“There is something about Mexico. An overall hidden concealed violence about the landscape itself. Many artists and writers have gone to Mexico and been completely destroyed, you know . . . So you have to be very careful when you go to Mexico so that you are not caught up in this—in any of this kind of unconscious, dangerous violence that is really lurking in every patch of earth”
—Robert Smithson (1970)
Gallery 400 is pleased to present a performance of Please Don’t Bury Me Alive! by Anthony Romero and Josh Rios as part of the Latino Art Now conference.
As a performative lecture, Please Don’t Bury Me Alive! moves back and forth between two presenters. The first performer reenacts Robert Smithson’s Hotel Palenque artist talk, initially delivered to graduate students at the University of Utah in 1970. Smithson’s ruminations about art, architecture, and Mexico are paired with historical photographs of San Diego’s Chicano Park. The discord and resonance between the two mirror the fractured associations between modernity and coloniality. The second reader enacts an abridged and rewritten version of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. In an attempt to complicate the social implications of waiting, the re-written play is set in an unnamed detention center along the US-Mexico border. Throughout the monologue the main character contemplates the nature of confinement, the imminence of torture, and the effects of delay on the racialized subject. Over the course of Please Don’t Bury Me Alive! the restaged artist lecture and modified play cross paths in unlikely ways, drawing attention to the role movement, migrations, Mexico, colonialism, and imaginative mytho-historical interventions play in the Othering and rethinking of Modernsim’s legacies.
Anthony Romero and Josh Rios are educators, artists, and cultural critics. Their performances, 2 and 3 dimensional works, curatorial projects, installations, writings, and screenings deal with the key experiences of being US citizens of Mexican origin. Their practice centers on contemporary Chicana/o aesthetics and elided histories, and the larger themes of US-Mexico relations. Their performances and projects have been most recently featured at the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Texas State University, Art in these Times, Andrea Meislin Gallery, Harold Washington College, Stony Island Arts Bank, and Sector 2337.
This event, part of the Latino Art Now conference, is free and open to the public.