March 24 - June 10, 2022
From Centro Cultural Aztlan:
“Project: MASA is an ongoing exhibit series which gathers [email protected] artists that use outer space and science fiction iconography with past present and future tropes to comment on social-political issues that affect our gente presently and into the future. In addition to the gallery exhibition, author/poets Anel I. Flores and Victoria Garcia-Zapata are scheduled to present poetry and performances in response to the exhibit.
A MASA-porte station will be available during the opening reception. Show up to the MASA-porte Station wearing your cosmic outfit or space suit to apply for a MASA-porte. MASA-portes are passports to space and proof of galactic citizenship. What is a Cosmic Outfit/Space Suit? The articles of clothing are meant to represent the outside skin that people have to develop and wear in order to navigate social and cultural spaces. It’s a metaphor. You must pose for a photograph of the outfit and a passport size photo for the MASA-porte. By doing so, the applicant agrees to release the photo image for a future Project:MASA Series curated photo exhibit and documentation. Plan ahead and prepare your cosmic outfit or space suit ahead of time. Make it a family activity. Look at what others are planning by visiting the FB page @005MASA.
Curated by Cathryn Merla-Watson Phd. and Iliana Pompa, this intergenerational exhibit will present nineteen women artists from the frontera of South Texas, San Antonio and Austin (the I-35, I-37, I-69 corridor) dealing with [email protected] through their works. They include Catherine Cisneros, Celeste De Luna, Yareth Fernandez, Brandy González, Suzy Gonzalez, Nansi Guevara, Mari Hernandez, Terry Ybañez, Lizette Ortiz, Pocha Peña, Sam Rawls, Natalia Rocafuerte, Mary Agnes Rodriguez, Ana Lilia Salinas, Liliana Wilson, Cindy Valderas, and Guillermina Zabala.
A catalog and artists’ video interview premier is scheduled for May 4, 2022, 6-9PM.
The exhibit is free and open to the public and will be on view through June 10, 2022
Monday-Thursday, 10:00 am to 4:00 p.m.
Centro Cultural Aztlan is a community-based organization with a mission to preserve, develop and promote Chicano/a, Latino/a art and culture. The center presents an array of cultural activities that encourages and supports artistic creativity, preserves our local heritage, and makes the arts more widely available to residents of all backgrounds, ages and interests.
A few words from the Curators of “Mars Needs More Women”—ProjectMASA-5
Dr. Cathryn Merla-Watson and I, Iliana Pompa, are honored to be co-curating such a visually and conceptually innovative exhibit. I am completing an MA in Art History at UTSA where I am focusing on Mexican American and Latin American art. Dr. Merla-Watson is the Director of Gender and Women’s Studies and an Associate Professor of Mexican American Studies at UT-Rio Grande Valley. She is a foundational scholar in the growing field of Latinx speculative aesthetics. We want to begin by thanking the generous sponsors of this show: the City of San Antonio: Department of Arts and Culture, Texas Commission on the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, AKR Foundation, San Antonio Area Foundation, The Jefferson Woodlawn Lake Community Development Corporation, and, of course, the Centro. We also want to acknowledge how we could not ask for a more appropriate venue for this exhibit, which is grounded and deeply rooted in Mexican American activism, history, and culture. It is indeed a nexus, portal, timespace that connects us to our past, present, and future. We also want to express our deepest gratitude to Malena, Ruth, and Ruben here at the Centro for all the time, energy, and resources you have devoted to making Project:MASA-5 happen. Finally, mil gracias to Luis Valderas for all of his tireless support, energy, mentorship, and bold vision.
—Iliana Pompa, Co-Curator
The title of the show–Mars Needs More Women–takes a cue from a similarly titled film from the late 60s whose premise is that Mars needs more women to populate mars. The title Mars Need More Women also brings to mind binary gendered discourses or ways of thinking echoed in the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. In contrast to these pop cultural texts, this Chicana and Latinafuturist show radically intervenes within binaries that inform how we think about gender, sexuality, and identity in relation to the present and future, and offers us a dazzling array of Latina and Latinx liminal or third space visions that are urgently needed in the present and future. While this show is intergenerational, TransAmerican, and diverse in medium and subject matter, as well as includes both established and emerging artists, a common thread connecting all the works is exigent social critique pertaining to ecological disaster, gentrification, sexism, the multiple embodied and gendered legacies of colonialism. Just as importantly, through engaging tropes of outer space, the celestial, or the technological, these works enact reconstruction, healing, and joy through envisioning alternative presents and futures grounded in our pasts and the knowledge of our ancestors. Using what Chicano art critic Tomás Ybarra-Frausto has termed a rasquache aesthetic, the artists here creatively recycle what dominant culture has cast aside to collectively signal alternative and eclectic horizons of possibility in which we all not only survive but also thrive. This exhibit invites us all to partake in this collective–and ever urgent–task.
