The multidisciplinary exhibition Xican–a.o.x. Body focuses on the formative and hugely influential contributions to contemporary art made by Chicanx (Gender neutral and queer inclusive of Chicano/a) artists working in the United States from the 1970s to the present. This exhibition, which features more than 200 works of art by approximately 80 artists, aims to add complexity to understandings of Chicanx art and culture by exploring the conceptual and experimental nature of visual practices that foreground the body as the site in which imagination and political enunciation are articulated.
The central theme of Xican–a.o.x. Body is the artists’ use of the “brown body” to assert acts of political resistance against mainstream Western European and American cultural codes that have tended to reduce the Chicanx narrative to one that is marginal and secondary, grounded in racist conceptions of a minority population that lacks contemporary art currency. Chicanx artists’ self-representation affirms the uniqueness and relevance of their projects and their integral place in contemporary art. When the body is made an active element of resistance against institutionalization, it is empowered beyond the limits of stereotypical identity definitions. This exhibition, like the art that comprises it, goes against the idea of the stereotype without refusing specificity. Included are artists whose practices counter the misrepresentation and invisibility of Chicanxs. The exhibition proposes to start from the idea of a politicized body and expand through different thematic confluences and artworks to the collective body.
In a historical moment in which current political discussions about Chicanx and Latinxs’ rights in the United States are clouded by pervasive racist rhetoric, we need more than ever to promote Latinx art in its rich multiplicity to dispel misconceptions about these cultures. As the title indicates, this exhibition defies closed definitions of Chicanx art, reflecting its dynamic and ever-expanding complexity and incorporating artists who have developed their work in dialogue with Chicanx culture.
For more information, see American Federation for the Arts.