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So close, far away

a group exhibition of artists from Chicago and Mexico City curated by Esteban King + Mia Lopez as part of the Lit& Luz Festival

So close, far away, 
Oct 13-Nov 18
opening Sat Oct 13, 6-9pm
featuring Alejandra R. Bolaños, Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Ricardo Cuevas, Lucía Hinojosa, Alejandro Jiménez-Flores, Caroline Kent, Iván Krassoievitch, Emilio Rojas, and Tamara Becerra Valdez.
curated by Esteban King + Mia Lopez
organized in conjunction with the Lit & Luz Festival

So close, far away presents work by a group of emerging and mid-career artists from Mexico and Chicago who explore the parallels and intersections between art, communication and writing. Organized within the framework of the Lit and Luz Festival, the exhibition brings together the multitude of ways in which poetry, art, and literature manifest in artistic practices.

The exhibition title refers to Chicago and Mexico’s shared history of migration and cultural exchange, and also poses a question about the relationships between writing and art. How close or how far are these two distinct mediums?

Apart from developing videos, performances, paintings or photographs, many of the artists of this show also write. These writings can be legible or illegible, conventional or encrypted, traditional or invented. So close, far away examines the meeting of artist and writer, and the polemic of text vs. image, intentionally obscuring boundaries between disciplines.

Some of the works in this show create an interplay between both the visual and literary realms. In others, images functions as texts and texts functions as images; and, even further, some of them question the fundamental idea that image and texts are separated worlds…

Rather than perpetuate tropes or trends, or attempt to arrive at a definitive resolution, we seek to provide a platform for both the consideration and the formation of new strategies and approaches. How can these visual and literary ways of communication operate? Are they always separated one from another? Where is the limit or the point of encounter between them? The artists in this exhibition address these inquiries, as well as point to further areas for interrogation.

With this dialogue, So close, far away seeks to account for the similarities and differences between the concerns and methods of working by artists in Mexico and Chicago. In an era marked by the rise of nationalism and cultural intolerance, establishing links between the work of emerging artists who have focused on contemporary artistic creation feels crucial. Echoing the student demonstrations that occurred in different parts of the world exactly 50 years ago, we are convinced that poetry and imagination are the first step to break with the established order and begin to conceive of a different kind of world.

– Mia Lopez and Esteban King, curators

About the artists:

Verónica Gerber Bicecci (Mexico City, 1981) is a visual artist who writes. She published the books: Mudanza [Moving Out] and Empty Set, which won the 3rd International Aura Estrada Literature prize and the Otra Mirada Cálamo prize. Some of her last projects in other media are: Migrant Words in Art Association, Jackson Hole, Wyoming; The Speakers No. 2 in Museo Amparo, Puebla; and The amplified void in Casa–Taller José Clemente Orozco, Guadalajara. She is editor at the cooperative Tumbona Ediciones and tutor of the Photography Production Seminar at Centro de la Imagen. To learn more visit:

Alejandra R. Bolaños (Veracruz, 1991). She makes narrations with texts, audios and drawings. Her work is the tool to talk about the Mexican Southeast, through ideas such as invisibility, social protest and the eternal representation of the tropical Nineteenth Century landscape. She studied at Soma México (2018) and currently coordinates the Documentation Center of the Museo Tamayo. Lives and works between Veracruz and Mexico City.

Ricardo Cuevas (Mexico City, 1978). Working from a conceptual framework based in text, books and photography, with its various discourses around selection, document, and archive, Cuevas’s work is constantly exploring the potential for misunderstanding, translation and fragmentation. He has exhibited in venues like The Stanley Brouwn Pavilion (Utrecht, Netherlands, 2008); Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangdong, China, 2009); David Roberts Art Foundation (London, UK, 2010); Maison de l’Amérique Latine (Paris, France, 2009); Centro Lam (La Habana, Cuba, 2011); Denver Museum of Contemporary Art (Denver, USA, 2012); The Power Plant (Toronto, Canada, 2014); Artpace (San Antonio, USA, 2014). A collection of past and recent works was shown individually at Darling Foundry (Montreal, Canada, 2011). He’s been awarded with several international artist residencies at: Banff Centre for the Arts (Alberta); International Studio and Curatorial Program (NYC); Darling Foundry (Montreal), Kultur Kontakt Austria.

