25 years of El Nopal Press open in Puerto Vallarta

Oficina de Proyectos Culturales is proud to present the contemporary art exhibition *Impressions of transfrontier /Connecting lines:  25 years of El Nopal Press*, curated by Mariana Botey, opening January 13th, 6PM until 9PM and continuing until March 5.

The El Nopal Press workshop, founded by artist Francesco X Siqueiros in 1990 in Los Angeles, has led a 25-year artistic dialogue between Mexican, American, and Chicano artists. The exhibition presents works by well-known artists from both sides of the border, including 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; they are among the 35 artists represented in the exhibition.

Among independent fine arts presses guided by the collaborative spirit of artist and enterprise, El Nopal Press is distinguished by its focus on the work of artists who explore border issues, the complex cultural relationships that exist between Mexico and the United States. More specifically, the ideas brought forward through the work of the press have more to do with a conversation concerning the idea of the border rather than its physical manifestation as a cartographic phenomenon, economic and social barrier, or penetrable boundary. As participants in an alternative dialogue that extends well beyond the creative mainstream, the artists of El Nopal have come to vivify and expand the complex intercultural exchange between these two countries. In fact, the images produced by El Nopal are key elements in this discourse, and are numbered among its signifiers, those representations that speak through pictures, not in words.

In 1990, at the time of the founding of El Nopal Press in Los Angeles, this bilateral conversation of contemporary art was just beginning. The few programs that did exist tended to emphasize governmental agendas or cultural differences at the expense of a deeper exchange, and there was little or no precedent for the development of a cooperative model. If artists from Mexico City seemed less concerned with matters of cultural identity, others north of the border, particularly the Chicano artists of Los Angeles, were characterized as provincial tricksters and appropriationists. In spite of instances of shared ancestry, barriers of language and culture remained. After several years of travel and research, El Nopal founder Francesco Siqueiros, an artist and master printer intimately familiar with the art worlds of both Los Angeles and Mexico City, brought these worlds together.

While the history of El Nopal is closely identified with Mexican and Chicano artists, its primary thrust is the production of art that in some
way incorporates the border as an idea. The prints produced by these artists, executed as lithographs, woodcuts, etchings and combinations of these processes, express considerations that range from the social and the ethical to issues of identity.
Artists:

Kevin Appel•Judi Baca•John Baldessari•Mariana Botey•Carolyn Castaño•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 prints produced by Francesco X Siqueiros from a portfolio titled *My Favorite Comic (Phantasmagoria by Francesco X Siqueiros)*. 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.

The performative representation of comedy, then, is the context of the Tent that houses the creative origin and the other, the cinematic dissemination of the first. The latter has a dual function as a mechanism, on one hand is a will of nationalistic power linked to the unification and institutionalization of the modern capitalist state and the other for instigating an intrinsic part of the psychic economy without ideology; the desire to break with repression through humor.

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. She 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.

The *Office of Cultural Projects (OPC) *is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting dialogue through exhibitions, panel discussions, public art and educational programs for the arts. OPC works with artists, architects, curators, academics and writers, creators of ideas that build our notion of city and cultural landscape linked to Puerto Vallarta but with global reach. Born with the desire to contribute to the reflection on contemporary cultural and artistic environment and with the aim of sharing with Puerto Vallarta and its visitors.

Exhibition:  January 13th to March 5th, 2016

Location: 598 Juárez, esq. con Aldama, Centro


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