original posting 11/4/10 | revised 12/11/2010
MEXTASY opens at the LAREDO CENTER FOR THE ARTS, DECEMBER 29, 2010 @ 6PM
Lorena Nava Ruggero
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.