Lucia Hinojosa (Mexico City, 1987) is a visual artist/writer. Her multidisciplinary work explores the intersections between language, the politics of rhythm, and expanded poetry. She holds a degree in Visual & Critical Studies from The School of Visual Arts, and she completed a 2-year program at SOMA in Mexico City. Her work has been exhibited at spaces like Grice Bench Gallery (Los Angeles); Museo Nacional de Arte (Mexico City); Anthology Film Archives (New York); Art & Idea, Goethe Institut (Barcelona); Chalton Gallery (London). In 2013 she co-founded diSONARE, a bilingual editorial project. Her writing has appeared in journals and publications like Dolce Stil Criollo, Antifaz, Hyperallergic and The Brooklyn Rail.

Alejandro Jiménez-Flores (1989) is a Conceptual Artist & Poet. They attained a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago In 2012 & a very minor in Poetry from School of Poetics in Marseille France in 2013 ;). Through a process based conceptual practice, they think, write, & craft about, multiplicities, becomings, de-subjectifications, funny things, & likes using language to assess the limits of semiotics.

Caroline Kent received her MFA from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 2008, and a BS in Art at Illinois State University, Normal, IL, in 1998. Current and recent exhibitions include How Objects Move through Walls, the inaugural exhibition at co. (Company project space), Minneapolis; Out of Easy Reach, Depaul Art Museum, Chicago, The Union for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE (2018); Triumph, Chicago (2017); Goldfinch, Chicago (2017); The Suburban, Oak Park, IL (2013); and California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2012). Upcoming projects include solo exhibitions at The College of New Jersey, Ewing Township, NJ and St. Kate’s University, Saint Paul, MN. Group exhibitions include the Flag Foundation of Art, NY, Napoleon in Philadelphia and Jenkins Johnson Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Kent is a recipient of the 2016 McKnight Fellowship for Visual Arts; 2015 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant; and a 2009 Jerome Fellowship in Fine Art. She is a current Fellow at Shandaken Projects Paint School, New York, the co-founder of Bindery Projects, Minneapolis, and her work is in the permanent collections of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN.

Iván Krassoievitch (Mexico City, 1980). His work takes off from the personal anecdote and the autobiographical story where the appropriation of images and objects turns into gestures that lead the spectator –sometimes through humor– to reflect on the lack of autonomy in regard to certain actions, chance, and the absurdity of daily life. He graduated in Industrial Design in 2000, after which he attended the education program of Soma between 2011 and 2013 (Mexico, D.F.). He has held solo exhibitions since 2005 Tired, Hungry, Horny, Hungover, Happy, Sad & Pissed Off, (2011) at Garash Galería, Mexico, D.F.; Protección contra el Destino y otros interesantes títulos de la colección (Protection against Destiny and other interesting titles of the collection)(2013) at Galería Machete; ¡Señor! ¿Qué es la Vida? (Lord! What is life?) at Cuarto de proyectos Soma, Mexico, D.F.; Mar de fondo (Groundswell) (2015) at Galería Machete and, more recently, the public sculpture Las bananas son un ejemplo (Bananas are an example) (2016) at the gardens of Casa del Lago, which will remain on exhibition until 2019.