—Cathryn Merla-Watson Phd., Co-Curator
Project:MASA-V “Mars Needs More Women” is an exhibit scheduled to open at Centro Cultural Aztlan(1800 Fredericksburg Rd #103, San Antonio, TX 78201) in the Spring of 2022 (March 23rd – June 10th). It is part of the ongoing Project:MASA exhibit series which gathers [email protected] artists that use outer space and science fiction iconography with past present and future tropes to comment on social-political issues that affect our gente presently and into the future. Cathryn Merla-Watson Phd., co-editor of “Altermundos” —the first edited volume dedicated to theorizing [email protected] and [email protected], has agreed to write the essay for the catalog that will accompany the exhibit. Merla-Watson will be curating the exhibit together with Iliana Pompa, MA Art History Candidate, UTSA. Merla-Watson is also collaborating with Latinx futurism scholar Matthew Goodwin (University of New Mexico) to plan a national conference at the University of New Mexico in Spring of 2023 and will include the exhibit in the conference. The two have an advanced book contract with The Ohio State University Press (New Suns Series) to publish a related edited volume following the conference. The local and state media will receive media packages and press releases. The plan for marketing on a national platform for this exhibit will include Merla-Watson’s presentation of the exhibit participants within the scope of her research at a conference to be held at the University of New Mexico in Spring of 2023.
Additionally, I am collaborating with San Antonio [email protected] performance artist Catherine Cisneros of Urban-15 and author/poets Victoria Fennel and Anel I. Flores in organizing a poetry and performance response to the exhibit for the catalog. All of which will be documented in video form for future reference and presentation. In total, this intergenerational exhibit will present fourteen women artists from the frontera of South Texas, San Antonio and Austin(the I-35, I-37, I-69 corridor) dealing with [email protected] through their works. They include Cathrine Cisneros, Celeste De Luna, Yareth Fernandez, Brandy González, Suzy Gonzalez, Nansi Guevara, Mari Hernandez, Terry Ibañez, Lizette Ortiz, Pocha Peña, Sam Rawls, Natalia Rocafuerte, Mary Agnes Rodriguez, Ana Lilia Salinas, Lilliana Wilson, Cindy Valderas Guillermina Zabala.
What’s the long mission for Project:MASA?
Project:MASA-V “Mars Needs More Women” and Project:MASA “Cosmic Couture—2022” will be an addition to the primary source material that the Project:MASA exhibit series has accumulated since its establishment in 2005. This documentation will be made readily available for academics and is archived in the University of Texas —San Antonio Library Special Collections. The documentation of the previous three Project:MASA exhibitions has given a voice and platform to participating artists of the local and national latino community. The Project:MASA exhibit series was featured in the book Altermundos: [email protected] Speculative Literature, Film and Popular Culture, co-edited by Cathryn Merla-Watson, B. V. Olguín with UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press in 2017. It was published as part of the Volume 4 of the Aztlán anthology series by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.
“Speculative fiction–encompassing both science fiction and fantasy–has emerged as a dynamic field within Chicana/o and Latina/o studies, producing new critical vocabularies and approaches to topics that include colonialism and modernity, immigration and globalization, race and gender. As the first collection engaging Chicana/o and Latina/o speculative cultural production, Altermundos: [email protected] Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture provides a comprehensive alternative to the view of speculative fiction as a largely white, male, Eurocentric, and heteronormative genre. It features original essays from more than twenty-five scholars as well as interviews, manifestos, short fiction, and new works from Chicana/o and Latina/o artists”. — Altermundos 2017
The collection of primary source material facilitated the presentation of their work at places such as ArtsBlock—USC Riverside California as part of the Mundos Alternos Exhibit (in the Pacific Standard Time Series) sponsored by the Getty Foundation in 2016-17 and subsequently traveled to The Queens Museum and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in 2018-19.”
On View: May 4, 2022 | 6–9 pm
Catalog and artists’ video interview premier
1800 Fredericksburg Rd., Suite 103
San Antonio, 78201 TX