Friday, March 07, 2014


Aurora Installation re-post of my article

An estimated 35,000 people visited the Dallas Aurora event in the Arts District this year. One of the more impactful artists invited to show his work among the many other exhibitors was Angel Cabrales. I have had the pleasure of talking with him about his work at length over the years. I would like to share his insight and my take about this show and his career after his graduate studies.

Angel Cabrales follows a rich tradition of artists that make political and social statements. Take Goya’s The Shootings of May Third 1808, he passionately depicts the brutality and injustice of war. Where as Goya was of the age of Romanticism, Cabrales is in the age of irony, satire, and wit. Tools he applies to his work with mathematical precision. However, humor is only one entry point to underlying American cultural tragedies which Cabrales captures beautifully.

Take the issue of borders. At his home in El Paso, the wall between nations has only bred mistrust and resentment on both sides. Cabrales sees the playground as a place where children of all nationalities, race, or class can play together. The problem is that this kind of liberty is sacrificed in the name of false security. Cabrales’ newly fabricated playground has been fenced off, security cameras lord over the place, bright lights pollute the sky, and wires have been added to secure the playground. This repells and in most cases makes the playground unusable. Relationships have no way of being built in this kind of climate. These fences and security measures reflect a militaristic American attitude toward it’s Mexican neighbor. For the first time, Cabrales displayed his complete playground set, titled Juegos Fronteras. He has shown these works before in separate venues; once simultaneously in Mexico and the United States.

America declares war on everything. War on poverty, drugs, and terrorism, so it is no accident America would produce an artist obsessed with this kind of attitude and attempt to critique it. claiming that we were being invaded through our ‘porous border.’ So, in his current show at the Longview Fine Arts Museum, Cabrales made weapons to ‘defend the border.’ These are made to look like realistic toy weapons. His colorful candy grenades come with a case, light box display, which make the bombs imply a playful silliness, but also a deadly business like seriousness. Hopefully, not by accident, Longview has curated this work to look like an altar piece in a church to war. I also understand a border retaliation by Cabrales for the invasion is in the works. for more images

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