Alejandro Diaz: Words for White Walls: New York

May 11 - July 8, 2022
  • Alejandro Diaz
    Quality, 2012
    Alternating blinking neon on clear plexi
    39 x 10 x 3 in
    99.06 x 25.4 x 7.62 cm
    Edition 2 of 5 plus 2 AP
  • Alejandro Diaz: Words for White Walls is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Grounded in his Mexican American...

    The artist painting in his studio, 2022.
    Photo credit: Jay Smith

    Alejandro Diaz: Words for White Walls is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Grounded in his Mexican American heritage and South Texas aesthetics, Diaz presents a recent series of text-based paintings and prints as well as found object sculptures from the late 2000’s. Diaz will also showcase a series of cardboard signs, which he began making and selling on the streets of Manhattan in the late 1990s.

  • Based in New York, Alejandro Diaz was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas where he developed a unique and...
    Alejandro Diaz
    Enchiladas at the Plaza, 2003/2021
    Performance/intervention in which hand-painted cardboard signs were sold and distributed to passersby in Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue shopping district. The work consists of a photograph printed on aluminum and a cast resin acrylic painted sign
    27.5 x 18 in
    69.8 x 45.7 cm
    Edition 1 of 3 plus 2 AP

    Based in New York, Alejandro Diaz was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas where he developed a unique and pertinent body of work exemplifying the complex and visually rich cultural milieu particular to South Texas and Mexico. In both his artistic and curatorial practice Diaz has prioritized the inclusion and representation of lesser-known or rarely validated cultural expressions. His artwork is often tinged with humor, sometimes making self-deprecating jokes about the “seriousness” of artmaking, other times delivering biting socio-political commentary under the guise of light-hearted wit.

  • Since returning to painting in 2014, the artist’s recent body of paintings and prints rely on the ability of text...
    Alejandro Diaz
    80's Masterpiece, 2021
    Acrylic paint on canvas
    40 x 40 in
    101.6 x 101.6 cm

    Since returning to painting in 2014, the artist’s recent body of paintings and prints rely on the ability of text to conjure mental images. A moody red canvas inscribed with the lyric “A room in Mexico with enamel pink interior and red velvet furnishings” evokes the warmth, vibrancy, and eclecticism associated with Mexican architecture and interior design while “X-Rays of 80’s Masterpiece Reveal Seven Layer Dip Recipe” offers a humorous social critique on the sometimes silent, subtle integration of Mexican and American culture.

  • Alejandro Diaz
    A Room in Mexico, 2021
    Signed on the reverse
    Acrylic paint on canvas
    40 x 40 in
    101.6 x 101.6 cm
  • 'Often dealing with signage and subversion of popular phrases and sayings, Diaz’s humor effectively disarms his audience and allows an...
    Alejandro Diaz
    From the Series of Great Prints: Jerry Garcia, 2019-2020
    Archival color print on German etching paper
    36 x 36 in
    91.44 x 91.44 cm
    Edition 1 of 25

    "Often dealing with signage and subversion of popular phrases and sayings, Diaz’s humor effectively disarms his audience and allows an engagement in civil conversation regarding topics such as identity politics, racial divides and classism in his native South Texas and Mexico, and more broadly in the United States."

     

    - "Alejandro Diaz: Meet the Artist," Ruby City

  • Alejandro Diaz
    From the Series of Great Prints: Alexander, 2019-2020
    Signed and numbered lower right
    Archival color print on German etching paper.
    36 x 36 in
    91.44 x 91.44 cm
    Edition of 25
  • Other works might resemble newspaper headlines, logos, or redacted documents. Writer, curator and art historian Carla Stellweg writes, “Diaz’s decision...
    Alejandro Diaz
    Redacted Seven Layer Dip Recipe, 2021
    Acrylic paint on canvas
    20 x 24 in
    50.8 x 60.96 cm

    Other works might resemble newspaper headlines, logos, or redacted documents. Writer, curator and art historian Carla Stellweg writes, “Diaz’s decision to embrace painting resulted in a stunning body of work. The works are further strengthened by several suggestive or unassuming deadpan titles that reveal much of the artist’s mindset behind whatever the imagery turned into. They seem to reflect Diaz’s desire and dream of a journey to seek freedom, that of letting his hands and mind take off to encounter what may be next in store.”

  • Alejandro Diaz
    Democracy, 2019
    Signed on the reverse
    Acrylic paint on canvas
    40 x 40 in
    101.6 x 101.6 cm
  • A series of found object sculptures crafted in the late 2000s during the Great Recession evoke surrealist and post-conceptual art...
    Alejandro Diaz
    Please Do Not Touch, 2009
    Mexican clay pot, acrylic paint on cast resin sign, live cactus
    Pot with plant: 10 x 10 x 19 in, 25.4 x 25.4 x 48.26 cm
    Pedestal: 12x 12 x 48 in, 30.48 x 30.48 x 121.92 cm
    Edition 1 of 3 plus 2 AP

    A series of found object sculptures crafted in the late 2000s during the Great Recession evoke surrealist and post-conceptual art practices, speaking to the complex and irrational realities that accompany national crises. These concepts find relevance yet again in the Pandemic-era. Lost Our Lease features an empty Mexican birdcage and a miniature cardboard sign scrawled with the title. Ceci n’est pas une pipe reimagines René Magritte’s 1929 painting with a cardboard sign and candelabra.

  • On his use of high and popular art references Kathryn Kanjo, Director and CEO of the Museum of Contemporary Art...
    Alejandro Diaz
    Happiness is Expensive, 2020
    Acrylic paint on canvas
    36 x 48 in
    91.44 x 121.92 cm

    On his use of high and popular art references Kathryn Kanjo, Director and CEO of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego states, “Diaz deploys art historical references to critique not only visual culture but also socio-economic issues…Through such layered references, Diaz crafts works that are simultaneously sophisticated and shrewd. His is the gently subversive visual patois of a south Texas kid stepping into the grown-up world of high art.”

  • Alejandro Diaz
    Fiesta / Siesta, 2010-2022
    Alternating blinking neon on clear plexi
    26 x 11 in
    66.04 x 27.94 cm
    Edition of 5 plus 2 AP
  • Diaz's conceptual, campy, and political cardboard signs-which he began making and selling on the streets of Manhattan in the late...
    Alejandro Diaz
    Breakfast Tacos at Tiffany’s II, 2003/2021
    Performance/intervention in which hand-painted cardboard signs were sold and distributed to passersby in Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue shopping district. The work consists of a photograph printed on aluminum and a cast resin acrylic painted sign
    28 x 18 in
    71.12 x 45.72 cm
    Edition 1 of 3 plus 2 AP

    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. The cardboard sign series started when Diaz moved to New York City to study at Bard Curatorial Studies and work as an intern at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

  • The artist remarks, “In art school there are many things they don’t teach you but most importantly they don’t teach...
    Alejandro Diaz
    Breakfast Tacos at Tiffany’s, 2003/2021
    Performance/intervention in which hand-painted cardboard signs were sold and distributed to passersby in Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue shopping district. The work consists of a photograph printed on aluminum and a cast resin acrylic painted sign
    31.5 x 19 in
    80 x 48.26 cm
    Edition 1 of 3 plus 2 AP

    The artist remarks, “In art school there are many things they don’t teach you but most importantly they don’t teach you how to make a living… I did end up making a little extra cash but more importantly I discovered that through these signs I was able to engage with a broad public outside of the art world.” The cardboard sign series is ongoing and continues to evolve with some of the sayings now being produced in neon.

  • About the Artist