Nick sits down with artist Enrique Chagoya, in Part 1 of a two-part series. Enrique Chagoya is an artist who inverts cultural appropriation in a manner he calls “Reverse Anthropology”. With a deft wit, his paintings, drawings, prints and codices use “symbols as one would use words in a sentence,” often with hilarious and biting results. At times his art can even arouse misinterpretation, negative press, and even vandalism. Nevertheless he persists and continues to tackle subjects like sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, racism, xenophobia, and pop culture, to name a few. Present in all of his work is humor, thoughtful juxtapositions, and myriad references harkening back to other artists’ work, pop icons, figures of government, and his Mexican heritage. It can be disarming to view his work, where you might be laughing and unsettled at the same time. And that is the power of his art; it is intended not to change minds but provoke conversation and dialog.
Chagoya is currently Professor of Art at Stanford University. His work has been shown internationally and is represented in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the LA County Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Art, the Des Moines Art Center, the Whitney, MOMA, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.