Enrique Chagoya ‘Then and Now: Aliens Sans Frontières’

Enrique Chagoya is a Mexican – American painter and printmaker who explores the changing nature of culture by mixing pre-Columbian and Western religious imagery with American pop culture.

His mature style of Latino humor most often explores xenophobia, the irrational fear of “other” peoples.

Chagoya builds codices based on ancient Mayan books. These accordion-folded works read right to left. The Mayans created many, but colonial Spanish priests destroyed most of them.

Within this structure, Chagoya makes fun of stereotypes and fears.

A print of his The Misadventures of Romantic Cannibals (2003) created a stir when it was shown at the Loveland Museum Gallery in Loveland, Colorado. After imagery commenting on the failings of the Catholic Church to protect children from sexual predators was picked up on Fox News in 2010, a visitor destroyed the work with a crowbar.

That is so Fox News. If you compare Fox News coverage with mainstream news organizations, you can’t help but notice how much of their coverage paints brown and black people in a bad light. Their coverage is designed to create fear and hatred of “the other.” The audience response is violence.

Enrique Chagoya

Enrique Chagoya was born in Mexico City in 1953. He lives and works in San Francisco, California.

Chagoya got his BFA at the San Francisco Art Institute. He did his MFA at The University of California at Berkeley. He is a professor of Fine Arts at Stanford University.

Chagoya has been exhibiting since 1982 including at prestigious venues like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Chagoya’s work is held in major collections such as MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City, and many others.

He is represented by George Adams Gallery in New York.

Enrique Chagoya Then and Now: Aliens Sans Frontières

The exhibition is at George Adams Gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan from April 26 – June 23, 2018.

Aliens Sans Frontières is the continuation of a series of humorous illegal alien guides. The work comments on current events so there is a wall and an asshole president. Goya’s witches become armed drones bombing the brown people below.

In Aliens, 2018, people in ethnic dress have their heads blown up in a mass of brush strokes with glass eyes being the only remnant of their humanity. It’s what the Trump Republican government wants to do to “the other.” It’s also our experience as “the other” trying to live our lives under the constant threat of having families torn apart by “the government.”

This is satisfying work because it makes you look and makes you think.

This is Chagoya’s eighth solo show at the Gallery.

George Adams Gallery

531 West 26th St, New York, NY 10001
(between Tenth & Eleventh Aves)
Chelsea, Manhattan

(212) 564 – 8480

Tuesday – Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 11 am – 6 pm

The Gallery traces its roots to the 1950s. It became the George Adams Gallery in 1995 and moved from 57th St to Chelsea in 2005.

The Gallery has long relationships with contemporary Latin American artists beginning with Chilean abstract expressionist Roberto Matta in the 1950s.

George Adams Gallery is a member of the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA).


  • (C) (E) to 23rd St
  • (A) (C) (E) to 34th St – Penn Station
  • (1) (2) (3) to 34th St – Penn Station

For more information, visit www.georgeadamsgallery.com


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