Art League Houston (ALH) presented The Writing on the Wall, an installation of artwork by Alice Leora Briggs (based in Tucson, Arizona) and text written by Julián Cardona and Briggs (Cardona is based in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico). This show focuses on an ongoing body of work addressing border politics in the city of Juárez, and features artwork created by Briggs in conjunction with her projects with reporter and photojournalist Julián Cardona. Tia Collection is honored to loan “Abecedario de Juárez”, “Gorge” and “La Última Cena” to this exhibition.
Thoughts from the artist
This exhibition, The Writing on the Wall, contains overlapping bodies of work that focus on the cocktail of frailty and strength that alternately sustains and destroys our humanity. It is not a new idea. We have been drinking and swimming through this cocktail for centuries. I work in my local landscape, la frontera, the border between Mexico and the United States. My work is also grounded by time and care spent in Juárez beginning in 2008.
The works in this exhibition provide a glimpse of my longstanding effort to make a record of the time and place in which I find myself. I hope that a group of portraits of my dear friend, Julián Cardona, provide some sense of his earnestness and of the intensity of our collaboration on an upcoming book that catalogues the memories, experiences, and invented words of the people of Ciudad Juárez when President Felipe Calderón sent 10,000 federal forces into Ciudad Juárez. Perpetrators of the ensuing rise in violence worked for the Mexican government, but in many cases they also labored for cartels.
video: Ronald L. Jones, music: Guadalupe Rocha, Courtesy of Art League Houston
2020 Guggenheim Fellowship Winner in Fine Arts
This year, Alice Leora Briggs was awarded the prestigious fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. The Foundation offers Fellowships to further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color, or creed. The Foundation receives approximately 3,000 applications each year. Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. Her investigations into human frailties have generated thousands of drawings, woodcuts, letterpress books, broadsides, and site-specific architectural installations. These works have been featured in over forty solo exhibitions and are included in over thirty-five public collections, including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Library of Congress, University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
The people of Ciudad Juárez, who tell their stories in these pages, are neither composite nor fictional characters. A few gave permission to publish their first and last names. Others are identified by nicknames known only among their friends and families. A small number did not want not to be named at all. They share memories of their experiences between 2006 through 2012, years when the streets of their city exploded with violence, years when President Felipe Calderón sent ten thousand federal forces into Ciudad Juárez.