Hudson River Museum Presents Border Cantos | Sonic Border: Richard Misrach | Guillermo Galindo, a Collaboration Between Two Artists with Works that Explore the Mexican-American Border
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YONKERS, NY, January 28, 2021 — Hudson River Museum is proud to announce the exhibition Border Cantos | Sonic Border, a unique and moving collaboration between photographer Richard Misrach (born in Los Angeles, 1949) and sculptor and composer Guillermo Galindo (born in Mexico City, 1960) that addresses the complexities of the humanitarian situation at the wall between the US and Mexico. Misrach and Galindo began collaborating in 2011, and have worked together over the years to create works that not only report on but transform the artifacts of migration: water bottles, articles of clothing, a soccer ball, used shotgun shells, ladders, and even sections of the Border Wall itself, which Galindo then fashions into instruments to be performed as unique sound-generating devices.
The exhibition, which will be on view at the HRM from February 12 through May 9, 2021, is a union of photography and sound, featuring ten monumental landscape photographs of the border by Misrach alongside eight handcrafted musical instruments created by Galindo from found objects recovered from the border. In a fully bilingual exhibition presented in English and Spanish, Border Cantos | Sonic Border offers perspective on the challenges of migration, inviting us to bridge boundaries.
Richard Misrach is one of the most influential photographers of his generation, well-known for his ongoing project Desert Cantos, a multifaceted approach to the study of place and humankind’s complex relationship to it. For the Border Cantos project, Misrach’s large-scale photographs beautifully capture the various types of landscapes, textures, and experiences found across the almost 2,000-mile dividing line, including the existing wall. But, by showing moments of disruption on the land, they also introduce a complicated look at policing the boundary.
Guillermo Galindo—an experimental composer, sonic architect, and performance artist—redefines the conventional boundaries of music and the art of music composition. Galindo’s installation, Sonic Border, is an original score for eight instruments, created out of discarded objects found and collected near the wall or in remote open areas. The composition embraces the pre-Columbian belief that there was an intimate connection between an instrument and the material from which it was made, with no separation between spiritual and physical worlds. Based on the Mesoamerican “Venus calendar,” the score plays for a total of 260 minutes and is separated into 13 cycles of 20 minutes. Within these cycles, the instruments play in small groups of two or more, or all together as an orchestra.
“We are immensely proud to present Border Cantos | Sonic Border at the Hudson River Museum,” states HRM Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky. “Migration is a topic that resonates deeply in our community and this exhibition will cross boundaries in many ways. Using the language of art, Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo bring a humanitarian perspective to the political debates that surround the subject of immigration today. As a forward-thinking museum in the twenty-first century, we strongly believe we can be a shared space for civic engagement and communal conversation, with art as the vehicle. We are grateful to our outstanding partners at Art Bridges and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, who organized this exhibition and supported us in bringing it to the HRM. We are also pleased to work with local, national, and international partners to delve into these compelling works and invite the public to contribute their own family histories.”
When experienced as a whole, the images, instruments, and emanating sounds in Border Cantos | Sonic Border create an immersive space in which to look, listen, and learn about the complex issues surrounding the Mexican-American border. While neither artist seeks to provide solutions to these issues, together they provide insight into a place where most people have never ventured, creating a poignant connection that draws on our humanity, inspires empathy, and provides ways to contribute to better outcomes.
The multi-sensory exhibition will feature a participatory component in which visitors are invited to share personal stories of migration and immigration over generations. In addition to a rich programming roster that includes conversations with the artists, music performances, virtual studio visits, and talks with award-winning authors, the HRM has collaborated with community organizations to develop a resource page with links to the strong network of organizations in Westchester County that can provide guidance and support to those in need or wish to understand more about immigration issues today.
The exhibition is accompanied by a 270-page, fully illustrated publication, Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo: Border Cantos, featuring photographs and text by Richard Misrach; instruments, sound installations, scores, and text by Guillermo Galindo; and an introduction and epilogue by Josh Kun, an award-winning cultural historian, critic, and curator. Published by Aperture in April 2016.
Border Cantos | Sonic Border is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.
Support provided by Art Bridges.
The HRM will be working with local, national, and international partners to offer a robust roster of programs and resources for the public. Additional programs to be announced.
Collaborators in Conversation: Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo (Virtual)
Sunday, February 21, 2pm
Photographer Richard Misrach and composer/artist Guillermo Galindo discuss the individual and shared paths that have, over the years, led them to combine their bodies of work inspired by the Mexican-American border region into an exhibition that conveys the human impact of the immigrant’s journey, and in the process impacts its audiences. How did the exhibition come to be? What was the organic process through which the artists went, together with the community organizations that were involved in its development? How did they come to fill the emptiness of the desert with spiritual sound? Moderated by Laura Vookles, Chair, HRM Curatorial Department. The conversation will be followed by Q&A with the artists.
Living Language and Identity: A Panel Discussion (Virtual)
Saturday, February 27, 2pm
How do we talk about ourselves? Do we prefer to identify ourselves according to our country of origin or heritage, or use commonly accepted terms like: Hispanic, Chicana/o, Latino/a, or Latinx? No matter which term is used, people are rarely in full agreement. It’s an emotionally charged topic and there are important usage variations depending on factors such as region, language, generation, and political inclination. José Higuera López, Director of The Mexican Studies Institute at the City University of New York, Lehman College, will moderate a panel with Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Associate Professor of Spanish at University of Houston; Larry La Fountain-Stokes, Professor of Spanish and Women’s and Gender Studies at University of Michigan; and Yuneikys (Yuni) Villalonga, Chief Curator at the Coral Gables Museum, to help us understand the origins and meanings of these terms and the complex ways in which they are used.
