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 otros continues 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 otros or 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.
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.