Art depicting the racial makeup of colonial Mexico comes to Scottsdale


JOSE CARDENAS: IN SOUNDS OF CULTURA, THE FIRST MAJOR EXHIBITION OF MEXICAN-AMERICAN PAINTER CLAUDIO DICOCHEA IS IN SCOTTSDALE. ACID BAROK IS A MISTURE OF POP CULTURE AND HISTORY. THE EXHIBITION IS PART OF THE SCOTTSDALE MUESUM OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS ONGOING SOUTHWEST NET SERIES THAT HIGHLIGHTS MID-CAREER ARISTS WORKING AND LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES. JOINING US IS SARA COCHRAN, DIRECTOR OF SCOTTSDALE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS AND MEXIXCO. JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THE EXHIBIT SARA COCHRAN, DIRECTOR OF SCOTTSDALE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS. THANK YOU JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE." LET'S SET THE STAGE BECAUSE WE TALKED ABOUT HIS REFLECTION OF HISTORY. THE HISTORY HE IS TALKING ABOUT IS COLONIAL MEXICO.

SARA COCHRAN: DEFINITELY. SO HE IS REFERENCING A SERIES OF PAINTINGS CALLED THE COSTA PAINTINGS THAT ARE UNUSUAL, EXCITING AND INTERESTING WORKS. UNIQUE ABOUT THE SOCIAL HIERARCHY OF COLONIAL MEXICO AND ALSO ITS RACIAL MAKEUP, WHICH WAS SO DIFFERENT FROM EUROPE.

JOSE CARDENAS: SO THE COSTA'S ARE WHAT-I THINIK THERES LIKE 16 LEVELS OR SOMETHING- MIXES OF SPANISH AND INDIAN BLOOD?

SARA COCHRAN: SPANISH, INDIAN, ALSO AFRICAN AND ANY OTHER NUMBER OF GENETIC MIXES.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND WHAT IS THE CONTEMPORARY ASPECT OF HIS PAINTINGS?

SARA COCHRAN: CLAUDIO IS INTERESTED IN HOW BOTH FROM A POP CULTURE AND POLITICAL WAY THESE DIFFERENT KINDS OF MEETINGS OF INDIVIDUALS COME TOGETHER TO CREATE DIFFERENT SOCIAL CONTEXT. CLAUDIO IS VERY INTERESTED IN THE FACT THAT THE COSTA PAINTINGS WERE VERY DIFFERENT TO MEXICO CITY THAN THEY WERE IN THE NORTH OF MEXICO.

JOSE CARDENAS: WE HAVE GOT SOME PICTURES THAT WE WANT TO PUT UP ON THE SCREEN. THE FIRST ONE REALLY DOES REFLECT, ALL OF THEM DO, THE ELEMENTS YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT WITH THE MIX OF POP CULTURE. LET'S PUT THE FIRST ONE UP. DEVOTED FOLLOWERS OF THE SCIENCE FICTION SERIES-

SARA COCHRAN: THE X-FILES-

JOSE CARDENAS: THE X-FILES WOULD RECOGNIZE-

SARA COCHRAN: AGENT MULLDER

JOSE CARDENAS: AGENT MULLDER. SO TELL US ABOUT THIS ONE.

SARA COCHRAN: HERE CLAUDIO IS INVESTIGATING BOTH THE HISTORICAL, BUT ALSO THE POP CULTURE. YOU HAVE THE AGENT, AND THEN YOU THEIR CHILD IS DARTH VADER WITH A PINK HELMET WEARING ALICE IN WONDERLAND'S DRESS.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND THEN ON THE RIGHT SIDE-IF WE COULD PUT THAT BACK UP-THE RIGHT SIDE IS THE ALICE IN WONDERLAND PART OF IT?

SARA COCHRAN: YES.

JOSE CARDENAS: OK.

SARA COCHRAN: YOU HAVE THE DAUGHTER WHO IS ALICE IN WONDERLAND BUT WITH A DARTH VADER HEAD.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND YOU MAY HAVE MENTIOED THIS BUT ONE OF THE ASPECTS OF THE COSTA PAINTINGS WAS THE THREE FIGURES IN ALL OF THEM AND THAT IS WHAT WE SEE HERE.

SARA COCHRAN: YES, IT IS ALWAYS A FAMILY UNIT. A FATHER, MOTHER, AND A CHILD.

JOSE CARDENAS: SO LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE NEXT FAMILY UNIT THATS REFLECTED IN HIS WORK. TELL US ABOUT THIS ONE.

