Walker Art Center

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Press Releases First Mid-Career Exhibition of Mexico City-Based Artist Abraham Cruzvillegas

Minneapolis, February 27, 2013—The Walker Art Center will present Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites, the first in-depth contextual exhibition of Abraham Cruzvillegas, one of the most important artists to come out of a burgeoning art scene in Mexico City. Informed by the sociopolitical contexts of Latin America, Cruzvillegas (b. 1968) has garnered much attention for his dynamic assemblage sculptures made of found objects. The exhibition will run from March 23 through September 22, 2013.

Since the 1990s, Cruzvillegas has developed a riveting body of work—including sculpture, installation, film/video, and theater—that derives from the social and economic realities of his hometown in Ajusco. While his work has been widely presented in Mexico and Europe, his exposure in the U.S. still remains limited. Organized by Walker Senior Curator for Visual Arts Clara Kim, this mid-career survey will focus on the last 10 years of his practice and will feature individual sculptures and expansive sculptural environments, as well as recent experiments in video, film, and performance. Following the Walker’s presentation, the exhibition will embark on an international tour to the Haus der Kunst in Munich from January 14th through May 4th, 2014 and the Jumex Foundation in Mexico City from October 9th 2014 through February 2nd, 2015 and Museo Amparo in Puebla who will jointly present the exhibition in Mexico from October 11th, 2014 through February 2nd, 2015.

Interested in what he calls autoconstrucción or “self-construction,” Cruzvillegas roots his practice within the urban landscape of his childhood home, where structures are in a constant state of change as materials become available and as necessity dictates. The conceptual framework and ideology of his dynamic sculptural work begins here. While echoing art historical precedents (Duchampian transformation of everyday objects, arte povera’s use of impoverished materials, and the uncanny compositions of assemblage), Cruzvillegas employs improvisation and alternate economic systems that privilege craft over art, the handmade over the manufactured, and processes that necessitate “making do” or learned, communal behavior. This point of departure becomes a model for a way of building out of scarcity and a metaphor for the construction of the artist’s own identity

Developed in close collaboration with the artist and culled from private and public collections in the U.S., Europe, and Mexico, the exhibition will include an important body of sculptures first exhibited at the 2003 Venice Biennale, in a section titled Everyday Altered curated by Gabriel Orozco; a series of sculptural installations created during a six-year period of residencies; and more recent experiments that expand his thinking on autoconstrucción through film (developed with a film cooperative), video (in which the artist’s parents narrate their own stories in the form of oral history), performance (collaborative musical and action-based theater), and a source material archive room. Shown together for the first time, the exhibition will illustrate Cruzvillegas’s contributions, and motivations and influences that inform his thinking, as well as his commitment to social and political realities that shape everyday lives.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Autoconstrucción: The Film—a 62-minute abstract portrait of Ajusco—will be screened in the Walker’s Lecture Room on the 2nd Saturday of every month at 4 pm, starting in May. Shot on location with non-professional actors, the film employs an unconventional narrative without dialogue that intertwines long static footage of Ajusco’s volcanic landscape with unscripted moments of intimacy and encounter. Cruzvillegas’ film uses the predictable, mechanistic structure of early pornographic films to build a non-linear story made up of fragments that collapse the past and present; the neighborhood’s history with its improvised reality. Additionally, in the summer of 2013, Cruzvillegas will collaborate with Minnesota bands to produce and perform original music to song lyrics written by the artist. These musical projects, performed in Glasgow and Oxford previously, operate as allegories of childhood memories.

A 240-page catalogue will be designed and published by the Walker’s award-winning Design Department. The publication will include commissioned texts by Patricia Falguières, French art historian and teacher at École des Haute études en sciences sociales in Paris, who will position Cruzvillegas’s practice within an art historical context of global conceptual movements, and Mexico City-based writers and curators including Sergio Gonzalez Rodriquez, Catalina Lozano, David Miranda and Veronica Gerber. The book also contains writings by Abraham Cruzvillegas as well as an introduction by Clara Kim that together will investigate the artist’s rich terrain of references, including film, music, literature, anthropology, and politics. A unique feature of the catalogue will be a section designed by the artist—a book within a book—that operates as a visual and textual atlas of Cruzvillegas’s vast field of knowledge and interests.

Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites is curated by Clara Kim, Senior Curator, Visual Arts, Walker Art Center

Clara Kim is Senior Curator of Visual Arts at the Walker Art Center where she is charged with overseeing the programmatic and administrative functions of the Walker’s Visual Arts Department. From 2003–2011 she organized residencies, commissions, exhibitions, and publications with global contemporary artists and architects as the gallery director/curator of the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles. In 2009, she worked with Cruzvillegas on his first film project Autoconstrucción as well as a monograph of his work published by REDCAT. Kim was co-curator of the international biennial Media City Seoul 2010 and organized an international conference on independent spaces called State of Independence: A Global Forum on Alternative Practice in 2011. She holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley and M.A. from University of Chicago.


Teen Art Lounge with Abraham Cruzvillegas
Thursday, March 21, 5–8 pm FREE

Thursday, March 21, 5–8 pm FREE The artists will host this monthly night for young artists to hang out, meet other artists and teens, and learn about Cruzvillegas’ working process. Intended for ages 13 to 18, activities are drop-in and occur every third Thursday of the month. Gallery admission is always free to teens, thanks to Wells Faro. For details, visit facebook.com/walkerteens.

Walker After Hours: Under Construction
Friday, March 22, 9 pm–12 midnight $30 ($20 Walker member) Celebrate the opening of Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites and get a first look at the work done by one of the most acclaimed artists from Mexico’s vibrant contemporary scene. This After Hours party features music by Afro-Cuban hot group Malamanya, a digital playground by Playatta, and small bites and cocktails by Modern Events by D’Amico. New members receive a free party ticket (or other premiums) for joining.

Opening Day Talk: Abraham Cruzvillegas
Saturday, March 23, 2 pm $10 ($8 Walker members) Join Abraham Cruzvillegas and exhibition curator Clara Kim for a conversation about autoconstrucción, the artist’s practice of giving new life to everyday materials and found objects. More than a method technique, he calls it “a way of thinking—a way of life.” Expect interludes of music ranging from the artist’s own songs to punk at this special event held in conjunction with the opening of Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites, a major survey of one of the most acclaimed artists from Mexico’s vibrant contemporary scene.

$12 adults; $10 seniors (65+); $8 students (with ID)
Free to Walker members and children ages 18 and under.
Free with a paid event ticket within one week of performance or screening.
Free to all every Thursday evening (5–9 pm) and on the first Saturday of each month (10 am–5 pm).


Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites is organized by the Walker Art Center.

Major support for the exhibition is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is generously provided by Nelly and Moisés Cosío Espinosa, the Rose Francis Foundation, Gabriela and Ramiro Garza, Eugenio Lopez, Leni and David Moore, Jr., Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney, and Marge and Irv Weiser.

The exhibition catalogue is made possible with generous support from Isabel and Agustín Coppel and a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of Walker Art Center publications.

Abraham Cruzvillegas, La Polar, 2003

Courtesy: The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Latin American and Caribbean Fund and The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art