NHCC exhibit presents a transformative look at pop culture, religion, tradition, identity and more - Albuquerque Journal

NHCC exhibit presents a transformative look at pop culture, religion, tradition, identity and more

“Super Hombre (2015),” Tony Ortega, lithograph. 15×20 inches. (Courtesy of Tony Ortega)

There are many ways to how humans imagine alternative possibilities.

Plenty of examples will be front and center as “Fronteras del Futuro: Art in New Mexico and Beyond” opens at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum on Friday, March 11.

An opening reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. The exhibit will run through December.

“It’s an exhibition inspired by the genres of speculative fiction,” says Jadira Gurulé, NHCC art museum & visual arts program manager. “It’s looking at folklore, futurism and everything in between.”

Gurulé says the exhibit features artworks that explore the intersections of art, science, technologies (both ancient and modern), cosmic-musings, future-oriented visions and more.

It engages with themes that are relevant in New Mexico (and beyond) with contributions from artists in New Mexico, across the nation, and internationally.

“Rainbow Flavor (2021),” Ryan Singer, acrylic on canvas. 16×20 inches. Collection of Chris and Kimberley Burchard. (Courtesy of Ryan Singer)

Gurulé says the expansive genre of speculative fiction which includes science fiction, fantasy, cosmology, futurism, horror, mythology, folklore and more are all points of inspiration. The artworks are created with a range of materials presenting transformative ideas on pop culture, religion, tradition, the environment, labor, history, identity, and the ways in which our pasts, presents and futures are deeply intertwined, she says. “Each artist’s work contributes to ongoing discussions about the liberatory potential of art and speculation in cultural criticism, disrupting the status quo, and imagining alternative ways of being, living, loving, and thriving,” she says.

There are 63 pieces of art from 31 artists in the exhibit.

Gurulé also overcame many challenges in curating the exhibit. With the pandemic having a hold on the whole world, she pivoted by conducting studio visits via Zoom.

“As I engaged with each artist that I came in contact with, they would create this whole new angle within their art,” she says. “It’s been a fulfilling and exploratory process in planning.

“Corazon Santo X (2014),” Marion Martinez, computer circuit boards, copper, resisters, CD. 11.25x8x.5 inches. (Courtesy of Marion Martinez)

“In planning it was interesting because there had to be a lot of trust built up between me and the artist. I had to prove to them that I was trustworthy with the direction of the exhibit. I also had to trust in their work since I wasn’t seeing it in person at the time.”

Gurulé says when visiting the museum to view the exhibit, make extra time to sit with each piece for a few moments.

“Many of the artists shared their thoughts in their object labels,” she says. “That’s where the meat of the story comes out. It’s one thing to come and just look. There’s a whole other takeaway when you take the time to bond with the piece.”

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