Two of the best pieces in the entire show were largely lost because of unsuitable placement. Miguel Calderón's Evolución del hombre (Evolution of Man) (1995) was banished to a no-man's-land hallway on the third floor, an unfortunate curatorial decision, to be sure. Calderón's large-scale photographic series mimics those classic natural history illustrations about the evolution of man from his simian beginnings, with the artist donning an unruly black wig for the project. From a naked, crouched position (though he's wearing white socks), we follow Calderón as he becomes more clothed, more upright, and more dangerously armed with bigger and more imposing weapons.

Sadly sequestered and segregated across the street in the Ceramics Research Center, Eduardo Sarabia's tongue-in-cheek ceramics installation, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (2005), had much more to do with U.S.-Mexican relations than probably any piece in the exhibition. The artist painted traditional Mexican blue-and-white talavera urns with signs and symbols intimately connected with the Mexican drug cartel: marijuana leaves, handguns, assault weapons, dope-smoking ne'er-do-wells (one of whom flashes the peace sign), buxom bimbos, tequila bottles, and a variety of slang icons for different drugs the cartels routinely smuggle.

Diamond Sea (1997) by Doug Aitken
Courtesy of Jumex
Diamond Sea (1997) by Doug Aitken
A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (2005) by Eduardo SarabiaDiamond Sea (1997) by Doug Aitken
Courtesy of Jumex
A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (2005) by Eduardo SarabiaDiamond Sea (1997) by Doug Aitken

Location Info

Map

ASU Art Museum

51 E. 10th St.
Tempe, AZ 85281

Category: Museums

Region: Tempe

Details

"Turn Off the Sun: "Selections from La Colección Jumex"
runs through September 7 at ASU Art Museum, 10th Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe. Visit www.asuartmuseum.asu.edu or call 480-965-2787 for more information.

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Maybe it's the old problem of too many cooks spoiling the broth — in this case, too many curators cooking up the show concept, which was so amorphous as to be nonexistent. The next time work from La Colección Jumex is shown at ASUAM (and I hope to God there is a next time), I would suggest refraining from stuffing the art into a conceptual bag that doesn't really or only marginally fits — and discreetly identifying the work in situ for us less-clued-in museumgoers, with special attention to art in nooks and crannies outside the museum's gallery walls.

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