February 13, 2008 - University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) - Enrique Chagoya
February 13, 2008

Enrique Chagoya

Enrique Chagoya, When Paradise Arrived, 1988;
charcoal and pastel on paper;
80 x 80 in.; di Rosa Preserve,
Napa, California. Photo: Wolfgang Dietze,
courtesy of Gallery Paule Anglim Copyright: Enrique Chagoya

Enrique Chagoya 

February 13 – May 18, 2008

2626 Bancroft Way
Berkeley CA 94720


The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents a major, twenty-five-year survey of work by Enrique Chagoya. The exhibition features more than seventy works—paintings, charcoal and pastel drawings, prints, and mixed-media codices (accordion-folded books)—that intermingle icons and cultural references spanning hundreds of years and thousands of miles. Enrique Chagoya: Borderlandia runs February 13 through May 18, 2008.

Chagoya’s subject matter reflects his own personal history and interests: Mexico’s complex past, international politics, various religions, art history, and popular culture. He draws on all of these sources, combining cultural symbols to create scenes of hybrid worlds and scathing—and often humorous—political and social satire. According to the artist, “Humankind is in constant war with itself, perfectly capable of total destruction. This is the raw material for my art.”

Chagoya borrows from the canon of Western art, adapting works by Francisco Goya and Philip Guston (satirizing, respectively, Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and the Nixon administration) to contemporary political contexts (the Reagan and current administrations).

Chagoya’s work also places icons from the dominant Western culture within Indigenous or colonial settings, so that Superman faces off with an Aztec god, or cannibals run amok in Monet’s gardens at Giverny. Chagoya has described this world of intermingled influences as a place where “all cultures meet and mix in the richest ways, creating the most fertile ground for the arts ever imagined.”

Born in Mexico City in 1953, Chagoya regularly visited the museums of the capital city and Teotihuacán as a child. These cultural institutions provided him with his first exposure to pre-Columbian culture. He moved to the United States in 1979 and in 1984 he enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he created the powerful work that begins this mid-career survey exhibition. In 1986 he completed an MA, and in 1987 an MFA, at the University of California, Berkeley. Chagoya has taught printmaking at Stanford University since 1995. His work is included in the collections of many major museums, including the Library of Congress Print Collection and the National Museum of American Art, Washington DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico; Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; The Art Institute of Chicago; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Public Programs
Enrique Chagoya: Borderlandia
will include a wide array of public programs that highlight the ways in which Chagoya’s art engages with a diverse range of disciplines. The programs include an artist’s lecture by Chagoya, an interdisciplinary panel on border issues, and a reading and discussion between Chagoya and writer Victor Martinez.

Credit line
Enrique Chagoya: Borderlandia
is organized by the Des Moines Art Center. The exhibition is sponsored by the Lannan Foundation and Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc.; additional support is provided by The Jacqueline & Myron Blank Exhibition Fund. Support for the catalog has been provided by George Adams Gallery, Gallery Paule Anglim, and Stanford University. This exhibition is curated by Patricia Hickson, Des Moines Art Center curator and downtown gallery manager. The presentation at BAM/PFA is coordinated by Lucinda Barnes, chief curator and director of programs and collections.

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94720


Gallery Hours:
Wednesday to Sunday, 11 to 5.
Closed Monday and Tuesday.

t. (510) 642-0808
f. (510) 642-4889
TDD: (510) 642-8734

Press contact
Jonathan L. Knapp jlknapp@berkeley.edu

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
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