SARA COCHRAN: HERE YOU HAVE A MIXING OF BOTH A VERY POPLAR MEXICAN FOLK SINGER WITH A FILM STAR FROM THE UNITED STATES AND THEIR DAUGHTER IS ACTUALLY A FIGURE OUT OF A PAINTING FROM THE 1980S.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND YOU HAVE TALKED ABOUT -- WE HAD SOME PRIOR DISCUSSION ABOUT RACE MIXING?

SARA COCHRAN: YES. SO IN THIS PAINTING, BUT ALSO IN THE NEXT PAINTING WE ARE GOING TO SEE, YOU ARE GOING TO SEE HE IS WORKING WITH THE RACE AND WHAT HE CALLS RERACING. THE FIGURE DOWN IN THE BOTTOM IS IN ITS ORIGIN A WOMAN WHO IS WHITE BUT HE OR SHE IS DEPICTED AS SOMEBODY WHO IS OF COLOR LITERALLY.

JOSE CARDENAS: SO THE LAST ONE I THINK PARTICULARLY REFLECTS ALL THE ASPECTS OF WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

SARA COCHRAN: SO YOU HAVE THE COMMANDER OUT OF 'STAR WARS' WHO IS WEARING -- "STAR TREK" SORRY WHO IS WEATING THE SUPERMAN COSTUME. PATTY HURST AND THEIR DAUGHTER IS JAMES FONDA, BUT AGAIN A RE-RACED JAMES FONDA.

JOSE CARDENAS: SO HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU THINK WILL REMEMBER PATTY HURST?

SARA COCHRAN: WE WILL HAVE LABELS WHO WILL EXPLAIN A LOT OF THESE INDIVIDUALS BUT I THINK THERE IS AGAIN THINKING ABOUT PATTY HURST. THERE HAS BEEN A BIOGRAPHYOF LATE, SO I HOPE MORE PEOPLE THAN WE BOTH IMAGE WILL REMEMEBR HER.

JOSE CARDENAS: WELL, IM SURE THE TRECKIES WILL RECOGIZE THE OTHER FIGURE. LETS TALK ABOUT THE SERIES ITSELF THEN WE’LL TALK MORE INDEPTH ABOUT THE ARTISTS. SOUTHWEST SNAT.

SARA COCHRAN: SO SOUTHWEST SNAT-WE ARE A YOUNG INSTITUTION WHO WORKS IN THE VERY FERTILE AREA OF THE SOUTHWEST. WE’RE INTERESTED IN THE ARTISTS WHO ARE GROWING UP WHO ARE SPEAKING TO THE ISSUES THAT OUR VISITORS ARE DEALING WITH ON A DIALY BASIS. SO WE ENGAGE ATLEAST ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR WITH ARITSTS WHO ARE FROM OUR REGION. THAT IS BOTH MEXICO BUT UP TO UTAH, COLORADO, TEXAS TO CALIFORNIA.

JOSE CARDENAS: THERE IS ALSO A FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CALL MID-CAREER ARTIST.

SARA COCHRAN: YES-

JOSE CARDENAS: AND WHY IS THAT?

SARA COCHRAN: BECAUSE IT IS DIFFICULT FOR ARTISTS SOMETIMES IN THEIR MID-CAREER TO RECEIVE THE ATTENTION THEY NEED. EVERYBODY IS EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW, YOUNG ARTIST OR THEY ARE INTERESTED IN OLDER ARTIST BUT THAT MID CAREER CAN BE A MOMENT OF DIFFICULTY. WE ARE INTERESTED IN LOOKING AT WHAT MATURE ARTISTS ARE DOING AFTER THE FIRST BLUSH OF THEIR ART MAKING AND BEFORE THEY BECOME REALLY ICONIC.

JOSE CARDENAS: NIKO ____ VERY INTERESTING ARTIST AS WE’VE ALREADY SEEN. GIVE US SOMETHING ON HIS BACKGROUND.

SARA COCHRAN: SOMEBODY WHO GREW UP ON THE BORDER. A B.A. FROM UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA AND ALSO A MASTERS'S OF FINE ART FROM ASU. AND SOMEONE WHO IS BOTH INTERESTED IN HISTORY BUT ALSO ALTERNATIVE HISTORIES. AND THIS MIXING OF POP CULTURE AND POLITICS AND POP CULTURE IS SOMETHING HE IS REALLY FASCINATED IN.

JOSE CARDENAS: HAS HE DONE THIS BEFORE- THE FOCUS ON COSTA?

