Carmen Argote’s multidisciplinary practice hinges on corporeal processing within the specific spaces she inhabits. Through sculpture, installation, and performance, she draws upon her immediate environment and its connection to systems of labor and consumption. These connections are communicated through the materials she chooses—cochineal, citrus fruit, and coffee—which denote labor, histories of violence and oppression, and colonialism. Argote’s work raises questions about architecture, experience, and the body: how do bodies move through specific spaces? What structures define those movements? And how can those subtleties be visualized for others to see?
In this site-specific installation, Argote references the VAC’s architecture, attempting to disrupt the boundaries between inside and outside. An untreated linen textile draws its pattern from the concrete pavers in the VAC’s courtyard and is the site of a process-based painting produced in the gallery with dye made from cochineal—insects often found on cacti throughout the Americas. In addition to the textile, a drawing on paper functions as a platform for garments from the Art and Art History Collection, referencing the relationship between women’s labor and clothing production in the Americas.
Carmen Argote: Me At Market is organized by MacKenzie Stevens, director, with Kaila Schedeen, 2019–2020 curatorial fellow, Visual Arts Center. Special thanks to Astrid Runggaldier, assistant director, Mesoamerica Center, and Karla Roig Blay, intern, Mesoamerica Center.
This exhibition is generously funded by the Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Latino Studies and the Center for Latin American Visual Studies (CLAVIS) at The University of Texas at Austin.
Carmen Argote (b. 1981, Guadalajara, México) received both a BA (2004) and an MFA (2007) from University of California, Los Angeles. Argote has had solo exhibitions at the New Museum, New York (2019); PAOS, Guadalajara (2019); Ballon Rouge Collective, New York (2018); Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2018 and 2016); Panel LA, Los Angeles (2017); and the Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles (2013) amongst others. Argote has participated in group exhibitions at the Instituto de Visión, Madrid, Spain (2019); Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park (2019); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose (2018); Denver Art Museum, Denver (2017); Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston (2017); Ave 50 Gallery, Los Angeles (2016); and The National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago (2015) amongst others. She is the recipient of an Artadia Los Angeles Award (2019); The Nancy Graves Foundation Artist Grant (2018); the Rema Hort Mann Foundation YoYoYo Grant (2015); and the California Community Foundation Emerging Artist Grant (2013).