Gustavo Artigas, an artist born in Mexico City, where he continues to live, engages in social and institutional critique with accessible, poetic works that sometimes call for actual participation and always elicit a stance or at least a personal inquisition from viewers. Through various models such as games and polls, Artigas explores how abstract notions like borders and social contracts affect reality. Rules of the Game, 2000, and Vote for Demolition. Fort Worth, 2013, both in the Modern’s special exhibition México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990, are prime examples of the power an artist can wield with seemingly simple gestures that lure viewers before posing challenging questions on roles and attitudes within society. Euridice Arriata writes for BOMB magazine, “A significant part of the power of Artigas’s projects lies in their emphasis on process rather than finished product. His projects are the result of a studied interaction with a specific location and its local residents, whether in Mexico City, Cuba or Johannesburg. We’re firmly gripped by the delicate balance Artigas maintains—between heavily codified performances whose underlying explosive chaos is barely contained and the sheer beauty of the vestiges of these live events.”
Such contributions have brought Artigas international recognition and a vast exhibition record, including the 2007 Lisbon Architecture Triennial, the 49th Venice Biennale, and inSITE 2000.
For Tuesday Evenings at the Modern, Gustavo Artigas presents “Constructing (backwards),” not only a spectacular finale for this season’s lectures, but also the greatly anticipated announcement of polling results for Vote for Demolition. Fort Worth, which includes the virtual demolition of Fort Worth’s chosen architectural eyesore. In addition to this virtual implosion, Artigas shares public pieces developed in the last five years to put the Modern’s piece in context and to give a sense of the trajectory of a fascinating career.