Emilio Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily with the body in performance, using video, photography, installation, public interventions, writing, and sculpture. He holds an MFA in Performance from SAIC and a BFA in Film from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada. Rojas  identifies as a NAFTA baby, (born in Mexico City, spent his formative artistic years in Canada, and currently based in Chicago). As a queer latinx immigrant with indigenous heritage it is essential to his practice to engage in the postcolonial ethical imperative to uncover, investigate, and make visible and audible undervalued or disparaged sites of knowledge, narratives, and individuals. He utilizes his body in a political and critical way, as an instrument to unearth removed traumas, embodied forms of decolonization, migration and poetics of space. His research based practice is heavily influenced  by queer and feminist archives, border politics, botanical colonialism, and defaced monuments. His works have been exhibited in the US, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Austria, England, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia. Besides his artistic practice, Emilio is also a translator, community activist, yoga teacher, and anti-oppression facilitator with queer, migrant and refugee youth. Galeria Jose de la Fuente in Santander, Spain and Gallleriapiú in Bologna, Italy currently represent Rojas’s work.

Tamara Becerra Valdez (Corpus Christi, Texas, 1984) uses photography, video, and drawing alongside an adoption of methods in archaeology and ethnography to consider how historical topographies can be discovered in traces and fragments in the urban social landscape. Through intervening methodologies and chance encounters, she observes the uses, meanings, and functions of discarded materials. The ephemeral nature of human behavior leaves an impression in her work. Valdez earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with formal studies in Anthropology and Folklore at the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. She has held positions in programming and special collections at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, and The Harry Ransom Center. She has worked in field-based, ethnographic projects in Texas, Mississippi, Illinois, and states in México. She is currently completing a Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As a Graduate Research Fellow at UIC, she is supervising the artistic and creative direction in the collaborative, multi-disciplinary project, “Political Ecology: Platform Chicago”, supported by the Institute for the Humanities (UIC) Humanities Without Walls consortium, and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


About the Festival:

The Lit & Luz Festival Began in 2012 (unofficially) with the release of the fully translated—Spanish/English—MAKE Magazine  issue 13, “Intercambio/Exchange.” In 2014 the Lit & Luz Festival was launched from those pages and ever since has produced yearly events in Mexico City and Chicago, with writers and artists from Chicago, Mexico, and beyond. MAKE Literary Production’s 5th annual Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art is an ambitious exchange between Mexico City and Chicago. The week-long festival takes place at over a dozen arts venues and universities throughout Chicago, October 13th-20th. The following February, a similar series of events are held in Mexico City. Programs include readings, conversations, and our signature event, the “Live Magazine Show”—which makes its Museum of Contemporary Art debut this year. We are honored to welcome inspiring authors, artists, and arts professionals from Mexico to Chicago. Art and language are key to understanding culture and community, and the cultural exchange between the United States and Mexico. With events such as Lit & Luz, we hope to strengthen the relationship between the two countries, and in particular, to increase the distribution of literature and art from Mexico for Chicago audiences and beyond.


Inflate Yourself or Disappear

Aleia Murawski in the Shoebox Gallery

Aleia Murawski
Inflate Yourself or Disappear
Oct 13-Nov 18, 2018
A Shoebox Gallery installation curated by Sharmyn Cruz Rivera

Inflate Yourself or Disappear is inspired by the strange and ominous architecture of the bunker in the context of the 70s zeitgeist, American capitalism, and geopolitical tensions. Aleia Murawski takes imagery from a 1978 underground luxury home in Las Vegas, Nevada that became popular when images of the bunker surfaced online after a cryonics group called The Society for the Preservation of Near-Extinct Species brought it in 2016. Inflate Yourself or Disappear is Murawski’s reimagining of this Cold War era hideaway, an underground paradise that allows one to escape the potential doom of a catastrophic event within the apparent grandiosity and comfortability of fabricated suburban life. For this project, she creates a miniature that locates the viewer directly in front of a split-view scene: a public home above ground as well as a private, hidden habitat below ground. These two scenes depict a speculative space of safety within an unpredictable world and the possibility of overcoming the chaos of everyday life and human mortality. 

