Winter 1998 International Artist-in-Residence Program

Splendid Little War

About the exhibition

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

Other works in this cycle