Alejandro Diaz, San Antonio, Texas, b. 1963
Based in New York, Alejandro Diaz was born and raised in San Antonio, TX where he developed a unique and pertinent body of work exemplifying the complex and visually rich cultural milieu particular to South Texas and Mexico. Diaz’s conceptual, campy and political cardboard signs—which he began making and selling on the streets of Manhattan in the late 1990s—are emblematic of his recurrent use of everyday materials and his continuing involvement with art as a form of entertainment, activism, public intervention, and free enterprise.
In 2003, Diaz created a major installation for the Havana Biennial titled I (Heart) Cuba, an installation comprised of free souvenir items (tote bags, beach balls, postcards) emblazoned with the artist’s twist on the familiar New York City slogan, I (Heart) New York. Creating a platform for free enterprise, the souvenir items were distributed to the local Cuban community who in turn sold them to the Havana Biennial attending public.
Winner of the “In the Public Realm” competition in 2005, Diaz was commissioned by the Public Art Fund to create 4 large-scale sculptures/planters in the form of oversized Mexican grocery store canned products sited on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Standing in for the process of assimilation, the Mexican products Diaz chose to replicate were items that were rapidly becoming part of American mainstream culture.
In 2007 Diaz was the recipient of the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, and in 2008 Diaz was selected to participate in a group exhibition organized and exhibited at LACMA, Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement. The groundbreaking exhibition traveled to Mexico City, Houston, San Antonio, and New York City. Diaz has had a solo project at the critically acclaimed Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT (2009) with additional solo exhibitions at Jessica Murray Projects, NY (2001), the RISD Museum of Art, RI (2012), and the Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio, TX (2015).
Diaz’s work has been reviewed in publications such as the New Yorker, The New York Times, Art in America, the LA Times, Flash Art, Artforum, and Frieze. His work, among others, is in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum of Art, LACMA, El Museo del Barrio, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundación Colección Jumex, and The RISD Museum of Art.