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Rafa Esparza

Graduate Lecture Series

April 24th, 2019
Lecture: 7 p.m.
SME 149, Structural & Materials Engineering Bldg., UC San Diego

Facebook Event

Free and open to the public.

Rafa Esparza’s recent installations have centered largely on the making of adobe bricks, produced in collaboration with the artist’s father and others in the area of northeast Los Angeles surrounding the Los Angeles River. The brick-making technique employed by Esparza is used throughout Mexico, and notably it was the method his father used to build his first house in Mexico before he immigrated to the United States. Adapting this material to the conditions of exhibition and display is part of a broader tendency that Esparza engages throughout his practice. The artist’s work in this arena considers the many forms of evolution within local and indigenous cultural production that have taken place alongside and adjacent to the narratives of Western art, including histories of sculptural installation and performance. For the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Rafa Esparza built a rotunda out of adobe bricks made by hand from a combination of clay, horse dung, hay, and water from the Los Angeles River, describing the experience of working with adobe as “building up a space out of brown matter.”

Esparza has performed in a variety of spaces including AIDS Project Los Angeles, Highways Performance Space, REDCAT, Human Resources, SOMArts, Vincent Price Museum, LACE and various public sites throughout Los Angeles. He is a recipient of an Emerging Artist 2014California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, a 2014 Art Matters grantee, and a 2015 recipient of a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant.

Biography text from Artspace, via the Hammer Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Image credit: Rafa Esparza, Building: A Simulacrum of Power, 2014, performance documentation at Bowtie Parcel, Los Angeles. Courtesy: the artist and Clcokshop, Los Angeles; photograph: Dylan Schwartz