Groundbreaking 'Xicanx: Dreamers + Changemakers' exhibition opening in San Antonio

The show, featuring art works created between the 1970s and the present, will run through Oct. 6 at the Contemporary at Blue Star.

click to enlarge Judith F. Baca's Tres Marias Pachuca is among the works featured in the Xicanx exhibition at the Contemporary at Blue Star. - ©Judith F. Baca
©Judith F. Baca
Judith F. Baca's Tres Marias Pachuca is among the works featured in the Xicanx exhibition at the Contemporary at Blue Star.
Years in the making, the sprawling group show “Xicanx: Dreamers + Changemakers/ Soñadores + Creadores del Cambio” made its groundbreaking debut in 2022 at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia.

Now, it's landed in San Antonio for a four-month run at the Contemporary at Blue Star.

Co-curated by Jill Baird, curator of education at MOA, and Greta de León, executive director of the Americas Research Network (ARENET), the exhibition comprises works by 33 Mexican American artists from Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, New York and Texas — all of whom identify with the designation Xicanx. The exhibition will open Wednesday, June 12, and run through Sunday, Oct. 6.

Firmly rooted in the social activism of the 1960s-era Chicano Movement known simply as El Movimiento, the inclusive term Xicanx brings Indigenous pride and gender neutrality into the equation.

Encompassing works created between the 1970s and the present day, the exhibition is organized into five thematic chapters: Neighborhood/El Barrio, Borderlands/Regiones Fronterizas, Activism/Activismo, Home/El Hogar and Identity/Identidad.

Although the exhibition technically traveled here from Canada, it’s perhaps better to describe it as a homecoming thanks to an abundance of familiar works by San Antonio artists including Alejandro Diaz’s ever-timely neon sign Make Tacos Not War and César Martinez’s painting Bato con Sunglasses: El Mosco, to Ana Fernandez’s screenprint Claudia’s and Juan Miguel Ramos’ hyper-local card game Westside Lotería.

Beyond the works on view, “Xicanx” also speaks directly to San Antonio viewers via bold wall text reproducing quotes from local favorites such as exhibiting artist Kathy Vargas, feminist scholar Gloria E. Anzaldúa and famed author Sandra Cisneros.

Free, noon-5 p.m. Wednesday, noon-8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, June 12-Oct. 6, Contemporary at Blue Star, 116 Blue Star, (210) 227-6960, contemporarysa.org.

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