Featured Artist: Enrique Chagoya

Contra el bien general, 1983-2001  from Homage to Goya II: Disasters of War

Contra el bien general, 1983-2001 from Homage to Goya II: Disasters of War

November 7, 2013 – January 12, 2014

Mexican born artist Enrique Chagoya references the imagery and themes that are ubiquitous with socially conscious art work, employing the prints of Goya, Orozco and Posada in many of his prints and paintings. He adds the subtle (and many times not so subtle) contemporary references of pop culture and politic that invite the historical images into a contemporary context. In the series Homage to Goya II: Disasters of War, Chagoya re-invents several of the Spanish master’s iconic etchings to reflect a 20th century narrative:

“The concept of this work is based on this question: How would Goya have portrayed events in the 20th century if he had witnessed it, if he had traveled in time? My etchings are my own version of the answer, without the pretension to compete with the old master.”

Drawing from his experiences living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border Chagoya juxtaposes secular, popular, and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States and Latin America. He uses familiar pop icons to create deceptively friendly points of entry for the discussion of complex issues. Through these seemingly harmless characters Chagoya examines the recurring subject of cultural clash that continues to riddle contemporary life. Chagoya’s recent work addresses issues on immigration and the economic recession, as seen in his impressive accordian folded print Illegal Alien’s Guide to the Concept of Relative Surplus Value from 2009.

These works are on view through the courtesy of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University.