updates the traditional codex symbology with the inclusion of, for example, a drone, an oil well, a nuclear power plant, and “Rat Fink.” “Dystopian Cannibals,” takes Chagoya’s traditional extended horizontal format but is divided in half, one representing day-time, the other night, and presents many recognizable figures, including president Obama on one or the other side of the border fence.
Enrique Chagoya was born in Mexico City in 1953. He lives in San Franciso, and is a professor of Fine Arts at Stanford University. He was recently the subject of a large traveling retrospective exhibition organized by the Des Moines Art Center (“Borderlandia”) and is currently the subject of a career survey organized by Artium in Vitoria, Spain (catalogue to be available). The Jacob Gallery at Wayne State University will host an exhibition of Chagoya’s prints and drawings in the fall of this year. His work is included in the collection of the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hammer, the LA County Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. The present exhibition is Chagoya’s sixth with the gallery since 2000.