Rafa Esparza talks about his Tierra. Sangre. Oro. exhibition with Kate Green at Artforum …
My interest in browning the white cube—by building with adobe bricks, making brown bodies present, and collaborating—is a response to entering traditional art spaces and not seeing myself reflected. This has been the case not only physically, in terms of the whiteness of those spaces, but also in terms of the histories of art they uphold.
Adobe bricks are loaded; they signify brownness, the land, and labor. They also reference my own history: my father’s practice of working with adobe and my experience of adobe brickmaking as a collaborative process. By building with adobe in galleries I am bringing all of this—and the muddy history of American soil, colonization, and progress—into a traditionally white context.
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