The Rubin Center embraces its location at the epicenter of the Americas. We work closely with visiting artists from around the world, and with local partners in both El Paso and Juarez to use contemporary art as a platform for understanding our special place at the international border between Mexico and the United States. Partner institutions in Juarez have included the Museo de Arte INBA de Ciudad Juárez, Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Proyectos Impala, Juarez Contemporary, the US Consulate in Juarez, and the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, particularly through its Institute of Art, Design and Architecture (IADA). Below you can find a selection of past projects that have had a presence on both sides of the border.
Passing, is the first solo exhibition of the artist Fiamma Montezemolo between the Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua and El Paso, Texas border, taking place in Proyectos Impala an art gallery inside a trailer truck (MX), and the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts (USA).
Montezemolo will present two installations that dialogue with each other across the border not only as a physical, political and militarily identified space in recent years as the biggest obstacle for thousands of immigrants, but into the geopolitical and metaphorical borders of language in a globalized world.
As part of the Passing collaboration, the Rubin Center will be hosting an installation of Neon Afterwards, an immersive installation in which 7 sentences, written in fluorescent LED blue light tubes, float at different heights in the dark space of a room. The sentences are extracted from the Borges' short story 'The Anthropologist (1969). In an adjacent room, 3 books containing the mentioned story are exhibited with the key LED sentences erased with a blue tape. The story is therefore disseminated in different spaces.
Volveré y Seré Millones is an ephemeral installation on the U.S.-Mexico border by artist Enrique Ježik. The project consists of the temporary installation of a simple, large-scale, white banner with the phrase Volveré y Seré Millones printed in black text. The banner is installed on the Mexican side of the border, but clearly visible to border patrol agents stationed just across the international boundary. It is additionally visible to border-crossers, including those being deported back into Mexico via international pedestrian bridges in clear view of the display.
The phrase "Volveré y Seré Millones” (I will return and I will be millions) was spoken by Eva Perón in the early 1950’s and subsequently popularized by left-leaning Peronist youth in Ježik’s native Argentina. But the origin of the phrase goes back much further into South American history, first attributed to Túpac Amaru II, an indigenous Peruvian leader who led a rebellion against the Spanish in 1781 and who was subsequently brutally executed by the Spaniards, drawn, quartered and beheaded in a public square, and his body parts scattered throughout the Peruvian state. It is said that before the executioner cut out his tongue, Amaru uttered the phrase in both Spanish and in the Kichwa language "Tikrashami hunu makanakuypi kasha" .
The artist has worked extensively with historical texts in recent years, re-contextualizing quotes from political and military sources to highlight parallels of violence and repression in modern society. In Volveré y Seré Millones, Ježik re-appropriates this emblematic slogan from Latin American history, siting it in the contemporary landscape of the U.S.-Mexico border. In doing so he connects the forced repatriation of undocumented immigrants to centuries of popular struggle and resistance in the continent.
The project is jointly sponsored by the Rubin Center and Juarez-based Proyectos Impala. The inaugural installation took place December 1-3, 2017 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua and Ciudad Acuña and Piedras Negras in Coahuila. Future installations are planned for additional border cities including Nogales and Tijuana.
Desconocida Unknown Ukjent is an international art project by Norwegian artist Lise Bjørne Linnert that utilizes a mass collaboration, the stitching of nametags to protest the murder of women in Ciudad Juaréz, Mexico and in remembrance of similar crimes worldwide. Each participant in Desconocida Unknown Ukjent, embroiders two name tags; one carries the name of a murdered woman in Ciudad Juarez, the other the word Unknown in the participants own language and alphabet, memorizing victims of similar crimes globally.
The project began in 2005 and to date, more than 4800 people have embroidered close to 7900 labels in countries including the US, Australia, Philippines, Pakistan, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, France, UK, Israel, on Palestinian territory, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Poland and in all corners of Norway. The exhibition of the work in the Rubin Center’s atrium will be accompanied by a complementary exhibition in Ciudad Juarez, and a series of workshops on both sides of the border.
Conectarte 2012: Arte en Diálogo con la Ciudad (Art in Dialogue with the city) again brought together artists, collectives, cultural and theoretical promoters, and held at Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on April 20 and 21, 2012.
The event was organized by COLEF, the Rubin Center at UTEP and the IADA at UACJ, with the aim of bringing together artistic collectives, cultural promoters and artists from throughout Juarez to highlight the diversity of activity and to share common experiences.
The event includes topic specific workshops by local artists and academics, Pecha Kucha presentations by participating artist collectives, a discussion panel on the state of collective artistic practices in contemporary Juarez, roundtables, a plenary and closing tables.
There were two special guests invited to be keynote speakers in this event Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo from Parson School of Design who presented "In and of the Citys: Projects in Public Space", and Benjamín González Perez, from Faro de Oriente, Mexico City with "Alternative Artistic Spaces of Latin America".
The Conectarte organizing team continued working with this material throughout the year, presenting the results of the event in an academic conference at Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) and publishing a subsequent article with the same organization. They also continued building informal relationships with participating artists by attending arts and culture events organized by a wide variety of collectives, through organized participation in marches and protests against the violence, by organizing an exhibition of artwork by the collectives during El Paso's Chalk the Block festival in October and by beginning to research and write about the collectives, doing a series of qualitative interviews in the process. The collectives themselves continued to make art, engage with their communities, organize and promote cultural events for people of all ages and to build informal networks between local and national artists.
In April of 2011 the forum Conectarte, 10 years of Collectives and Community in Juárez was held, sponsored by the Institute of Architecture, Design and Art (IADA) of the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez. with the presence of 21 collectives that do artistic work in different disciplines and intervene in the streets and diverse communities of the city,
The keynote speaker of this first event was David Flores, founder of the Resizte collective in Ciudad Juarez. He presented a history of art collectives in the city, drawing from more than a decade of experience with young artists at the border, in particular those who come from street art, graffiti and mural movements.
To register for the conference, collectives had to fill out a brief survey that included information about their membership, the location of their activities within the city, the types of activities that the collectives realized, funding sources, and primary concerns. The conference began with a keynote address realized by David Flores, which looked at the history of collectives in Juarez over the previous 10 years. The second day of the conference included presentations by participating collectives where they briefly shared the history of their own work through words and images. The Conectarte working team presented the results of the survey to participating artists, and additionally led an interactive activity in which collectives pinpointed areas in the city in which they lived, conducted activities or had public artwork. It ended in a series of small group discussions on topics that included financing, educational workshops, resolving conflicts, professional development and artistic spaces.
Participating groups include were Resizte, Oxidados, Wagon, Jellyfish. There were also all female colectives including Morada Batallones Feminina, and individual artists connected to the movement including Melo, Rex and Waka Waffles, all who collaborate with various collectives throughout the city.
Supporting institutions and individuals for the first edition of Conectarte included coordinator of the UACJ arts program Fausto Gómez Tuena, Kerry Doyle, Director of the Rubin Center at The University of Texas at El Paso, the writer Willivaldo Delgadillo and the lecturer and audiovisual artist León de la Rosa.