Friday, October 12, 2007

“¡Sensacional!” at MassArt

Here’s the beginning of my review of “¡Sensacional! Mexican Street Graphics”:
“¡Sensacional! Mexican Street Graphics,” the new exhibit at Massachusetts College of Art’s Paine Gallery, is a funhouse of brilliantly clunky handmade Mexican street art. If you find the gallery scene lacking in pictures of gremlins eating ice cream, masked Lucha Libre wrestlers, and R2-D2 serving pizza, this is the show for you.

A wrestler pictured on a little advertising card from a joint called Cafeteria el Cuadrilatero (the Ring Coffeeshop) becomes a looming 20-foot-high cutout. A tunnel built in the middle of the gallery is painted with scripts and blocky lettering that shout at you from all sides. A tourism-board banner features a topless yellow mermaid sitting on a rock with her head thrown back in ecstasy. She remains, however, composed enough to hold a pair of wine glasses on a platter. A sun poised on the watery horizon ogles her bust. The banner’s slogan: “Mexico: Beyond your expectations.”

Organized by Mexico City’s Trilce Ediciones publishers and San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, “¡Sensacional!” is thrillingly crude, crass, colorful, jury-rigged, do-it-yourself, joky, humble, and in bad taste. It is about ingenious responses to limited resources. It surveys the advertising imagery on walls, awnings, posters, and handbills across Mexico in all their funky glory.
Read the rest here.

"¡Sensacional! Mexican Street Graphics,” MassArt, Paine Gallery, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston, Sept. 24 to Dec. 1, 2007.


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