The first few weeks of the year are usually a dormant period at Art Access Gallery, but the curators felt the urgency of impending action by the Utah Legislature considering an Arizona-style immigration law. As a result, the gallery is mounting the exhibit Driven From the State: An Exhibit of Art and Ideas to confront the issue.
The artists’ joint statement pointedly reflects their views: “In 1838, the governor of Missouri ordered that Mormons be exterminated or driven from the state. They fled, first to Illinois, then to Mexico, becoming the first illegal immigrants in the Salt Lake Valley. Now, their descendants in the Utah Legislature debate a similar law.” Rather than offering an artistic polemic, the artists plan to create a visual dialogue providing an array of perspectives on the subject.
At the opening reception on Jan. 7, NPR contributor and author Scott Carrier (Running With Antelope) will present a radio piece he recorded with journalist Charles Bowden, a writer who has covered the U.S.-Mexico border and has contributed to Maxim and ESPN The Magazine. Journalist Chad Nielsen also is scheduled to read.
Organized by Nielsen, Jimmy Lucero and Alexander Ramos, the show features artwork by Juan Carlos Andrade, Mestizo Coffeehouse owner Ruby Chacón, Brittney Flores, Lucero, Lee Madrid, Nielsen, Carlos Perez, Veronica Perez and Alexander Ramos. Mestizo has previously shown several exhibits, including by Flores, which provided provocative perspectives about political issues like Chiapas.