EUGENE, Ore. -- The work of painter and printmaker Enrique Chagoya is on view through December 6 in Adventures of Modernist Cannibals at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus. Chagoya, whose provocative works incorporate diverse symbolic elements from pre-Columbian mythology, Western religious iconography, and American popular culture, led an artist’s talk on Thursday, October 15.
The exhibition, on loan from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer, highlights some of Chagoya’s most fascinating pieces: artist’s books that take their form from pre-Columbian codices and combine chine-collé, letterpress, lithography, and woodcut printing techniques to create rich, multi-layered compositions. His contemporary codices illustrate an imagined world in which the European conquest of the New World failed and the normative culture of the Americas is based in indigenous ideology.
“Taking its name from one of the works on view, this exhibition speaks to the theme of cannibalized imagery—from Spanish Colonial book plates to the visual vocabulary of Pop Art,” says June Black, associate curator for academic programs and the arts of the Americas and Europe. “He often appropriates the visual tropes of Western modernism in his works, just as the masters of modern art cannibalized so-called primitive forms without properly contextualizing them.”
Born in Mexico, Chagoya, who became a U.S. citizen in 2000, draws upon his experiences living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in the late ‘70s. He juxtaposes secular, popular, and religious symbols to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States and Latin America. His most recent work in the exhibition—“La Bestia’s Guide to the Birth of the Cool”—addresses immigration issues.
Chagoya earned a BFA in 1984 from the San Francisco Art Institute and earned his MA and MFA in 1987 from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a professor at Stanford University’s Department of Art and Art History. His work can be found in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; LA County Museum of Art in Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University among others.
This exhibition and its related programs are made possible by the generous support of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, the Department of Art and the Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies.
About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public. The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries. The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.