Artpace debuts International Artists-In-Residence exhibitions in first in-person opening since 2020

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Iván Argote, Installation view of All Here Together, 2021. - COURTESY OF ARTPACE
  • Courtesy of Artpace
  • Iván Argote, Installation view of All Here Together, 2021.
On Thursday, local art lovers can return to Artpace for its first in-person opening reception since 2020.

The downtown space will debut three new exhibitions from its Summer 2021 International Artists-In-Residence Nao Bustamante, Iván Argote and Michael Menchaca. At the opening, the artists will join guest curator Pilar Tompkins Rivas in conversation at 6:30 p.m., followed by a performance by Bustamante at 8 p.m.



In "All Here Together," Iván Argote examines which people are given recognition and importance in the context of the ongoing removal of colonizer statues around the globe. Argote imagines a world in which community members are given this recognition instead, with an interactive installation that features a central pedestal intended for public use, with the hope of motivating visitors to become part of the installation.

Michael Menchaca, detail of The 1836 Project (Extended Widescreen Edition), 2021. The still is emblazoned with a message that was spray-painted on the Alamo Cenotaph in May of 2020. - COURTESY OF ARTPACE
  • Courtesy of Artpace
  • Michael Menchaca, detail of The 1836 Project (Extended Widescreen Edition), 2021. The still is emblazoned with a message that was spray-painted on the Alamo Cenotaph in May of 2020.
A San Antonio native, Menchaca confronts a similar legacy on a more local scale in "The 1836 Project (Extended Widescreen Edition)," a video installation that probes the Texas creation myth. The five-channel video projection across the gallery's walls features animated scenes that include figures and symbols specific to Texas history and its racist tropes. Unsurprisingly, the Alamo and its legacy make up a major component of Menchaca's examination of the false narratives that people and institutions have tied to the state's cultural symbols.



Additionally, this week Menchaca was named one of the Mellon Foundation's 2021 Latinx Artist Fellows, for which the artist will receive a $50,000 award.

Nao Bustamante, Gruesome History (video still), 2021. - COURTESY OF ARTPACE
  • Courtesy of Artpace
  • Nao Bustamante, Gruesome History (video still), 2021.
Bustamante's "BLOOM" centers on a medical device: the speculum. After a pelvic exam in 2011, Bustamante had the idea for a redesigned version of the gynecological device.

"I wondered why the medical industry cannot create a more comfortable apparatus for such basic procedures. I’ve often skipped the annual event out of my own avoidance of discomfort,” she said in a press release.

The installation's focal point is BLOOM, Bustamante's redesigned speculum, which is based on the design of an opening flower, with flexible petals contained inside a thin, condom-like sheath. Bustamante's take on the device is presented in contrast with a display of speculums currently used in medical practice.

"BLOOM" also includes the premiere of a video installation that takes the viewer into the "vagnasium," as well as ceramic pieces made by community members during a workshop accessing the "vaginal imaginary."

After the Thursday opening, the exhibitions will remain on view through September 5.

Free, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, July 15, Artpace, 445 N. Main Ave., (210) 212-4900, artpace.org.


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