2 for 99¢ showcases the artistic collaboration of Jim Mendiola and Rubén Ortiz-Torres, a relationship that began during their residency at Artpace San Antonio in 2001. While independently selected by Mexican curator Cuauhtémoc Medina residency, the two artists began to explore their mutual interest in history, popular culture, and monuments resulting in a multi-media installation. Their residency installation featured San Antonio’s most popular historic landmark, the Alamo, with a particular focus on the site’s multi-faceted personifications (a blend of myth, conquest, holy shrine, tourist site, and archeological site). The dialogue created in their Artpace residency exhibition continues to be ,a subject of contestation, where ideologies and histories continue to collide.
Since their residency at Artpace, both Jim Mendiola and Rubén Ortiz-Torres have continued to explore mainstream American histories, monuments, and the influence of Chicanos on pop culture in the United States. The artwork in 2 for 99¢ reflects Mendiola and Ortiz-Torres’ decades-long friendship and shared approach to storytelling, combining biting critique with wry humor. Throughout the space, the audience is presented with an array of mediums that mine moments of cultural exchange and the globalization of popular culture. Photographs by Ortiz-Torres’ are displayed frameless, sparing all pretense. The images were originally used as props in an early screenplay by Mendiola, which revolved around a Latina photographer documenting taquerias in and around San Antonio. The Mapping of the Mascot Genome is a collaborative series of digitally manipulated videos which blend baseball players and fans with cultural rivals Ballapeño and Puffy Taco; the official and unofficial mascots of the San Antonio Missions since 1989. Their mutual appreciation for the baseball stadium’s on-field antics showcases the celebration of Mexican American cultural icons.
Created across decades, the exhibit 2 for 99¢ weaves together photographs, video graphics, 3D immersion, and mural work that produces a masterful commentary of the that is at once poetic, disturbing, and hilarious.