Thursday, March 7, 2019
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Addendum to Latinx Chapter of Marvin Carlson's Performance: A Critical Introduction Re: performance artist Xavier Lopez and Putoh performance. Please pass this information along to your Art Studio and Art History departments/Professors and especially any performance art professors or Latinx Art professors.
In 2016, I alongside a handful of others put on the very first Latinx Performance Art Festival--ever. In 2017, this was included in the latest edition of the book Performance: A Critical Introduction-- recent editions include me and the "Putoh Performance" art form that I created. I am sending out additional information to graduate programs that they may use in their classes.
Who is Xavier Lopez?
Xavier Lopez is a contemporary, Latino, conceptual, mixed media and performance artist. Lopez received his MFA from the University of California, Davis, where he created the theoretical/artistic thesis of the "Soft Cyborg." As a "Post-Pop Artist," he is part of a young group of artists who are seeking to move beyond contemporary mainstream art ideas, becoming post genre, mixing sculpture, performance art, theory, painting and anything else they can get their hands on to create something exciting and new. In 2016, allied with La Sala--a leading Latino Arts organization in Seattle, Washington, Xavier Lopez and Lauren Davis put together the very first Latinx Performance Art Festival. (They are currently planning more in the series.) Then in 2017, Xavier Lopez alongside Vicente Montanez were cited in the Routledge critical theoretical textbook "Performance: A Critical Introduction"--by Marvin Carlson in the third edition of his seminal work, as leading figures in the Latinx Performance Art movement, something for which they are extremely proud. This acts as supplemental material to the Routledge book and all material herein is verified and suitable to be used for course studies.
This, then is the final wording for the book "Performance: A Critical Introduction" straight from the pen of Marvin Carlson:
"The First Latinx performance venue was established in 2013, the Teatro Publico de Cleveland, and there is a growing body of theatre artists who specifically identify themselves as Latinx, headed by Xavier Lopez Jr. and Vicente Montanez. Lopez created the first festival of Latinx performance, held at the Good Arts center for experimental theatre in Seattle in 2016, in which Montanez performed. Lopez is also co-creator, with performance artist Katherine Adamenko of New York City, of Putoh performance, a melding of Chicano performance art and contemporary art inspired by Butoh."
Lopez is part of a new breed of Latinx artists for whom art-making, while still personal and autobiographical in the broadest sense, eschews the obvious tropes of masculinity, hegemony and race with very little regard for the overbearing visual, cultural history that has proven to be overpowering for so many artists of this age--especially artists of color. Instead, as an Hispanic artist, it has become clear to Lopez over the course of his thirty-plus year career that his work has focused on a more personal kind of conceptualism, centering on autobiography and his own set of obsessions, hopes and fears.
Lopez has shown artwork on both American coasts as well as in Germany, England and France, and he has come to be known for his own brand of lush, conceptual, post post-modern sculpture, especially his "sheet ghost" installations, flower Rorschachs, tin foil mountains, and, of course, his performance art.
As a child in the seventies, before Lopez even knew what art was, his father was in the Chicano Art Movement in Los Angeles and the younger Lopez would tag along to the "Mechicano" Art Centers of Southern California mentally devouring the exciting scenes of Chicano artists making political and historical work, expressing first-hand what it meant to be a "Chicano" in the seventies. Days would pass as he watched his father paint murals, all the while, day-dreaming of his own future. Lopez' parents often took their three children to the Los Angeles Museum of Art, where he saw Warhol's Brillo Boxes and his first conceptual sculptures.
Later, in college, his mind would be blown by the work of Marcel Duchamp and the later neoDadas. He has had many mentorships, receiving advice and encouragement from feminist Lynn Hershman, taking performance art classes from theorist Joanna Frueh, creating the "Putoh" art form with Katharine Adamenko, sneaking into Wayne Thiebaud's classes at UC Davis and arguing about art with critic Dave Hickey, but his biggest mentor of them all has been his sculpture instructor at the University of Nevada Reno, Robert Morrison, who taught him how to think for himself, how to weld and to work with his hands.
It was also at university that he began to notice a big difference between how his heroes made art and how he was expected to make art. When a Duchamp or a Beuys made their work it was about ideas, it was about their ideas and it reflected the way that they saw the world. With this realization, Lopez decided that he would take an oppositional stand and make art that came from his own personal experiences, that he would make work that was unique to his own, singular viewpoint and that above all else it would be art that was about ideas. From then on Lopez sought to make his own way as an individual artist, seeking to express his own view of the universe and to speak of his own personal issues, obsessions and desires. This has become a very important stance of liberation, which in and of itself is powerful and revolutionary.
Lopez career is a journey and a complex intellectual investigation--at the same time, however, it is not a refutation of difference, history or culture--as that is also a very important part of Lopez' (hi(s)tory--rather, Lopez work is about those areas where we come together, aware that we are not post-race and that his work is not either.
As an artist, Lopez' career has been multivalent, mixing sculpture, performance art, theory and painting, creating a body of work that is experimental and fierce--with the power of a slap to the back of the head. Lopez has been part of several high-profile art events at the Seattle Art Museum, 4Culture, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts & Culture and most recently he has worked with the Seattle Latinx organization "La Sala" for their "La Cocina" project where he put together and performed in the first ever night of all-Latinx performance art. He is a recipient of the prestigious 2016 Artist Up Grant Lab Award as well as several other grants, fellowships and commissions from various American cities.
