Published: April 18, 2011
The exhibition “Betsabeé Romero: Lágrimas Negras/Black Tears,” a ten-year survey of the work of Betsabeé Romero, Mexico’s leading artist, will travel from Mexico to the Neuberger Museum of Art, the only United States venue. The exhibition will be on view April 30 to August 14.
Romero is a self-described “mechanic artist” who draws on pre-Columbian iconography, colonial imagery and popular culture to transform automobiles and their components into contemporary works of art. The artist’s refashioned cars, carved tires, painted hoods and incised mirrors explore the tensions between local traditions and industrialized societies dominated by speed, mass production and emigration.
The exhibition features more than 80 objects, including sculpture, prints, photographs, videos and installations, and presents some of Romero’s most accomplished works. Featured are “Ciudades que se van (Moving Cities),” a series of four 60-foot-long tire prints on textiles that hang from the ceiling and fall onto the gallery floor and “Anemona de luz (Light-Anemone),” a cut-paper and light installation created in 2007 for an exhibition on the work of Anni and Josef Albers (San Idelfonso Museum, Mexico City), where the visitor is plunged into a universe of shadows of pre-Columbian and Islamic patterns.
Also featured is the famous “Cuerpos vestidos (Dressed Bodies),” featuring the intimate union of two automobiles covered with a burqa, a work that caused a great sensation at the 2006 Cairo Biennial and for which the artist was awarded First Prize.
The exhibition will also include her series of highly original suspended tire sculptures, such as “De Tuti fruit,” where a rubber-like tire is, in reality, made of pink chewing gum. Through clever inversions of meaning and material, Romero’s works question the way in which modern industry appropriates and transforms natural elements such as clay, rubber and gum for mass production.
The exhibition was curated by Julian Zugazagoita for the Amparo Museum in Puebla and traveled to the Contemporary Museum of Monterrey and the San Ildefonso Museum in Mexico. Patrice Giasson, associate curator of the art of the Americas, Neuberger Museum of Art, coordinated the show.
In addition to the exhibition, Romero will collaborate with Purchase College students to create an onsite installation for the Neuberger Museum of Art. The sculpture is inspired by an object of her choosing from the exhibition “Art in Cameroon: Sculptural Dialogue,” which is opening on April 23 at the museum. Romero’s new piece, “On Our Backs,” will resonate with a royal throne from the Kingdom of Kuk, included in the Cameroon exhibition, and selected from the collection of the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin.
The work will be unveiled at the exhibition’s opening reception on April 30, along with site-installations created in collaboration between Romero and Purchase College students from the Department of Art+Design during her one-month residency in April at the Neuberger Museum of Art.
The Neuberger Museum of Art is at 735 Anderson Hill Road. For more information, www.neuberger.org or 914-251-6100.
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