Aleia Murawski is a multidisciplinary artist from Chicago focused on making moving image videos and miniature sets. She creates small-scale environments with collaborator Samuel Copeland, that reference domestic scenes, often based off of 80’s or 90’s interiors of American suburbia. They play with scale relationships, often incorporating body parts, food, or bugs into their scenes to break expectations and reveal the artifice of each room.



A group exhibition at Ace Hotel Chicago, curated by Britton Bertran

October 19-November 29
Ace Hotel Chicago
311 N Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60607
Opening reception on Friday, October 19th at 7pm, Ace Hotel Chicago.

*Header image: Bean Gilsdorf. Ronald Reagan, 2018. Ceramic plate, 10.25 inch diameter.

The Green Lantern Press is pleased to present Facsimile, a group exhibition curated by Institutional Garbage contributor Britton Bertran of artwork by artists who are specifically interested in re-contextualizing the antecedents of images and ideas. Taking aesthetic ownership of pre-existing conditions, be they otherwise political, social and/or moral, constitutes a meaningful and personal tribute rendered in an object intended to be absorbed. Familiarity with the object, however far removed from the original idea, constitutes a mnemonic signaling to the viewer that the image in question may hold more meaning than the original. That rendered psychic space between the “real” and the newly real questions ownership, sharpens the senses and activates the transitive effects of the imagination.

Bean Gilsdorf is an interdisciplinary artist based in San Francisco. Working with appropriated images and texts, Gilsdorf creates sculptures and performances that delve into the relationship between historical narratives, the iconography of authority, and the ways in which representations influence our perception of cultural values. “Gilsdorf invites us to consider the limits of power such images have, the point at which they become diffuse and illegible, and the absurdity that arises when they are ignored.” Her projects have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara; the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts; and the American Textile History Museum; as well as exhibition spaces in Poland, England, Italy, China, and South Africa. Gilsdorf graduated from Simon’s Rock at Bard College with a B.A. in Literature, and received her M.F.A. in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including 2015 and 2016 Fulbright Fellowships to Poland, the Bess Winspear Memorial Scholarship at Banff Centre, a Graduate Fellowship at Headlands Center for the Arts, and a Graduate Full Merit Scholarship at California College of the Arts. In addition to her work as an artist, Gilsdorf is an art critic and professional editor. She is the former editor in chief of Daily Serving, an international publication for the contemporary arts, and her critical writing and interviews have been included in publications such as ArtforumBOMB, and Frieze. She is currently a columnist-in-residence for SFMOMA’s Open Space.

Joshua Caleb Weibley is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY.  He received his BFA from Cooper Union in 2009.  His conceptual works are comprised of digital photography, printing, drawing and sculpture.  Pieces that appear minimal are culminations of multistep processes and meta connections between material and subject.  His work has been exhibited in group shows at Klaus Von Nichtssagend, Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, Et Al Projects, Eyebeam, and Vox Populi.

Omar Velázquez (b. 1984) Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico 1984 and based in Chicao, IL. He obtained a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Puerto Rico and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He has presented several individual projects at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art, and the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art. He has been awarded for contemporary art and cultural institutions. His professional career includes the participation in numerous group exhibitions, biennials and triennials in Japan, Beijing, Spain, Republic of Macedonia, New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia.

Jason Pickleman (b. 1965) Bridging the gap between fine and commercial art, Pickleman has created a body of work both conceptual and popular, applying media as varied as neon, offset printing, silkscreen, collage and photography. Pickleman’s studio, the JNL graphic design, was begun in 1992 and specializes in the creation of graphic ephemera of unique cultural significance. Exhibition catalogues, art objects, informational propaganda and generally exotic cultural paraphernalia for clients such as Blackbird, Avec, Publican, The Wit, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Renaissance Society and Harrington College of Design, all bear the imprint of the studio’s unique vision. Pickleman was included in the 2007 exhibition Young Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago, and his work has subsequently been placed into the museum’s permanent collection