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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | Art Talk 

25 Years of El Nopal Press & My Favorite Comic at OPC

January 14, 2015

Located at Juarez #598 in El Centro, Oficina de Proyectos Culturales is an independent non-profit arts organization dedicated to fostering dialogue through exhibitions, public art and arts education programs.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Oficina de Proyectos Culturales is proud to present the contemporary arts exhibition, Impressions of transfrontier / Connecting lines: 25 years of El Nopal Press, curated by Mariana Botey.

The El Nopal Press workshop, which artist Francesco X Siqueiros founded in 1990 in Los Angeles, has led to an artistic dialogue between Mexican artists, Americans, and Chicanos. Hence, the exhibition presents works of John Baldessari, Dr. Lakra, Silvia Gruner, Daniel J. Martinez, Ruben Ortiz Torres, Vicente Razo, Daniela Rosell, Laureana Toledo, Eloy Tarcisio, Alberto Tovalín and Yishai Jusidman among the 35 artists represented in the exhibition.

Among the independent publishers of fine arts, guided by the spirit of collaboration between the artist and the company, El Nopal Press is distinguished by its focus on the work of artists exploring the complex border issues and cultural relations between Mexico and the United States.

More specifically, the ideas brought forward through the work of the publishing house, having more to do with a conversation regarding the idea of the border rather than its physical manifestation as a cartographic phenomenon, economic and social barrier or penetrable limit.

As participants in an alternative dialogue that extends far beyond the creative mainstream, El Nopal artists have come to revive and expand the complex intercultural exchange between the two countries. In fact, the images produced by El Nopal are key elements in this speech, and numbered among its features, those representations that speak through images rather than words.

In 1990, at the time of the institution of El Nopal Press in Los Angeles, this two-way conversation of contemporary art was just beginning. The few programs that existed tended to emphasize on government agendas or cultural differences at the expense of a deeper change, and there was little or no precedent for the development of a cooperative model. If artists from Mexico City seemed less concerned with issues of cultural identity, others north of the border, particularly Chicano artists from Los Angeles, were characterized as provincial and appropriationists.

Despite instances of shared ancestry, language and cultural barriers remained. After several years of travel and research, the founder of El Nopal Press, Francesco Siqueiros, an artist and teacher of printing, intimately familiar with the art worlds of Los Angeles and Mexico City, joined these two worlds.

While the history of El Nopal is closely identified with Mexican and Chicano artists, their main effort is the production of art that somehow incorporates the border as an idea. Prints produced by artists, executed as lithographs, woodcuts, etchings and combinations of these processes, express considerations ranging from social and ethical issues, to matters of identity.

Artists:

Kevin Appel • Judi Baca • John Baldessari • Mariana Botey • Carolyn Castańo • Yreina Cervantez • York Chang • Joe David • Victor Estrada • Espectro Rojo • Salomon Huerta
• Diane Gamboa • Harry Gamboa, Jr. • Gronk • Silvia Gruner • Cameron Jamie • Glen Kaino
• Dr. Lakra • Daniel Joseph Martinez • Lino Martinez • Eamon Ore-Giron • Sandra de la Loza
• Rocio Maldonado • Jose Montoya • Mario Rangel Faz • Rubén Ortiz Torres • Renee Petropoulous • Vicente Razo • Daniela Rossell • Analia Saban • Eloy Tarcisio • Laureana Toledo • John Valadez • German Venegas • Yishai Jusidman

In addition, there are 14 graphic works by Francesco X Siqueiros from a portfolio, titled Phantasmagoria ("My Favorite Comics.") The graphic work acquires meaning as it is produced and processed assuming the task of spreading the concept as a historical document. This graphic project was produced using experimental lithography as a means of reproduction, creating textures, using deliberate and arbitrary methodology to make sense of the metaphorical richness of comedy.

Comics presented in the portfolio come from the tradition of Theater Marquee, the radical, abject and irreverent humor that responds to the failure of modernity and at the same time ironically, through the distribution of film and television, takes part of the political power and its social control mechanisms.

Chapter I of the portfolio includes the following comics:

Mario Moreno - Cantinflas
Gaspar Henaine Peréz - Capulina
Antonio Espino Mora - Clavillaso
Xavier López Rodriguez - Chabelo
Manuel Valdés - Loco Valdés
Adalberto Martinez - Resortes
German Valdés - Tin Tan

Impressions of transfrontier / Connecting lines: 25 years of El Nopal Press will travel to the Ex -Convento del Carmen in Guadalajara; the Institute of Graphic Arts of Oaxaca; and finally to Los Angeles. Oficina de Proyectos Culturales would like to acknowledge the support from the Vallarta Institute of Culture and the Ministry of Culture of Jalisco.

A second part of the exhibition will open on January 27, with an exhibition by La Raya Gráfica. Curators: Dra. Mariana Botey and Francesco X Siqueiros

Mariana Botey is an art historian, curator and artist born in Mexico City. She received her PhD. in Visual Studies from the University of California, Irvine and is an Associate Professor at UCSD. Her book, Disturbance Zones: Spectres of Indigenous Mexico in Modernity, has just been published by Siglo XXI Editores.

Since 2009 she became a founding member of the editorial and curatorial committee of The Red Specter, and since 2011 of Critical Zone, an editorial collection in collaboration with Siglo XXI Editores, UNAM and UAM. Mariana lives and works in San Diego and Mexico City.

Francesco X Siqueiros is an artist and educator. He has over 20 years of experience, teaching printmaking and drawing at various universities and schools like the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Southern California; Otis College of Art and Design; California State University at Northridge; and the Art Center College of Design. In 1990 Siqueiros founded El Nopal Press, a publisher of limited edition art. He has printed and collaborated with diverse artists such as John Baldessari. Ed Ruscha, Lari Pittman, John Valadez, and Lita Albuquerque, among others. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Paris, Sorbonne.

OPC would like to thank the Barlow Family for the generous use of the building.

About OPC

Located at Juarez #598, at the corner of Aldama in downtown Puerto Vallarta, Oficina de Proyectos Culturales (Office for Cultural Projects, or OPC) is an independent non-profit arts organization dedicated to fostering dialogue through exhibitions, round table discussions, public art and arts education programs. OPC works with artists, architects, curators, academics, and writers who explore ideas that shape our city and to develop cultural programming that is firmly rooted in Puerto Vallarta, yet international in scope.