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San Francisco Art Institute Presents Disponible a kind of Mexican show Phase 2

The San Francisco Art Institute presents Disponible–a kind of Mexican show, Phase 2 on view February 10–March 26, 2011. Opening reception: February 9, 2011, 5:30-7:30 pm.

Co-curated by Hou Hanru, SFAI’s Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs, and Guillermo Santamarina, an independent curator based in Mexico City, this exhibition takes its name from the empty billboards reading “disponible” (+ phone numbers) that are seen across the skylines of Mexican cities. Meaning at once available and potentially changeable or disposable, the word disponible reflects the dynamic, contradictory reality of Mexican society in transition from post-colonial revolution to globalization. The exhibit also coincides with the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence and the centennial of the republican revolution.

Teresa Margolles, carved key by Antonio Hernandez Camacho, 2011 Courtesy of the artist and LABOR Gallery, Mexico City, Mexico

Phase 1 of Disponible—a kind of Mexican show opened in November 2010. To that existing work, Phase 2 adds pieces from three artists who exemplify the social engagement of artists in Mexico today. Focused on issues such as violence, gangs, and drugs, these artists create works of urgency and importance.

The new pieces on view for Phase 2 are:

•A site-specific work by Teresa Margolles. Margolles, one of Mexico’s preeminent contemporary artists, has invited keymaker Antonio Hernandez Cumacho from Ciudad Juárez to come interact with the San Francisco public, sharing stories about owning a small business in a border city riddled with drugs and violence.
Lecture: Teresa Margolles in conversation with critic Cuauhtémoc Medina, February 9, 7:30 pm. Lecture Hall.

• Natalia Almada’s film El General. Almada is the great-granddaughter of Mexican president Plutarco Elias Calles (1924-1928), one of Mexico’s most controversial revolutionary figures. This portrait of a family and a country under the shadow of the past earned Almada the Documentary Directing Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Screening: February 23, 7:30 pm. Lecture Hall.

• Arturo Hernández Alcázar’s Never Work (transformation of knowledge into work, work into energy and energy into a hot soup). Never Work is a project that came out of Alcazar’s invitation to participate in the recycling program of the Museum of Contemporary Art at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City. The piece is composed of a sound installation and related ephemera documenting an unfulfilled process of economic, material and energy transformation.

Works from Phase 1 that remain on view are: Edgardo Aragón’s video Matamoros, in which the artist recreates his father’s journey from Oaxaca to Tamaulipas as a drug trafficker; Manuel Rocha Iturbide’s sound installation I play the drums with frequency; Mauricio Limón’s video Bizco Merolico Chorus, featuring vendors from the Mexico City subway repeating their sales pitches; and Hector Zamora’s Essay about the smooth and the striated, a site-specific installation made of suspended drying racks.

SFAI’s exhibitions and public programs are supported in part by the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund with additional support provided by the McBean Family Foundation, the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco and AeroMexico.

Arturo Hernández Alcázar
Natalia Almada
Edgardo Aragón
Manuel Rocha Iturbide
Mauricio Limón
Teresa Margolles
Hector Zamora

San Francisco Art Institute
Founded in 1871, SFAI is one of the oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art in the US. Focusing on the interdependence of thinking, making, and learning, SFAI’s academic and public programs are dedicated to excellence and diversity.

For more information about this exhibition or other public programs at SFAI, please go to or call 415 749 4563.

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