Xican-a.o.x. Body

On view Saturday, June 17, 2023 through Sunday, January 7, 2024

The first major art exhibition to examine influential works that foreground the Brown body as a site to explore, expand, and complicate traditional conceptions linked to Mexican, Mexican American, and Xicanx experiences launches its national tour at The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum on June 17, 2023. Organized by The American Federation of Arts (AFA), Xican–a.o.x. Body weaves a rich tapestry of diverse media, from the late 1960s through today, including Lowrider cars, poetry, pottery, painting, photography, sculpture, and film. Consisting of approximately 125 artworks by about 70 artists and artist collectives, Xican–a.o.x. Body will be on view at The Cheech in Southern California through January 7, 2024.

Xican–a.o.x. Body adds complexity to understandings of Chicanx art and culture by exploring the visual practices that foreground the body as the site in which imagination and political enunciation are articulated. The artists in the exhibition celebrate the creativity of decolonized political personas that are playful, unapologetic, and irreverent. These multidisciplinary perspectives erase any presumed hierarchy between popular art and what has traditionally been thought of as “high art.”

Shining new light on traditionally overlooked and underrepresented artists who are shaping contemporary art, Xican–a.o.x. Body emerges at the intersection of vanguard artistic practices and the notion of Xicanisma, a vital and inclusive concept that developed in the 1990s out of the historical lineage of the 1960s Chicano Civil Rights Movement. Xicanisma amplifies the original Chicano calls for self-determination of ethnic, political, and cultural identity through greater acknowledgement of indigenous roots, intersectional identities, and feminism. While the multiplicity inherent in this term is central to the project’s organizing concept, the exhibition proudly includes the work of artists who identify in myriad ways—including Mexican American, Chicana/o, Xicanx, Latinx, and Brown.

Artists in Xican–a.o.x. Body include Laura Aguilar, Celia Álvarez Muñoz, Asco, Mario Ayala, Judith F. Baca, Alice Bag, Nao Bustamante, William Camargo, Barbara Carrasco, Mel Casas, Isabel Castro, Yreina D. Cervantes, Enrique Chagoya, Liz Cohen, Cyclona, Vaginal Davis, Sandra de la Loza, rafa esparza, Justin Favela, Christina Fernández, Diane Gamboa, Maria Gaspar, Ken Gonzales-Day, Jay Linn Gomez, Fabian Guerrero, Ester Hernández, Luis Jiménez, Alma López, Yolanda López, James Luna, Patrick Martínez, Delilah Montoya, Marcos Raya, Shizu Saldamando, Tamara Santibañez, Sylvia Salazar Simpson, John Valadez, Patssi Valdez, Ricardo Valverde, José Villalobos, and many others.

Xican-a.o.x. Body is organized by the American Federation of Arts. The exhibition is co-curated by Cecilia Fajardo Hill with Marissa Del Toro and Gilbert Vicario. Major support for the exhibition and catalogue is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

IMAGE: “Hot Pink (still)” by Patssi Valdez, 1980-1983. Digitized 35 mm video, color, sound. Courtesy the artist and American Federation of Arts