Grad Art

Rafa Esparza, Detail of New American Landscapes. Self Portrait: Catching Feelings (Ecstatic), 2017.


Best known as a performance artist, Esparza began his career in visual arts as a painter, yet was unable to relate to the “old master” paintings and drawings that he studied as an undergraduate. He turned instead to performance, making art with his body among the landscapes of Los Angeles. staring at the sun allows Esparza to design a brown space and to simultaneously engage, create images, and build narratives intrinsic to his use of land — brown matter — as context, surface, and content. This exhibition will include a series of new paintings on the surface of adobe, which will include portraiture, landscape, and abstraction. Adobe will cover the pristine white walls of one of MASS MoCA’s few “white cube” gallery spaces, serving as a threshold into an earthly dwelling. Entering the gallery, visitors will be immersed in dirt. Notes Esparza, “I want to overwhelm you with earth.”

Opening January 19, 2019, the exhibition confronts the architecture of the museum, “browning” its typical white walls. The exhibition was curated by Marco Antonio Flores M.A. ’19.