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Institutional Critique That Makes You Chortle and Cry

Miguel Calderón, “Moribundo” (1999), set up, dimensions variable (all photographs courtesy Kurimanzutto and Museo Tamayo)

MEXICO CITY — Materia estética disponible, Miguel Calderón’s present present on the Museo Tamayo in Mexico Metropolis, is a perplexing survey of gritty works in set up, images, and video spanning 30 years. The works play with truth and fiction to make clear institutional critique and transgressions round class, violence, and corruption with humor and irony. Additionally they draw from La Panadería, another artwork house that Calderón, an outlier of types, ran with Yoshua Okón within the Nineties out of a former bakery in la Condesa. Throughout this era, Mexico Metropolis was reeling from the aftershocks of Zapatista uprisings, the peso disaster, financial hardship, and kidnappings.

What first caught my consideration was “Moribundo (1999), an enormous blue mural of a globe with the eponymous title scrawled throughout it in large, daring pink letters. It seems, in a witty play on phrases (a riff on a neighborhood mattress retailer referred to as Dormimundo), the artist was evoking the demise of the museum. As soon as I bought to see empleado del mes (1998), a collection of unassuming coloration pictures, the irony made sense to me. The cleaners are pictured reenacting scenes from classical work that had been quickly not on view on the Museo Nacional de Arte. These photographs felt like a parody of the space between “artwork establishments” and those that scrub them clear. Mockingly, Calderón just lately slammed the Tamayo in an open letter for not paying its custodians for months late final yr. 

The video El steadiness de las improbabilidades (2021) provides a glimpse into the lifetime of Pedro, an prosperous insurance coverage adjuster turned artwork collector who tries to flee the drudgery of his work by appearing in a violent play that takes an emotional toll on him. The stress between melodrama and the adversity of actual life is kind of disturbing. Ultimately, it’s the play that makes him disintegrate, not the true human price of corruption. Pedro, chilly and indifferent, tells it like it’s, ultimately going again to his outdated life.

Miguel Calderón, El steadiness de las improbabilidades (2021), video, coloration, audio, period: 46 minutes and 16 seconds

Materia estética disponible is macabre, and a bit tongue-in-cheek. Seeing how some US media has flattened Mexico into a spot of hazard is a far cry from Calderón’s brilliantly complicated visible landscapes of comedy and tragedy clamoring all of sudden. This survey’s flippant title reminds us that aesthetics, which may also be crude and random, are at all times there for us to see. Calderón lays naked what’s sinister and corrosive about life in Mexico Metropolis, together with his place inside it. So, we are able to select to face all this intelligent provocation head on or just look the opposite approach. 

Set up view of Miguel Calderón’s Materia estética disponible (Aesthetic Materials Accessible) at Museo Tamayo (2022) (picture by Gerardo Landa and Eduardo López (GLR Estudio))
Set up view of Miguel Calderón’s Materia estética disponible (Aesthetic Materials Accessible) at Museo Tamayo (2022) (picture by Gerardo Landa and Eduardo López (GLR Estudio))
Miguel Calderón, “Taxímetro” (2017), inkjet print, 26 inches x 19 inches (approx.)
Element of Miguel Calderón, “Taxímetro” (2017), inkjet print, 26 inches x 19 inches (approx.)

Materia estética disponible continues at Museo Tamayo (Paseo de la Reforma 51, Bosque de Chapultepec, Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico Metropolis, Mexico) by March 5. The exhibition was curated by Taiyana Pimentel, director of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey MARCO.

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