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Mextasy both reflects on and expands upon Nericcio's 2007 book with UT Press, Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the Mexican in America. In addition to racist artifacts from American mass culture (the bread and butter of Uncle Sam's unconscious), the show also features works that "xicanosmotic," that is, works by Mexican-American artists where the delicious tattoo of the Mexican/US frontera is writ large as in the deliriously delicious semiotic tracings of Raul Gonzalez III, Perry Vasquez, Izel Vargas, and Marisela Norte.
An excerpt from an unpublished interview with Lorena Nava Ruggero, appears below. An other interview, focused more on the Eyegiene project, appears online on Agitprop.
LNR: What is Mextasy? Why did you create it?
WN: Mextasy is an art exhibition featuring outrageous stereotypes of Mexicans and other Latinas/os; additionally, it contains sculptures, drawings, photography, and other media that attack the notion of Mexicans as less-than-human in American mass culture. The show I opened along the Rio Grande river in McAllen (September, 2010) and in Laredo this December, Mextasy, is dedicated to the old motherland and my peculiar fatherland.
Mextasy is more than a representation of ecstasy about or for Mexico; it is about the sensuous tracings Mexican culture leaves both sides of the border. More existential state than archive, Mextasy speaks to the living organism of Mexicanicity as it moves between the bodies of Mexico and the United States--an overt and covert delicious miasma that arouses as it excites, excites as it provokes. ¡Que viva Mexico!, within and without its borders.
LNR: How does Mextasy parallel your book?
WN: Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America features over 200 illustrations, with 16 pages in full color; many of these illustrations are stock representations of Mexicans (the sleeping Mexican, the bandit Mexican, the hot, Latina femme fatale). However, the book also includes original art, digital, photographic and hand-drawn, created by me. You know English Professors are known more for tweed and pomposity than their Picasso-like skills--for that reason I publish all my art under the name of Guillermo Nericcio García, what my name would have been if I had been born 10 blocks south of where I came into the world in Laredo, Texas--a bordertown with Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.
LNR: You're primarily a writer, but this is an art exhibit -- what was it like to create this kind of "content"?
WN: I have been drawing since I was three--I made my own comic book with my sister before I was ten; after that, I was the political cartoonist for my high school newspaper (most infamous drawing? of Vice-Principal Shoup as a zeigheiling facsist for his punitive pedagogy--I was almost expelled and the nuns at St. Augustine tried to censor the paper).
LNR: What will you focus on in your lectures in Texas (I noticed two speaking engagements at libraries)?
WN: I will be focusing on my ongoing forensic work on American visual culture--so I will be dealing with the image of Mexico in the United States but also with our changing optics-obsessed culture in general--from Avatar in 3-D to the IPad, we are living through a watershed moment in textual reproduction where the turn to the visual (the semiotic) is accelerating at a mind-blowing pace. Next year, my new book appears with the University of Texas Press; it is entitled Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race--parts of my talks will be drawn from that work.
LNR: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
WN: I love visiting South Texas--it is like a return to my roots; and though Northern Mexico and South Texas are in cultural chaos right now, the fallout of the Narco Wars hitting this locale hard, I think its important to remind yourself of where you come from. You would think that Southern California and South Texas are the same, but they are like worlds apart.
PAST MEXTASY EXHIBITIONS
Other recent Mextasy exhibitions include shows at (pre-boycott!) the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign at La Casa Cultura Latina, the Centro Cultural de La Raza, in Balboa Park, San Diego, California; at Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Department of American Studies, University of Michigan; in San Ysidro, California (as Xicanoholic) at Casa Familiar; in McAllen, Texas at South Texas College's Pecan campus Art Gallery; at Laredo, Texas at the the Laredo Center of the Arts; additionally, it had an April 8, 2011 opening at the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai'i at Manoa; and a run at the Fullerton Public Library with Gustavo Arellano hosting! September 2011 saw Mextasy invade San Antonio College for a Tex[t]-Mex reading/signing and an exclusive South Texas MEXTASY exhibition. In 2012, Mextasy was sighted at Ohio State University; at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario; at theFront, San Ysidro, California; and in Boulder, Colorado, at the University of Colorado for the Ethnic Studies Department. Western University, London, Ontario has also hosted a show, with other exhibitons and presentations at Adrian College, UCLA, and Boise State University.
original posting 11/4/10 | revised 12/11/2010 | Revised again, September 2011 |
Once again on Thursday, April 10, 2014 | and, still once again, October 4, 2014 |
and, once again, if you can believe it on February 4, 2015.