The return to “normalcy” after the chaos of the COVID pandemic has allowed cultural spaces to bring so many fundamental discussions back to the table. The New Mexico Hispanic Cultural Center Museum of Art, for example, returned to business as usual last month with the new exhibition “Fronteras del Futuro: Art in New Mexico and Beyond,” a show that explores the intersections between art, science, technologies, and reflections on identity.
The exhibition draws inspiration from the broad genre of speculative fiction, including science-fiction, fantasy, cosmology, futurism, horror, mythology, folklore, and others. The works are created from various materials that present transformative ideas about pop culture, religion, tradition, the environment, labor, history, identity, and how our pasts, presents, and futures are deeply intertwined.
“As a curator, it is always incredibly fulfilling to work on a project that is so dynamic that it requires my own ideas and expectations about what the exhibition should be, to be in a constant state of evolution,” said Jadira Gurule, Art Museum & Visual Arts Program Manager at the NHCC, in a press release. “Every conversation I had with the artists whose work is featured, taught me something and inspired me greatly. I am so excited to welcome visitors back to the NHCC Art Museum to share in this experience.”
The institution explained that each artist’s work contributes to ongoing debates about the liberating potential of art and speculation in cultural critique, disrupting the status quo and imagining alternative ways of being, living, loving, and thriving.
Some of the works on display in “Fronteras del Futuro” include “Listening” (2018), a photomontage on aluminum by Ehren Kee Natay (Navajo) that shows the artist dressed as a Star Trek crew member. As explained by Hyperallergic, Natay inserts his image into a historic photo (c. 1958) of his grandfather, Ed Lee Natay. The latter is wearing a western shirt with pearl brooches and a tiara tied to one side.
The artist explains that although he is a member of the Navajo Nation, growing up disconnected from Diné culture left him with a desire to “understand what knowledge and wisdom were lost” through the forced assimilation of indigenous peoples.
In addition, the exhibition features three prints by Chicano artist Tony Ortega and works by Enrique Chagoya, Ryan Singer, and many more.
“Fronteras del Futuro: Art in New Mexico and Beyond” continues at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 4th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico) through January 8, 2023.