Join us for a conversation between Mexico City-based artist and activist Minerva Cuevas and Creative Time Chief Curator Nato Thompson about the effects of socially engaged art practices.
Social & Studio Conversations is presented by Graduate Studies at Moore in partnership with The Galleries at Moore. FREE ADMISSION - CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
It is impossible to separate Minerva Cuevas’ work as an artist from her social activism. Exploring different methods of intervening in the urban space as well as in museums and galleries, her work is complex and constantly evolving, both in form as well as content. Adapting to a variety of environments, she moves easily between various mediums: murals, painting, video, photography, installation, and graphic design – condemning the environmental and social consequences of global capitalism and advocating for equality through local action and the redistribution of monetary flow. Mejor Vida Corp (1998-2012) embodies much of her interest in the possibilities of overlapping art and activism, as well as her innovative and mischievous approach to subverting established societal codes. Mejor Vida Corp. is a non-profit organization founded by the artist that promotes and distributes services for free, with the aim of creating a small aperture within the rigorously policed and regimented systems of distribution and consumption. For example, as part of this project she created student I.D.s with her corporate logo so that viewers would be eligible for student discounts. She also created her own pirated bar codes to modify the prices of discount goods at grocery stores. The malleable nature of her practice allows her to appropriate the language of the establishment (branding, advertisement and commerce) while delivering a message of non-compliance and resistance. In a more recent work entitled Disidencia V 2.0 (2008-2010), Cuevas meticulously recorded the many demonstrations that took place near her studio in the center of Mexico City. Set to an original music score, the video functions as a broad anthropological investigation into the way political and social activism is experienced and expressed in present-day Mexico. Additionally, in many of her murals, paintings, and installations, she addresses the negative impact humans have on animals and the environment, advocating for a more just world in which the integrity of all living things is respected and valued.
Minerva Cuevas studied a BA in Visual Arts at Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas UNAM. In 2004 she attended the Artist Residency Edith-Ruß-Haus für Medienkunst Stipend, in Oldenburg, Germany after having made in 2003 the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst DAAD, Artist Residency in Berlin, Germany and in 1998 The Banff Centre for the Arts, Artist Residency in Alberta, Canada.
Her most important solo exhibitions include: Minerva Cuevas, Museo de la Ciudad de México, Mexico City (2012);Landings, Cornerhouse, Gallery 1, Manchester, United Kingdom (2011); SCOOP, Whitechapel Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2010); Minerva Cuevas, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Nederland (2008); Phenomena, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2007); On Society, MC Kunst, Los Angeles, United States (2007); Egalité 2007, Le Grand Café–Centre d’art contemporain, Saint Nazaire France (2007); Schwarzfahrer Are My Heroes, DAAD, Berlin Germany (2004); Mejor Vida Corp, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City Mexico (2000). Moreover, her work has been included in group exhibitions at institutions such as the Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporaneo, Museo Jumex, Mexico City Mexico (2013); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria (2013); Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris (MAM/ARC), Paris, France (2012); MUAC Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico (2011); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2010); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2010) San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, United States (2008) among others.
She has participated in various biennials, such as the Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, United Kingdom (2010); the 6th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin Germany (2010); the 9th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon France (2007); The Bienal do Mercosur, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2007); the 27th Bienal De São Paulo Brasil, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2006); the Tirana Biennale, Kompleksi–Goldi, Tirana, Albania (2005), and The 8th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (2003). Minerva Cuevas currently lives and works in Mexico City.
Nato Thompson joined Creative Time in January 2007. Since then, Thompson has organized such major Creative Time projects as The Creative Time Summit (2009–2015), Kara Walker’s A Subtlety (2014), Living as Form (2011), Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures (2012), Paul Ramírez Jonas’s Key to the City (2010), Jeremy Deller’s It is What it is (2009, with New Museum curators Laura Hoptman and Amy Mackie),Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), and Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007), among others. Previously, he worked as Curator at MASS MoCA, where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions, including The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004), with a catalogue distributed by MIT Press. His writings have appeared in numerous publications, BookForum, Frieze, Art Forum, Third Text, and Huffington Post among them. In 2005, he received the Art Journal Award for distinguished writing. For Independent Curators International, Thompson curated the exhibition Experimental Geography, with a book available from Melville House Publishing. His book Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century was published in 2015.