Impure Beauty

Ruben Ortiz-Torres

Press Release

Rubén Ortiz-Torres
Impure Beauty

Gallery 400
Chicago, IL
May 6–June 14, 2003

Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 7, 2003, 4-7pm
Closing Performance: Saturday, June 14, 2003, 2pm

From May 6 to June 14, Gallery 400 is proud to present Impure Beauty the premier Chicago exhibition by noted Mexican-born, Los Angeles-based artist Rubén Ortiz-Torres. Juxtaposing unexpected versions of customized cars with austere monochrome paintings, Impure Beauty explores multiple routes of exchange between high aesthetics and vernacular culture.

Impure Beauty includes a lowrider-influenced customized riding lawnmower with accompanying video, a series of prints that contrast bullfight goring with demolition derby collisions, and a toy pedal-driven Mercedes.

The exhibition also premieres P2-3D, a 17-minute 3D video collaboration by Rubén Ortiz-Torres and Yoshua Okon, that depicts a philosophizing muffler shop owner, inventor, and museum creator.

The closing event on Saturday, June 14 will include a performative demonstration of the customized lawnmower, as well as the premiere of a new musical piece scored for lawn tools, composed by the artist's composer sister. Performers to be announced.

Born in Mexico City in 1964, Rubén Ortiz-Torres lives and works in Los Angeles and Mexico City. He studied visual arts and graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas, UNAM, in Mexico City. In 1990, he obtained a Fulbright scholarship to study at the California Institute of the Arts, where he received an MFA.

His work has been exhibited internationally in such exhibitions as Departures: 11 Artists at the Getty, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2000); Distant Relations/Cercanias Distantes/Clann I Gcein, Museo de Arte Garrillo Gil, Mexico City (1997); The 10th Sydney Biennial, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (1996); Thinking Print, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City (1996); Points of Entry: Tracing Cultures, Ansel Adams Center for Photography, San Francisco, CA (1995); Xicano Ricorso: A Thirty-Year Retrospect from Aztlan, a media arts program at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1994); and inSITE97, San Diego. Ortiz-Torres's solo exhibitions include Desmothernismo, Huntington Beach Art Genter, Huntington Beach, CA (1998) and ChiL.A.ngo, Centro Cultural la Raza, San Diego (1993), among others. His films and videos have additionally been included in numerous international film and video festivals.