Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building
900 Jefferson Drive, SW
Dates: November, 2021 – July, 2022
Opening this November
, at the historic Arts + Industries Building (AIB), “FUTURES” will explore a myriad of possible futures on the horizon. As its first major commissioning project, AIB will invite five boundary-pushing contemporary artists to create their own speculative future worlds. These major site-specific projects will reflect the milestone occasion and iconic setting, and beguile visitors with a glimpse of the ways in which artists are at the forefront of affecting lasting and positive change.
Artists Beatriz Cortez, Nettrice Gaskins, Soo Sunny Park, Devan Shimoyama, and the duo Tamiko Thiel and /p (Peter Graf) work in such diverse media as augmented reality, artificial intelligence (A.I.), found objects, and industrial materials, blending their creative practices with deep research into technology, science, and community and cultural histories. Each has been asked to respond to both the building’s historic architecture and a particular future themed section of the exhibition. All are making their Smithsonian debut.
Los Angeles-based artist Beatriz Cortez will create a space-time capsule that is both inspired by the stone chultunes that the ancient Maya carved on the ground in what is now the Yucatán region in order to store precious natural and spiritual materials, and by the 20th-century history of space travels.
Cortez imagines her work as a speculative space-time capsule that carries ancestral Indigenous knowledge such as plants, seeds, and ideas towards the future. For Chultún El Semillero (or the seedbed), Cortez will create her chultunes out of welded steel and carve them with a mathematical formula offering directions for the survival of life on Earth. Based on archival research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, her research and collaboration with Indigenous groups in her native Central America,and NASA’s experiments in growing plants in space, her work will invite us to imagine Indigenous survival in the future, our own active participation in the growth of plants for nourishment, and the idea of communal life. Chultun El Semillero was made at a time of debate about COVID-19 vaccine distribution and will invite visitors to consider who has access to future resources and how they might be distributed.
Photo: Briceño / Smithsonian Arts + Industries.
Beatriz Cortez, Glacial Erratic, 2020. Steel.
ICA San Diego, North Campus
Dates: Permanent exhibition.
Beatriz Cortez, Glacial Erratic, 2020. Commissioned by the Frieze LIFEWTR Sculpture Prize. Steel. Courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council. Photo: ICA San Diego.
Beatriz Cortez was awarded the inaugural Frieze LIFEWTR Sculpture Prize in 2019. Her proposal was selected by a jury chaired by Brooke Kamin Rapaport (Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator, Madison Square Park Conservancy), and guest judges Taylor Aldridge, Brett Littman, Loring Randolph, and Michaella Solar-March. Made of steel frame and sheet metal, Glacial Erratic evokes an ancient boulder, like the numerous glacial erratics that populate the landscape in New York City. During the last Ice Age, the melting ice opened grooves on the Manhattan bedrock and deposited numerous glacial erratics all over the landscape. These large masses of rock differ in mineral content, in look, in size, and shape, from the native rocks in the local landscape. Visible all over the city, in Central Park, Prospect Park, Battle Hill, the Bronx, among many other sites all over the City, the matter that forms these rocks documents their migration before the human era, as well as the moment in which they emerged from the ice cap cover. As they were exposed to the light and to cosmic rays, the erratics were also touched by radiation, generating a process that documents their migration and the passing of time. Placed in the context of Rockefeller Center, the sculpture ages as it is exposed to the elements and human traffic while marking different temporalities and making visible the planetary nature of ancient migration.
Armor for Rufina Amaya / Armadura Para Rufina Amaya
Donde hubo fuego: Arte contemporáneo de El Salvador
Museo de Arte de El Salvador, MARTE
San Salvador, El Salvador
Dates: January 19, 2018 – January 18, 2023
Armor for Rufina Amaya was made to honor Rufina Amaya, survivor of the Massacre of El Mozote in December 1981 in Morazán, El Salvador. This massacre, perpetrated by the US funded and trained elite Atlacatl Battalion of the Salvadoran Army, is known as the worst massacre in the Americas. The majority of the dead were children under the age of 12. The armor seeks to cross through time and space to offer solace to Rufina Amaya’s body and to the memory of horror that she shared with the world for the 25 years that she survived after the massacre.
This exhibition was curated by Simón Vega and Rafael Alas Vazquez. Photograph: Walterio Iraheta.