Mextasis Featured Mexican American Voices At Bushwick Open Studios

Andrew Karpan


Mextasis was among the events opening doors for Bushwick Open Studios last weekend.

This particular exhibition was run by Olivie Ponce at his studio – a small, erstwhile storefront on a corner of Cypress Avenue. It was a celebration of art made between borders by Mexican and Mexican-American artists, like Ponce.  

This is the second time Ponce has held the exhibition, after a successful run in 2016. The twin slogans of Ponce’s show were “Do You Like Art?” and “Se Habla Arte Mexicano” which means We Speak Mexican Art. Together they suggest that art is inextricable from the lives of the artists who make it.

Sofia Abraham, one of the six featured artist, exhibited a short film about makeup this past weekend.

Putting herself in a telenovela was a spur-of-the-moment decision for the visual artist. Makeup videos are a way of putting yourself into something both intimate and self-consciously public: both the self you put on in the morning and the self you broadcast to others.

In “I’ve always wanted to be a telenovela” Abraham does exactly both of these, but instead of showing observers a correct way of applying makeup, she applies the grainy imagery from the exuberant television dramas she watched in her youth, before coming to New York for SVA. Her own short film version, no longer than three minutes, felt immediately surreal, one world was clouding delicately over another.  

The particularity of Ponce’s show sets itself apart from other shows.  Like Abraham’s visual piece, the work Ponce selected straddles cultural lines with ease. In one of Ponce’s own works on display, scripted colloquial Spanish profanities took on the form of the gothic font of gang tattoos. A nearby silkscreen depicted a head split with faces from Mexico City’s political turmoil, which here in Bushwick felt like a  dispatch from afar.

The most visually charged piece of the show was Alejandra Zermeño’s “La Separación” or The Separation, a triptych of life-sized sculptures with bodies that displayed ominous holes where hearts should have been. Brooding but colorful, Zermeño’s work exemplified the show’s optimistic energy.

For more information on Mextasis, check out their website.

Photos by Andrew Karpan

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