Rael San Fratello Architecture Studio, Burrito Wall, 2013, composite model, 4 x 4 inches, collection of Studio San Fratello

The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility

January 27, 2018 – April 14, 2018

January 27 – April 14, 2018

516 ARTS and the Albuquerque Museum present The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility co-curated by Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims and Ana Elena Mallet. The exhibition presents the work of contemporary artists who explore the border as a physical reality (place), as a subject (imagination), and as a site for production and solution (possibility). The inclusion of artists from various disciplines —including design, architecture, sculpture, painting, and photography—reflects the ways in which contemporary artists and designers themselves cross disciplinary borders. Many of the artists featured in the exhibition pursue a creative problem-solving process sometimes described as “design thinking,” which involves invention, social engagement, and the task of making.

This exhibition was originated at the Craft & Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, where it was part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative and supported by major grants from the Getty Foundation. The main exhibition in Albuquerque is hosted by 516 ARTS, and has been expanded into a collaboration with an additional exhibition site at the Albuquerque Museum and accompanying interdisciplinary public programs around Albuquerque.
The border has come to occupy an intellectual and an emotionally charged space as well as a territorial one. It exists within the geography of memory as much as being a place of transit and transformation. Much of the creative production around the border unearths ways in which artists, architects, designers and makers who live in border states negotiate two divided but interconnected realities. Although this exhibition was conceived before the topic of “building a wall” along the US-Mexico border re-emerged in media headlines, its relevance is more potent and instructive than ever before.

FEATURED ARTISTS: Tanya Aguiñiga, Haydee Alonso, Guillermo Bert, Elvira Bessudo, Margarita Cabrera, Cristina Celis, Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, Adrian Esparza, Pilar Agüero-Esparza, Carlota Espinoza, Jorge Diego Etienne, Andres Fonseca, Guillermo Galindo, Rupert García, Bob Haozous, Luis Jiménez, Douglas Kent Hall, Alejandra Antón Honorato, Jami Porter Lara, Francisco Lefebre, La Metropolitana, Lorena Lazard, Andrés Lhima, Los Dos de Los (Yreina Cervantez & Leo Limón), Pablo López Luz, Hector Dio Mendoza, Delilah Montoya, Julio César Morales, Elizabeth Rustrian Ortega, Viviana Paredes, G.T. Pellizzi & Ray Smith, Postcommodity, Daisy Quezada Ureña, Marcos Ramírez ERRE, Augustine Romero, Betsabeé Romero, Zinna Rudman, Mauricio Sáenz, Eduardo Sarabia, Agnes Seebass, Elizabeth Sisco, Louis Hock & David Avalos, Studio Rael San Fratello, Van Deren Coke, and Consuelo Jimenez Underwood.
A fully illustrated exhibition catalog includes essay contributions by Michael Dear, Gustavo Leclerc, Kerry Doyle, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Jose Manuel Valenzuela Arce, Teddy Cruz & Fonna Forman and Jorge Gracia.

Co-curator Lowery Stokes Sims, recently named one of the Most Influential Curators by Artsy, is the retired Curator Emerita at the Museum of Arts and Design. She served as the executive director then president of The Studio Museum in Harlem and was on the education and curatorial staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A specialist in modern and contemporary art, she is known for her particular expertise in the work of African, Latino, Native and Asian American artists. She has published extensively and has lectured nationally and internationally and guest curated numerous exhibitions around the world. Sims holds a Ph.D. in art history from the Graduate School of the City University of New York and has received six honorary degrees.

Co-curator Ana Elena Mallet is a Mexico City-based independent curator specializing in modern and contemporary design. She curated Boutique at the Museo de Arte Carrillo, the first exhibition dedicated exclusively to fashion in a Mexican museum; ¡México, México! at the Musée International des Artes Modestes in Séte, France; and she co-curated Moderno: Design for Living in Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela, 1940–1978 at the Americas Society in New York. Mallet worked as a curator at the Museo Soumaya and Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, as deputy director of programming at the Museo Rufino Tamayo, and as chief curator at Museo del Objeto. She received a BA in Latin American Literature from the Universidad Iberoamericana and is pursuing an MA in Art History at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.


Wesley Pulkka “Powerful 516 ARTS exhibit examines artificial nature of borders,” Albuquerque Journal

Kathaleen Roberts “516 ARTS exhibit peels back the layers of the complex relationship between U.S., Mexico,” Albuquerque Journal

Maggie Grinason, “A Design of Defiance,” Alibi

Maggie Grimason, “Weaving Across Land and Time,” Alibi

Grace Parazzoli, “See you at the crossroads: Art of ‘The U.S.-Mexico Border,’” Santa Fe New Mexican

Kathaleen Roberts, “Mexico meets mandala in new mural,” Albuquerque Journal

  • image from The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility
    Guillermo Galindo, Llantatambores, 2015, inner tubes, PVC pipes, wood, cloth booties, wire
  • image from The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility
    Tanya Aguiñiga, Tierra, 2015, nylon, soil, thread, vinyl
  • image from The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility
    Pablo López Luz, Tijuana - San Diego County III, Frontera Mexico - USA (detail), 2014, digital archival print
  • image from The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility
    Mauricio Saenz, Nacional, 2014, woven fabric, collection of Instituto Tamaulipeco para la Cultura y las Artes, Ciudad Victoria, Mexico
  • image from The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility
    Elizabeth Rustrian Ortega, Cruce de armas, 2013, sterling silver, barbed wire, 14K gold plated silver, synthetic emerald