Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Can You See It? 

Wednesday, Mar 5 2008
We've heard it said that the same five insults are hurled at all recent immigrants to the U.S., regardless of the year or where the travelers came from. The accusations are instantly recognizable and so stupid they don't even have internal logic: Immigrants are dirty, their food smells weird, they live too many to a room, they're lazy, and they're taking our jobs. Name a group, and all these things have been lobbed their way: Italians (disgusting garlic stink!), Irish (drunk cabbage eaters), et cetera. At Victor Cartagena's new solo show "The Invisible Nation," the El Salvador-born artist explores historical realities of immigration via a phrase that brings shivers of anticipation to art fans: a large-scale installation. Using video, sculpture, recorded sound, and a mural on the outside of the gallery, longtime Bay Arean Cartagena also contemplates the current state of national immigration policy, which the gallery rather generously describes as "unresolved." He dunks passport-photo tea bags in hot water, fills corked bottles with sinister pills and labels them "Patrón" -- drinkers rarely notice that the popular tequila's name indicates the golden liquor is bossing them around. Cartagena's clever, but his aesthetic is just as strong, with its structural, vintage, iconic shapes and deep sandy colors. Think of his visual skill as the sugar that makes the exhibition's medicine (our own possible complicity in the injustices immigrants face) go down pretty damn easy.

The opening reception for "The Invisible Nation" starts at 7:30 p.m.
March 7-May 16, 2008

About The Author

Hiya Swanhuyser


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"