I have had the pleasure of participating in the National Museum of Mexican Art's Day of the Dead exhibits on 3 previous occasions. The past exhibits in which I was involved were very "traditional" in content displaying a large variety of altars (ofrendas), as well as paintings, and sculptures, honoring the memory of the deceased.
Día de Muertos: A Spiritual Legacy is just as traditional, yet inspired by the Mesoamerican shaft tombs in which individuals were buried with objects and gear for the next life. While the exhibit has ofrendas, and other works of art typically displayed in Day of the Dead exhibits, it also includes work with a slight variation. In my opinion, this work approaches the subject matter from the viewpoint of the departed by specifically exploring the question, "What would you take with you when you die?" Thirty artists were invited to participate—we were all given a “veliz”, a suitcase, to use in any way we desired in response to the question posed.
The exhibit opened Friday, September 21, and will continue through December 9, 2018. Hope you can see the exhibit and support the National Museum of Mexican Art.
About the Piece
Personally, I do not believe that when I die, I will simply cease to exist and although this belief is viewed as naïve by many, I have faith that when I take my last breath, my spirit will leave my body and instantly be in heaven with my memory intact—memories of my life and of those I have loved. Therefore, in response to the question: “What would you take with you when you die?”, I would take 3 intangibles: faith in my God’s promise of eternal life, memories of events and experiences of my life here on earth, and finally, love for family and friends.
P.S. Special thanks to my brother Javier Acevedo, for helping me with power tool “challenges”, or my ineptitude.
Here are more photos of my solo exhibit, Fragmentos: Pilar Acevedo, which was curated by the incredibly talented, Dolores Mercado, Associate Curator of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, Illinois. The exhibit ran from January 16, 2014 through July 13, 2014. I am extremely honored to have exhibited at this fabulous museum because:
Today, the National Museum of Mexican Art stands out as one of the most prominent first-voice institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States. We are home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, including more than 7,000 seminal pieces from ancient Mexico to the present.
Thanks to Staci Rybacek, I have some marvelous shots of my solo exhibit, Fragmentos: Pilar Acevedo at the National Museum of Mexican Art. The exhibit, which was curated by the very talented Dolores Mercado ran from January 16, 2014 through July 13, 2014. (Slide show)
Here is a sneak preview of some of my art, which will be in Fragmentos: Pilar Acevedo. This exhibit, which was curated by Dolores Mercado, will be at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago through July 13th, 2014. There will be a formal opening on Thursday, January 16, 2014, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm; however, it will open to the public on Thursday, December 26, 2013.
It is important to note that the formal opening on January 16 will be for three different exhibits: Galería sin Fronteras,
As Cosmopolitans & Strangers, and Fragmentos.
I hope to see you there!
National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 West 19th Street
Chicago, IL 60608
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; closed on Mondays and on major holidays
This piece is a manifestation of a sketch I drew of a woman tossed in a desolate field, accompanied and comforted by an angel. I found the idea of the angel appealing but wanted something more powerful, consequently it became a disembodied angel’s head on a box – a “talking head” communicating by visual means. He is disembodied because he is spirit, not flesh.
The piece is an interactive assemblage employing found objects, an oil painting, and a papier-mâché and paper pulp sculpture. The box, which supports the angel’s head and wings, is a found object.
The box’s door is of non-glare Plexiglas selected because it provides a slightly blurry view when an image isn’t directly beneath it. Inlaid in the Plexiglas is a round magnifier, which is intended to draw the viewer closer for a detailed examination of what lies on the back surface – an oil painting based on my initial sketch of a partially nude female, lying in a field, surrounded by skulls. The difference between my painting and sketch is that rather than being comforted by an angel, the woman is being groped by a demon – symbolic of the killer(s) responsible for murdering over 450 females in Ciudad Juárez. The door can be opened for a closer unhindered view.
Beneath the door is a drawer, which serves two purposes. First, it represents a coffin. The handle is a nostalgic object – a Lucite pendant with a single rose symbolizing the flower often tossed on the coffin by each family member and friend before burial. Within the drawer is a collage of deconstructed words, which physically describe many of the murdered girls and women, i.e., cejas: gruesa y arquedas, nariz: mediana, tipo: afilada, cabello: castaño obscuro, etc. The words are deconstructed to symbolize the physical mutilation of many of the women and girls.
Next, while researching this subject matter, I read that some maquiladoras hired female employees because of their manual dexterity and because their small hands allowed them to easily assemble electronics parts, which are often enclosed in small spaces. Since so many of the women were employed at maquiladoras, it inspired me to place, in this small space, 27 hand bones (replicas). The bones are labeled in Spanish and English, with what the murdered women were to family, friends and people in the community i.e., hija, hermana, nieta, sobrina, prima, amiga, esposa, novia, mujer, niña, empleada, etc. This piece was part of Rastros y Crónicas: Women of Juárez, a group exhibit curated by Dolores Mercado and Linda Xóchitl Tortolero at the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) in Chicago from October 16, 2009 - July 4, 2010.
Thank you to my pops, Horacio Q Acevedo, and my brother, Horacio F Acevedo (Chito) for lending me a hand with the hardware. I am sadly power tool deficient.
Rastros y Cronicas: Women of Juarez Exhibit – Co-Curated by Dolores, Mercado and Linda Xochitl Tortolero. To view a video about the issue, link to: http://vimeo.com/7595547 – Women of Juarez by Matthew Cunningham.