New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Mexican Voices - At Home and Abroad

Mexico + Afuera: Contemporary Mexican and Mexican-American Voices
Dulce Pinzón, “Bernabe Mendez” Superhero series, 2007

In the exhibition “Mexico + Afuera: Contemporary Mexican and Mexican-American Voices,” an En Foco collaboration with Aperture, three emerging photographers explore the modern identity and social paradigms of the Mexican culture.

Featured artists, Chuy Benitez, Dulce Pinzón and Monica Ruzansky use different techniques to capture their personal insider’s view of their culture. Benitez uses panoramic landscapes, stitched together, to create tableaus of every day life in the Hispanic communities of Houston, Texas, where he and his family reside. His subject matter puts forth the examination of the transforming human landscape of Houston, over the last 25 years, whose Hispanic population is the fourth largest in the United States.

Pinzón’s agenda is heavier handed as she pays “homage” to the “unnoticed” Mexican immigrants, who labor quietly and diligently, weaving themselves into the New York workforce. Like so many immigrants before them, these laborers are altering the current cultural landscape. In the selections from her “Superheroes” series, she depicts Mexican workers as the costumed crime fighters of the comic world. Standouts include the nanny dressed as Cat Woman surrounded by two children and the construction worker dressed as The Thing from Fantastic Four, using a jack hammer on a demolition site. Her colors are super saturated, adding to the profound messages of the comical situations.

Lastly is Ruzansky’s nighttime photography in Mexico City. Her approach uses the headlights of cars to illuminate the scenes. This effect places the subject in a mysterious arrangement, creating a feeling of voyeurism. Capturing young girls skipping in skirts, with little black shoes and dirty white knee high socks or a young couple embracing on the sidewalk, Ruzansky creates mood and playfulness. It feels as if a teenager was romping around with a camera taking snaps of strangers and running before getting noticed.

Whether the political or social agenda was intentional, coincidental or enveloped by the poise of fine art photography, each of these emerging artists have embraced their culture and are finding their voice in photography to shine a light on today’s situation for the Mexican and Mexican-American through art.

 by unidentified photographer.
Monica Ruzansky, “Hey Baby” De Noche series, 2006/2010

Mexico + Afuera: Contemporary Mexican and Mexican-American Voices

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Thursday, September 16 to
Thursday, October 21, 2010
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