Fredonia art gallery to host works by noted ‘cultural historian’

Submitted Photo “Thinking of Ensor and my Cat Diego” is a work by artist Enrique Chagoya. An exhibition of Chagoya’s works titled “Aliens Sans Frontieres” opens Jan. 19 in the Cathy and Jesse Marion Art Gallery at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

Thinking of Ensor

By melding the roles of artist and cultural historian, Enrique Chagoya has made a name for himself as he creates alternative interpretations of current events.

Chagoya turns his attention to current socio-political events for the first exhibition of 2018 in the Cathy and Jesse Marion Art Gallery at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

“Aliens Sans Frontieres” (Aliens Without Borders) opens Jan. 19. The title is taken from a 2016 lithograph by Chagoya.

Chagoya will speak about his artwork as part of the Visual Arts and New Media Department’s Visiting Artist Program on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 8:30 p.m. in McEwen Hall, Room 209.

The artist will also be present at a reception in the Marion Art Gallery Friday, Jan. 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. All programs are free and open to the public. A free exhibition catalog is available by visiting or contacting the gallery.

Drawing from his experiences living on both sides of the United States-Mexico border in the late ’70s (and also in Europe in the late ’90s), Chagoya juxtaposes secular, popular, and religious symbols in order to address ongoing cultural clashes between the United States and Latin America, and around the world. He uses familiar pop icons to create deceptively friendly points of entry for the discussion of complex issues.

Chagoya was born in Mexico City. At the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City he studied political economics and contributed political cartoons to union newsletters. As a student, he was sent to work on rural development projects, an experience that strengthened his interest in political and social activism.

At age 26, Chagoya moved to Berkeley, California, and began working as a free-lance illustrator and graphic designer. Disheartened by what he considered to be the narrow political scope of economics programs in local colleges, Chagoya turned his interests to art. He enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute, where he earned a BFA in printmaking. He then pursued his MA and MFA at the University of California, Berkeley. He moved to San Francisco in 1995 and began teaching in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University, where he is now a full professor.

Chagoya has been exhibiting his work nationally and internationally for over two decades including recent major retrospectives. His artwork can be found in many public collections.

He is the recipient of numerous awards including two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, American Academy of Arts and Letters Visual Arts Award, residencies at Giverny (Lila Wallace Foundation/Foundation Monet) and Cite Internationale des Arts in France, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation fellowship.

Contact Gallery Director Barbara Racker at 673-4897 or to schedule a group tour or to request a bilingual exhibition catalog.

Gallery hours are: Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The gallery is located on the main level of Rockefeller Arts Center on the Fredonia campus.

Funding for this exhibition and publication is provided by the Fredonia College Foundation’s Cathy and Jesse Marion Endowment Fund and the Carnahan Jackson Humanities Fund, as well as the Friends of Rockefeller Arts Center. Additional funding for the exhibition catalog is provided by Stanford University’s Department of Art and Art History.