LA FRONTERA: ARTISTS RESPOND TO THE U.S./MEXICO BORDER A CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION OPENS THURSDAY AT THE JCCSF – READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE CURATOR DAVID J. DE LA TORRE

THE JCCSF ANNOUNCES
LA FRONTERA:
ARTISTS RESPOND TO THE U.S./MEXICO BORDER
A CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION
Open April 22–September, 23, 2019

Reception on Thursday, April 25 | 6–8 P.M.

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The JCCSF announced the opening of LA FRONTERA: Artists Respond to the U.S./Mexico Border, a new exhibition in the Katz Snyder Gallery, April 22—September 23, 2019. LA FRONTERA will showcase the work of contemporary artists that explore themes of immigration, migration, detainment, and asylum. To accompany the exhibition, the JCCSF will offer a robust schedule of public programs, including gallery tours and talks.

Curated by David J. de la Torre, LA FRONTERA features over 60 artworks from 36 diverse artists from the United States and Mexico, from engaging contemporary art and media art to artifacts of migration and asylum stories. The exhibition is made possible by 19 lenders including the Consejo Grafico Nacional, Victor Cartagena, Juan R. Fuentes, and Matt Gonzalez. Read our interview with David J. de la Torre below:

How was the process of curating LA FRONTERA: Artists Respond to the U.S./Mexico Border?

 The process of curating the exhibition occurred over a 12-month period.  Organizing the show involved identifying and refining the theme of the project with my JCCSF colleagues, determining the scope of the project, establishing a budget, developing potential artist list, reviewing images, confirming object loans, making checklists and writing narratives and interpretive labels as well as transporting objects, designing layout and implementing installation with a professional crew.

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– Did curating this exhibition offer any particular challenges that you hadn’t faced before?

Because of the timely nature of this exhibition, particular challenges had to do with whether an artist had work that was already created and available or whether work was to be made for the show and would be ready to install before the opening date.  The controversial nature of the project was also challenging at times because issues of gun violence, detainment and humanitarian issues naturally surfaced.  How these contentious subjects are interpreted to general audiences, particularly children, can be challenging but there is a lot of experience in the field to help make these subjects meaningful to broad audiences.

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– Are there any particular artworks that you found more striking when you were curating the exhibition?

La Guia/The Guide (2014) by Texas artist Rigoberto A. Gonzalez is the most striking and significant piece in the exhibition.  This beautifully executed realistic oil on canvas painting has been shown previously at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of New Zealand, among other venues.  I am grateful to Matt Gonzalez (attorney, artist, poet, collector) for making this piece and other significant artworks available for loan.  

Also, Victor D. Cartagena’s work, especially his multi-media installation of Demonstration Sticks entitled Expulsion/Implosion(2018), 200 protest-like signs of anonymous Salvadorian immigrant faces, is very remarkable and an important statement providing a powerful story of asylum seekers and civil war.

– What is the main thing you’d like for people to get out of viewing LA FRONTERA: Artists Respond to the U.S./Mexico Border?

I’d like viewers of this exhibition to understand and appreciated the unique role that artists play in our society as drivers of innovation and creativity to help in solving challenging issues and for proposing solutions to resolve highly charged subject matter.  LA FRONTERA provides an opportunity to reflect on global turmoil, migration, and border issues while offering fresh viewpoints on human rights.

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– Is there anything else you’d like to share with my audience at Latino Edge?

 The Katz Snyder Gallery is located on the second floor of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (JCCSF) and is FREE to the public.  The hours of operation are:  Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday-Sunday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. For additional information, please visit jccsf.org/arts-ideas/gallery-collections-current-exhibits/

On Thursday, April 25, 6–8 p.m., the JCCSF will host a free, public reception for the exhibition featuring a meet-and-greet with the artists, as well as refreshments and hors d’oeuvres. The Katz Snyder Gallery at the JCCSF is open to the public.

 

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