Auxiliary Projects is pleased to present “Brown and Unbothered,” a solo exhibition by Sal Muñoz, from April 28 through June 4th, 2017. There will be an opening reception on Friday, April 28, from 6-9pm, in conjunction with Greenpoint Gallery Night. Auxiliary Projects is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-6pm and by appointment.
Brown: Xicanx, Chicano, Chicana, proud, resilient, native, marginalized, discriminated against, “illegal,” “criminal,” walled out.
Unbothered: joyful, silly, irreverent, community-organizing, dinner-cooking, protesting, fuck you.
In “Brown and Unbothered,” Sal Muñoz shows us that activism does not have to be ascetic to be enlightening, and art does not have to be somber to be serious. Re-imagining traditional Mexican forms such as votive candles, papel picado, and milagros, Muñoz presents the gallery as a glittering and newly upgraded temple to social justice. His works are amalgams of historical facts, personal memory, folklore, activism, and pleasure.
How can you take back something that colonization has tried to erase? In “Tonantzin,” a table is lined with rows of lighted votive candles, each featuring the ancient Mexica goddess Tonantzin where we’d expect to see the Virgin of Guadalupe. Recognized by many to be the forgotten precursor to the ubiquitous Virgin, Muñoz’s new celebratory design highlights the common erasure of indigenous roots of modern religious customs and figures, creating a subtle historical corrective to the story. “Papel Picado” consists of 800 pieces of hand-cut paper strung in zig-zagging garlands across the ceiling. Traditionally a decorative and celebratory form, Muñoz’s spell out messages more likely to be found on protest signs, yet create a party atmosphere.
“Unbothered,” to Muñoz, is not passive or ignorant, but rather an irrepressible joy, an educated glee, the ultimate fuck you. Muñoz’s exuberant odes to pleasure remind us that, throughout history, humor and joy have helped many survive pain and tragedy. In Muñoz’s video “How to Serve Yourself,” a voice instructs viewers about misogyny while piling a plate full of food. The instruction ends with “Step 10: Enjoy!