Lopez is continually, growing and evolving. Fans of his work can always expect a sense of wonder, innocence and experience, but mostly a celebration of imagination and discovery that keeps drawing more and more viewers to play in the “Deep End” of his imagination. “I want viewers of my work to feel as they do just before going over the cliff at Splash Mountain, that feeling of elation, terror, excitement--all of it!”--he has said.
"My father was a muralist in the 1970's Los Angeles Chicano Art Movement, where amazing Mexican painters expressed what it meant to be "Chicano," in the museums I watched "European" artists sculpt and create performance art; both inspired me. As an undergraduate, Marcel Duchamp, influenced my now, mixed-media performances. At UCDavis, critical theory opened me up to incorporate queer, feminist and other identity discourses. There, I created two theoretical treatises, "Soft Cyborg," a variation on Haraway's "Cyborg" and "Putoh"--melding Japanese Butoh and Latino identity performance. In 2016, I created "On the Edge: Latinx Performance Art" the first all-Latinx performance art festival in Seattle, with organizational assistance from Lauren Davis (La Sala and Art Exchange Gallery.) I came to understand how profoundly new this concept was-worldwide, when Marvin Carlson named me and our event in Routledge's textbook "Performance: A Critical Introduction" becoming part of university curricula across the globe.
I am a conceptual, Latinx, performance artist, receiving my MFA from the University of California-Davis. Through performance I seek to push the boundaries of how we perceive the essence of ethnic/cultural/Latinx performance, to give voice to underrepresented groups and, moreover, to expand the language of marginalized performance and even to broaden access through guerrilla and drop-in performances. I am part of a new wave of Latinx artists intent on expanding the themes and expectations available to minority artists--making art that is individual--defying traditional expectations of collective identity. I choose personal materials, a collage of bed-sheets, tin foil and personal items in order to tell my stories. This is an important conceptual, performative and material shift that cannot be overstated. It is a stance of liberation, which defies traditional expectations and dares to say that individual lives of color matter; which in itself is powerful and revolutionary, problematizing racial, masculine, cultural and identity essentialism in an intellectual investigation which is in no way post-race.
As an example of my process, the performance "The Impossibility of Truly Understanding the Other;" exemplifies my praxis and my theories of what a Latinx theoretical movement would entail. Beginning with a theoretical, pro-feminist idea, influenced by Judith Butler and other feminist writers, my process then moves into a more personal tone centering around everything my mother gave up as a Latina woman. My work is multi-vocal and purely Latinx, refusing essentialist identity, as Marvin Carlson describes in his first description of our work before the most recent update in "Performance: A Critical Introduction," "There is a growing body of...artists who specifically identify themselves as Latinx, headed by...Xavier Lopez...These and others were featured in the first festival of Latinx performance, held at the Good Arts center...in Seattle... Latinx represents an important orientation in modern performance...concern(ed) with developing more inclusive and flexible attitudes toward designations of gender, race, and ethnicity."
I seek to engender, enlarge and expand the conversation of what Latina/x/o art is and what it can be. We live at a time in which definitions of race, masculinity, gender and art are changing, and through my performance I seek to be a voice in this change and to translate this mission into a body of work that is consistent with these goals.
What exactly is Putoh?
Putoh is a hybrid in every sense of the word. Putoh celebrates individuality and intersectionality. Invented in the year 2000 at the University of California Davis, it is a portmanteau of ideas, vision and philosophies. It is pre-Latinx and yet very much presages the current movement in many ways and Putoh may in fact be the first truly post-post modern movement of the new millennium. Linguistically, the term "Putoh" is a fusion of two languages, two words, but many ideas. Of course there is the Japanese Butoh, meaning, literally Dance, but also the Spanish-in this case-Mexican, gutter word Putoh, which has many meanings, but which has a very similar etymological history to the word "Punk" and it is in that spirit that the two words were married.
The performance form itself was created by a Chicano, pre-Latino, pre-Latinx, Mexican American and a Jewish Cuban woman. These two bringing their experiences and ideals to the artistic form. Both feminists, performance artists, university students and multimedia artists, Katherine Adamenko and Xavier Lopez came from very different backgrounds Xavier, a California Mexican American complete with a "Valley Girl" brogue and Katherine Adamenko New York City Jewish and Cuban/Spanish feminist performance artist with a huge personality were destined to create something that the world was not prepared for--something that refuses to be categorized, meshes forms and cultures, creating a Post-postmodern world of intersectionality and a multidisciplinary melding of art and performance.
Xavier Lopez' Website: https://xavierlopezjr.wixsite.com/into-the-deep-end
Video documentary overview of Xavier Lopez' performance art: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0MJ1azq19c&feature=youtu.be
Katherine Adamenko's Website: https://www.ladypants.com/
Attachments: Video Documentary overview of Xavier Lopez' Performance Art (Suitable for presentation in whole or in part and suitable for screen grabs.)
Various images of Xavier and Putoh performance
Xavier Lopez is available for interview, presentation, etc.,via his website at: https://xavierlopezjr.wixsite.com/into-the-deep-end/contact
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Saturday, July 15, 2017
After the Facts: Two career changing Installations - Message in a Bottle and Hope/Home. Seattle Center and Seattle Municipal Tower
Message in a Bottle...yeah!
This three month installation in the Poetry Garden at the Seattle Central was a hit from the first moment to the last! In this inatallation visitors were asked to leave anonymous messages to the future and place them in bottles that were hung from wires. Over the course of the installation, over three-thousand messages were left.