de los otros

José Villalobos

Exhibition: Jan 14 – Jul 18, 2021

Artpace is pleased to announce  de los otros, the first exhibition of 2021 in the Main Space gallery, featuring José Villalobos’s work. While Artpace is closed for appointments, the exhibition will be visible from N. Main Ave. beginning Thursday, January 14, 2021.

Jose Villalobos’s artwork utilizes objects connected to his Norteño culture to challenge toxic masculinity and the marginalization of queer bodies. de los otroscontinues his practice of exploiting items related to his cultural heritage to draw attention to its issues.  

For this exhibition, Villalobos follows the story of a gay bracero worker, Porfirio, to reacknowledge and empower queer voices that are constantly erased from history. “Being queer and coming from a lineage of bracero workers…this history is important to who I am today,” says Villalobos. “It is important to who I will be in the future, as an artist, defying erasure.”  

Porfirio was a part of the Bracero Program in the 1940s, initially formed as the Mexican Farm Labor Agreement. He was known to be one of de los otrosor one “of the others,” a term used to marginalize gay men and women. Like many men and women at that time, Porfirio was harassed due to his sexual orientation, an experience many people today can still relate to. “Constantly being bullied and being told how to exist is something that we still face today,” said Villalobos, “especially those in BIPOC communities.” 

Utilizing made and found objects, de los otros will feature a sculptural installation resembling the bracero farmworkers’ living and sleeping quarters. An integral part of the exhibition is a to-be-scheduled live performance at Artpace. 

Photo Credit: Beth Devillier

This exhibition has been made possible with the generous support of the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture, the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation of the San Antonio Area Foundation, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. 


José Villalobos

El Paso, Texas / San Antonio, Texas, USA

José Villalobos is known for artistically protesting culturally-accepted traits of toxic masculinity through performance, installation, sculpture, drawings, and fashion. Villalobos grew up on the US/Mexico border in El Paso, TX, and was raised in a traditional conservative family. His work reconciles the identity challenges in his life, caught in between traditional Mexican customs and American mores, as well as growing up with religious ideals that conflict with being gay. In his work, he confronts the derogatory terms and attitudes with which Villalobos continues to withstand today. The root of Villalobos’s work lies in the performativity of his identity. His accoutrements are proud connections to his heritage but are also reminders of the hate and homophobia that he has had to endure. Villalobos recently earned a Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptures grant and residency and is also a recipient of the Tanne Foundation Award. His work was featured in the nationally recognized exhibition, Trans America/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today at the McNay Art Museum. Villalobos has exhibited and performed at the Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, TX; El Paso Museum of Art, TX; El Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; among other institutions and galleries nationwide.

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