SARA COCHRAN: YES. COSTA HAS BEEN THE BASIS OF HIS WORK NOW FOR PROBABLY 10 YEARS.

WHEN PEOPLE GO AND THEY WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THIS EXHIBITON WHEN IT OPENS WHAT? MID-FEBRUARY?

SARA COCHRAN: FEBRUARY THE 10TH.

JOSE CARDENAS: WHAT KIND OF REACTION DO YOU SEE FROM PEOPLE VIEWING HIS WORK?

SARA COCHRAN: IT IS VISUALLY VERY VERY APPEALING. MOST PEOPLE ARE DRAWN IN BY THE COLORS OF THE FIGURES. ALL SORTS OF INTERESTING THINGS AND THEN START TO THINK ABOUT THE DEEPER MEANING. SO IT IS A REAL TROJAN HORSE.

JOSE CARDENAS: TROJAN HORSE IN THE SENSE THAT IT DRAWS PEOPLE IN THAT WOULD NOT OTHERWISE BE THERE. I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE OTHER EXHIBITIONS OPENING IN FEBURARY. IT’S GOING TO BE A BUSY MONTH.

SARA COCHRAN: IT IS, AND WE WOULD LIKE TO INVITE ALL YOUR VIEWERS TO COME ON FEBURARY 16TH TO OUR OEPNING AT 7PM. IT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. THEY WILL SEE THREE GENERATIONS OF INUIT ARTISTS, AGAIN THINKING OUR THAT BROAD DEFINITEION OF WHAT IS CONTEMPORARTY ART. WE ALSO HAVE A WONDERFUL EXHIBITION BY LUIS AL FRONZ VILLALOBOS WHO IS FROM GUADALAJARA, THE ART CAPITOL OF MEXICO RIGHT NOW.

JOSE CARDENAS: THAT IS A RELATIVELY RECENT DEVELOPMENT, RIGHT? BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE THINK OF ART AND MEXICO AND THINK OF MEXICO CITY-

SARA COCHRAN: DEFINITELY-

JOSE CARDENAS: THEY THINK OF THE HOMES OF FRIDA KAHLO RIVERIA. BUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN GUADALAJARA RIGHT NOW?

SARA COCHRAN: GUADALAJARA HAS AN EXTRODINARY ART SCHOOL AND WHERE GO ART SCHOOLS THERE GO ARTISTS, SO BOTH ON THE TEACHING SIDE AND ALSO ON THE STUDENTS. IT IS JUST A REALLY FERTILE EXTRODINARY AREA RIGHT NOW FOR THE PRODUCTION OF CONTEMPORARY ART.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND I SHOULDN’T SELL GUADALAJARA THAT SHORT BECAUSE THE EL ROSCO MURALS ARE THERE-THE VERY FAMOUS ONES. WHAT DO WE HAVE COMING UP BEYOND THESE THREE EXHIBITIONS?

SARA COCHRAN: IN THE SUMMER WE ARE WORKING WITH A BRAZILIAN JAPANESE ARTIST AND WE HAVE A COLLECTION SHOW-AND WE’RE ALSO LOOKING AT ART INTAKE FOR THE SUMMER SO LOTS-

JOSE CARDENAS: IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE A LOT GOING ON. THANK YOU SO MUCH WERE JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE." THAT IS OUR SHOW TONIGHT. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art introduces casta paintings from Claudio Dicochea, Luis Alfonso Villalobos and three generations of Inuit women on February 10.

Casta paintings are artwork dedicated to the social hierarchy of colonial Mexico and its racial makeup, says Director and Chief Curator at SMoCA Sara Cochran. The paintings always contain a family unit -a mother, father and at least one child.

Dicochea is one of the artists who has worked with this theme. He was interested in the idea of how pop culture and politics cross paths and how they end up introducing people to each other. The special trait about this is the reception of the art in Mexico City was received differently than it was received in the north of Mexico.

southwestNET” is organized by SMoCA in order to spotlights artists from the southwest area. Cochran says she is interested in the artists who are growing up and speaking about the issues that visitors are dealing with on a daily basis. An artist is chosen once or twice a year to have their work on display. Dicochea is the southwestNET artist from February 10 to May 20.

Cochran says she looks for mid-career artists who are mature and past the point of their first few pieces. She hopes to find those artists first before they become really iconic.

The Spring Opening Reception takes place on February 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. and is free to the public. The curators and artists will be there to mingle and talk about the pieces.

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In this segment:

Sara Cochran: Director and Chief Curator, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

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