For the past two months, you’ve been installing a new exhibition every week in Galería La Esperanza. Why this format?
It was a “take a shit or get off the toilet” situation. I’ve been an artist working in Mexico City since 2009, and there was a backlog of material I wanted to share with a larger audience. Galería La Esperanza gave me the opportunity to mount a large exhibition in a tiny space over time. A much needed squeezing-out.
And the name “Terms”?
It’s a cute word that encompasses how we mark time and define ourselves.
You don’t really have an exhibition resume to speak of…
Not at all! I love not having an art career, and it might never materialize. I don’t care. I’ve worked so many interesting jobs in education, food, and with photography. My creative explorations always exist outside of practical concerns, and I think that’s how I work best.
How do you usually share your work?
Good question. Some of it never sees the light of day, thank god. I think carefully about who the audience is for a given project and try to find the most appropriate context for the work. Some of my best photography, for example, circulates only in a specific nightlife community. You’ll never see it! The punto de reunión [meeting point] hats and DVDs also move around in an informal and underground setting. It’s important for me to share work in a way that’s an organic extension of the creative process.
You’ve developed a distinct way of photographing Mexico City’s skyline. How did you arrive at this style?
I’m from San Francisco, California. You can get a sense of the geography, scale, and scope of the city in a few glances. What perplexes me about Mexico City is that it can’t be represented by a few iconic photographs. I feel like individuals have to build their own visual identity of the city, from the inside out. When I was running all over town as an English teacher, I began to see the buildings reflect my experience as a pedestrian. I found these dense and de-centralized compositions where static elements hold tension and movement like a knot.
Why did you fill the window with old El Gráfico covers?
When I first moved here, I was scandalized by the graphic imagery of the newsstands. My eye went straight to El Gráfico, so I decided to buy it every time it caught my attention. After a few years, I barely noticed the boobs, blood, and gore. It was an experiment that helped me understand the effectiveness and limitations of printed photographs. With exposure, provocative imagery loses its power. I made some other prints using sunlight based on this collection.
Tell me about #MATERIALARTFAIRSOWHITE, and why did you scratch it out?
It was kind of an offline exercise about online discourse, and how deleting a tweet or status update doesn't make the idea go away. Once it's out there, it's out there. And for me, raising the issue of diversity in contemporary art as it relates to our local scene can be an uncomfortable topic, but one worth exploring. I scratched it out because the tone didn't feel right, and I immediately regretted putting that energy into the world.
What were you trying to get at?
I was proud to see the first edition of Material Art Fair in 2014. It came first and foremost from the vision and tireless work of the fair's organizers, and it was also born out of a fertile moment from an emerging creative community in Mexico. The fair served as this snapshot of a fresh, local scene. The faintest whisper of an apartment gallery got a booth. The Fulbright scholars got a booth. I adored what Kimberlee Cordova presented with Bikini Wax. It was exhilarating to see what your peers are creating all in one place, and the Material team made it happen. The next year-
Can you wrap it up?
OK. The next year, as the event drew more international interest, not as many local spaces were included in the mix. Visitors kept asking me, “Where are the Mexican artists?" I told people to check out Yautepec's booth -which was fantastic. And the most recent edition felt even less relevant to the city. The vibe was more Bushwick-comes-to-town (plus the usual international art fair carnies). I understand that there are economic pressures, but the event seemed to lose touch with where it came from rather quickly. I wonder if the fair's organizers would ever consider including a juried or curated section to showcase the local talent. What do you think?
It's just an art fair.