Leonard Fresquez The New Bootleggers

November 17, 2018 - January 26, 2019

Currency is a group exhibition that examines the relationship between art and money by exploring the flaws of our current economic reality. Literary critic and philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin explored the concept of the Carnival as a subversive, disruptive, world-upside-down event in which the hypocrisy of everyday life was unmasked. During  Carnival, social structures including those that defined class and status were disrupted by common people.

In Currency, artists take up the role of shedding light on money and how it shapes what we value. Through their works, the artists expose the complex relationships between currency and how society values or doesn’t value work, time, and the environment. The idea of the upside down world is meant to demonstrate that the real world is actually upside down particularly in the case of the economic realities that permeate all aspects of life. Artists explore how materialism and corporate interests often take precedence over human and environmental concerns and they address the issue of how debt and money impact creativity. The exhibition brings together national, international and local artists who engage with these themes through a variety of media and artistic approaches often employing wit and satire to reveal economic inequities and dysfunctions.

New York artist, Evan Yee fossilizes outmoded technologies including specific Apple products. He demonstrates how these objects, that have such a hold on us, quickly lose their novelty as they become obsolete. By placing the objects in a geologic context, he also raises questions about corporate influence, environmental neglect and a future in which nature reclaims its place over technology. Other artists include: Jessica Angel, Erika Harrsch, Hernan Gomez Chavez, Scott Greene, Yoshiko Shimano, Jennifer Dalton, Nina Elder, Evan Desmond Yee, Mel Chin, and Steve Lambert.

In Debtfair, Occupy Museums continues their ongoing intervention that began at Art League Houston and appeared at the Whitney Biennial in 2017. The collective asks New Mexico artists how debt affects them and their art and uses collected data to explore the real impacts of debt at a time when U.S. credit card debt alone is over one trillion dollars.

Albuquerque artist Leonard Fresquez has organized an installation in which several artists explore how high-end commodities are valued and question the worth of such products by producing knockoff versions of popular items. The New Bootleggers: Fabricating (Im)propriety, is faux storefront stocked with illicit goods produced by 22 artists that address the ethos of knockoff/bootleg culture and the underlying subversion of authenticity. Participating artists include: Sven Barth, Sterling Bartlett, Raven Chacon, Marissa Chavez, Brendan Donnelly, Max Farber, Stefan Fitzgerald, Leonard Fresquez, Ry Fyan, Thomas Christopher Haag, Internet Discount Mall, Ken Kagami, Malcolm Kenter, Kelsea Kosko, Manuel Montoya, Will Michelson, Rye Purvis, Gregory Shimada, Jillian Stein, Jamie Tillotson, Scott Daniel Williams and Chase Witter. 


Dr. Josie Lopez, Curator a 516 ARTS, was born and raised in Albuquerque. She received her B.A. in History and M.A. in Teaching from Brown University. She completed an M.A. in Art History at the University of New Mexico and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include examining art as a discursive agent in the political arena, modern and contemporary Latin American art, 19th century France and Mexico, and the history of New Mexican art with a focus on printmaking. Lopez recently wrote the book The Carved Line: Block Printmaking in New Mexico and curated the accompanying exhibition at the Albuquerque Museum. Lopez has been the Jacob K. Javits Fellow and an Eleanor Tufts Fellows. She has taught courses on modern Mexico and the prints of Francisco Goya at SMU, and courses on the history of printmaking and European art at the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Manuel Montoya is an Associate Professor of Global Structures and International Management at the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. He was born and raised in Mora, New Mexico, and received his B.A. in English Literature and Economics from the University of New Mexico. He has Master’s degrees from Oxford University and NYU as a Truman Scholar and Rhodes Scholar. He received his Ph.D. at Emory University in Foreign Relations and Comparative Literature as a George Woodruff Scholar and a UNM Center for Regional Studies Fellow. His research interests mainly focus on a concept he refers to as “global legibility,” the process whereby humans conceptualize the planet and make it a meaningful part of their realities. This work incorporates ideas drawn from studies in Global Political Economy, Emerging Markets, Creative Economy, and Critical Management Studies.

Image: Leonard Fresquez, The New Bootleggers