Splendid Little War

Exhibition: Dec 10, 1998 – Jan 17, 1999


At Artpace, Rodriguez-Diaz presents two visual environments exploring issues of colonialism and representation titled “Splendid Little War.” In the gallery the artist has painted the walls black and showcases two large-scale, chalk-drawn murals. In the tradition of political muralists, Rodriguez-Diaz collages images drawn from diverse historical and cultural sources, including maps of The Caribbean and Mexico, The Virgin of Guadalupe, the Taco Bell Chihuahua, Uncle Sam, and the Alamo. A curtain of pennies divides the space from the adjacent courtyard. The artist asks that visitors leave pennies in the soldier helmets in the gallery space to benefit San Antonio’s Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.

On the Exterior, Rodriguez-Diaz used a façade of ArtPace’s building as a canvas for an enormous electric mural. A self-portrait, constructed of thousands of colored light bulbs, flashes the message “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t.” This experimental public art work injects accessibility and humor into a social commentary on cultural history and representation. Acknowledging the centennial anniversary of signing the Treaty of Paris, the piece was illuminated every evening at 6:00 P.M.

-Alexander Gray

Curators

Mary Beebe

San Diego, California, USA

Mary Beebe is the Director of the Stuart Collection, the University of California, San Diego.

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Anthony Jones

New York, New York, USA

Anthony Jones is Rector and Vice-Provost at the Royal College of Art in New York.

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Richard Koshalek

Los Angeles, CA

Richard Koshalek is the Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

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Lowery Sims

New York, New York, USA

Lowery Sims is the Associate Curator of 20th Century Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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Dianne Vanderlip

Denver, Colorado, USA

Dianne Vanderlip is the Curator of 20th Century Art at the Denver Art Museum.

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Benito Huerta

Houston, Texas, USA

Benito Huerta is an independent critic and artist in Houston, Texas.

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