Ranging from quaint stereotypes of Mexican identity to current socio-economic and art world commentary, Alejandro Diaz’s text-based works and installations use language as a form of cultural critique and resistance. Conceptual and campy, his humor-infused politics and choice of everyday materials are emblematic of his ongoing involvement with art as a form of entertainment, activism, public intervention, and free enterprise. His projects take place outdoors on city streets as well as in galleries and museums.
In addition to iconic cardboard signs for which Diaz is best known, the exhibition features a number of new works. They range from individual sculptures made with found- or off-the-shelf materials to an architectural installation, the Diaz Art Foundation—a museum-within-a-museum displaying numerous objects from the artist’s own collection. The artist’s wit and irreverence draw us into his work, but below the surface are layered references to the history of art, class structure and social mobility, cultural identification, and other serious subjects.
Based in New York City since 1999, Diaz is originally from South Texas. In 1996, he founded Sala Diaz, an artists’ space located in a Mexican-American neighborhood in San Antonio, which continues to present exhibitions funded and operated by the local community. Diaz received a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.