Bridging the Wall: Panel Discussion (Virtual)
Saturday, March 13, 2pm
Kenneth Smith Ramos, currently the Head of the Trade and NAFTA Office of the Ministry of the Economy of Mexico in Washington, D.C., will speak on the economic, sociological, and political factors that drive immigration, both to and from the US, as well as the unique communities that have grown up around the border, and the interaction of global forces that determine individual choices to stay, to leave, and to return. He will be joined by Enrique Perret, Director of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Mexico City, who will focus on efforts to promote dialogue and cooperation between our two countries by creating new connections through humanitarian, cultural, economic, and academic initiatives. HRM Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky will moderate the conversation, followed by a Q&A.
Guillermo Galindo in Performance (Virtual)
Saturday, March 20, 6pm
Experimental composer Guillermo Galindo fabricates musical instruments from objects found in the desert along the US-Mexico border, artifacts that are imbued with the spirit of their former owners. See and hear the composer perform a selection of his compositions from these instruments, demonstrating their use and their transformative power as sculptural works of art to give voice to the displaced.
Author Talk: Valeria Luiselli (Virtual)
Wednesday, March 31, 7pm
Author Valeria Luiselli will discuss her 2017 book, Tell Me How it Ends, An Essay in Forty Questions or Niños Perdidos, Ensayo en Cuarenta Preguntas. The book tackles Luiselli’s experience volunteering at an immigration court in New York City, where she translated the responses migrant children gave to the questions that stood between a return to their home country and the promise of a new life in the United States. Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa, and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, and winner of a MacArthur Genius Award, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd, The Story of My Teeth; and Lost Children Archive. The author will read from her work and, following an interview with Viridiana Garcia Choy, Manager of Youth and Family Programs, respond to questions from the audience.
Beyond Labor: Mexicans as Migrant Creatives in NYC (Virtual)
Saturday, April 3, 2pm
Join Dr. Melissa Castillo Planas, author of A Mexican State of Mind: New York City and the New Borderlands of Culture alongside Mexican MCs Juan Carlos Romero and Audry Funk for a book discussion and panel on Mexican creativity in New York City. The book explores the cultural and creative lives of the largely young undocumented Mexican population in New York City since September 11, 2001. This book is based on ten years of fieldwork, with members of a vibrant community of Mexican migrants, focusing on youth culture including hip hop, graffiti, muralism, labor activism, arts entrepreneurship, and collective making. The spoken word poets will perform their work, followed by a Q&A. Moderated by Saralinda Lichtblau, HRM Assistant Director, Education.
Teen Talk: Crossing Boundaries (Virtual)
Saturday, April 17, 4pm
All teens are welcome to join this conversation about migration and its impact on young people that will be hosted by the Hudson River Museum Junior Docents. This virtual Teen Talk, created by teens for teens, will provide an opportunity to share stories and discuss pressing, often controversial, issues of political and social import with peers, including those outside the US. With mentorship provided by Viridiana Garcia Choy, Manager, Youth and Family Programs.
Migration at the Southern Border: Law, Policy, Myth and More (Virtual)
Sunday, April 18, 2pm
Bardis Vakili, attorney in the ACLU’s San Diego & Imperial County affiliate, will discuss the current situation at the southern border, with a focus on border and immigration policy and how it has shifted over the years, as well as the human impact of those policies, and some of the root causes of migration. Vakili will be in conversation with Sara Ritchie from the Kino Border Initiative, a binational organization that provides humanitarian aid to migrants on the Mexico side of the US-Mexico border as well as engages in education and advocacy.
About the Artists
Richard Misrach is one of the most influential photographers of his generation. In the 1970s, he helped pioneer the renaissance of color photography and large-scale presentation that are in widespread practice today. Best known for his ongoing series, Desert Cantos, he has worked in the landscape for over 40 years. His work is held by major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. He is the recipient of four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Kulturpreis for Lifetime Achievement in Photography. His books with Aperture include Violent Legacies (1992), On the Beach (2007), Destroy This Memory (2010), Petrochemical America (with Kate Orff, 2012), Golden Gate (2012), and The Mysterious Opacity of Other Beings (2015). He is represented by Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; Mark Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles; and Pace, New York.
Guillermo Galindo is an experimental composer. His interpretations of concepts such as musical form, time perception, music notation, sonic archetypes, and sound-generating devices span a wide spectrum of artistic works performed and shown at major festivals, concert halls, and art exhibitions throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. His orchestral composition includes two symphonies: Ome Acatl, premiered in Mexico City by the Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM (OFUNAM, 1997), and Trade Routes (2006), commissioned and premiered by the Oakland East Bay Symphony orchestra and chorus. His operas include two major works: Califas 2000, with text and performance by MacArthur Fellow Guillermo Gómez-Peña, and Decreation/Fight Cherries, with text by MacArthur Fellow poet Anne Carson.
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Image: Guillermo Galindo. Shell Piñata (Piñata de cartuchos), 2014. Sheet metal, border patrol shotgun shell casings. 17 × 30 × 30 in. (43.2 × 76.2 × 76.2 cm). Art Bridges. Photo: Courtesy of the artist, photo by Richard Misrach.
Hudson River Museum (hrm.org) is a preeminent cultural institution in Westchester County and the New York Metropolitan area. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Yonkers, New York, the HRM’s mission is to engage, inspire, and connect diverse communities through the power of the arts, sciences, and history.
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