Installation view of Melanie Smith’s Orange Lush, 1995/2015. Photo by Kait Privitera.
Strange Currencies explores the emergence and development of experimental artistic practices in Mexico City in the 1990s, a decade defined by a catastrophic economic crisis, enormous social upheaval and poverty, political corruption, a chronic rise in violence, and continuous instability due to the effects of rapid globalization. In a time defined by hopelessness and pessimism, artists rejected traditional art forms in favor of radical, ephemeral, action-based, and socially-engaged practices that were often cynical, risky, and irreverent, linked art and everyday life, and critically reflected the momentous and troubling events that were unfolding around them.
Funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Strange Currencies is the first exhibition to articulate a history for the unorthodox, artist-run spaces that emerged in Mexico City in the 1990s. The exhibition, accompanied by outside performances and a film program, includes artworks that have never before been shown outside of Mexico.