Local Arts

See Mexico 6 ways in unusual Charlotte arts collaboration

“Comerse,” 2012, by Karina Juarez, coming to LaCa.
“Comerse,” 2012, by Karina Juarez, coming to LaCa. Courtesy Karina Juarez and LaCa Projects

Charlotte, with one of the country’s fastest growing Latino populations, will get a new and multidimensional look at Mexico this fall – through pictures.

That’s when an unusual arts collaboration called “In Focus/Enfoque” begins, with half a dozen arts institutions in the city offering the work of more than 50 contemporary photographers, from both Mexico and the United States, over a timeframe that stretches from this month to next June.

Topics and themes will be all over the (focused) map: identity, borders, gender, activism, design and more. Ways to dig into this are also planned: Community and educational programs will be coordinated by the Arts and Science Council. Allen Blevins, director of Global Art and Heritage Programs at Bank of America, who’s worked on the project, has called the anchor exhibition, which will be at the Mint beginning in late October, “one of the strongest exhibitions of contemporary art photography that I have seen.

“Silencio,” from the 2014 series “El ultimo día del mundo” by Koral Carballo, at the Mint. KORAL CARBALLO Courtesy of the Mint

“Part of this is helping us all to better understand different cultures, to better understand our neighbor to the south, and to better understand our neighbors here in Charlotte,” Blevins said in a news release.

Let’s break down the plan (which took its cues from the larger-scale “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA”; that effort hooked up 70+ partners across southern California):

At the MINT

Untitled, from the 2009 series “Violence in Tijuana” by Alejandro Cossío, at the Mint. Courtesy of the Mint

WHAT: Reveal and Detonate: Photography in Mexico; Develar y Detonar: Fotografía en México

WHEN: Oct. 28 to June 17, 2018

NUTSHELL: This will show work from 30+ contemporary and intergenerational Mexican photographers: “A complex, contradictory, and thought-provoking map of present-day Mexico.” It has been in Madrid and Mexico City; this will be its first U.S. venue.


“Phoebe,” from the Desvestidas Series, by Luis Arturo Aguirre, at The Light Factory. Courtesy of The Light Factory

WHAT: Exposed/Expuesta: Exploring Identity in Contemporary Mexican Photography

WHEN: Aug. 24 to Oct. 13

NUTSHELL: Pieces from 10 artists who use photography “to question and challenge notions of identity through personal and cultural explorations of their own environment.”


Nelson Morales, Fall 2017 artist-in-residence at McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Courtesy of the artist.

WHAT: Nelson Morales, Artist-in-Residence

WHEN: Aug. 28 to Dec. 5

NUTSHELL: Morales “focuses on sexual diversity in different cultures – mainly the community of muxe, a third gender – on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec,” in Oaxaca. Here, he plans to collaborate with Time Out Youth, a Charlotte group that advocates for LGBTQ youth. Morales is also scheduled to do a photography workshop in Spanish at the McColl Center and Light Factory.

At the BECHTLER (2)

BechtjpgMEX-ARCH-641 (2)
Paul Strand’s “Church, Cuapiaxtla, Mexico,” from 1933, will be in the exhibition “Paul Strand in Mexico” at the Bechtler. © Aperture Foundation, Inc., Paul Strand Archive

WHAT: Paul Strand in Mexico

WHEN: Sept. 1 to Jan. 7, 2018

NUTSHELL: Twenty of the images Strand took while traveling the Mexican countryside in the early to mid ’30s, focusing on small towns, churches “and the people who occupied the land.”

BECHT jpg Graciela Iturbide -Vendedora de zacate Oaxaca, México 1974 (2)
“Vendedora de zacates (Sponge vendor),” Oaxaca, 1974, by Graciela Iturbide, at the Bechtler. Courtesy of the Bechtler

WHAT: Maestros mexicanos de la fotografía moderna: Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Manuel Carrillo, Flor Garduño, Graciela Iturbide y Mariana Yampolsky: Works from the Bank of America Collection

WHEN: Sept. 29 to March 4, 2018

NUTSHELL: Work these five modernist photographers made in the mid-20th century, as post-Revolutionary Mexico “struggled to find stability” and artists documented the attempts to “establish a unified Mexican cultural identity.”


LACA A.Laviada, Red, Yellow, Wood, 2017
“Blue, Yellow Composition,” 2014, by Alejandra Laviada, at LaCa. Courtesy Alejandra Laviada and LaCa Projects

WHAT: Karina Juarez, Humberto Rios, and Alejandra Laviada, at Latin American Contemporary Art Projects.

WHEN: Sept. 14 to Nov. 4

NUTSHELL: LaCa’s first exhibition of photography, this will offer three artists’ themes “ranging from identity and personal loss to metaphorical and autobiographical elements, and create striking visual narratives taken from the personal experiences of the artists, as well as from conceptual ideas and practices.”

At SOCO Gallery

SOCOAlejandro Cartagena - THE CARPOOLERS IV
“The Carpoolers IV,” by Alejandro Cartajena. Courtesy of SOCO Gallery

WHAT: Alejandro Cartagena: Home

WHEN: Dec. 13 to Jan. 12, 2018

NUTSHELL: Work from the Monterrey-based Cartagena’s “Carpoolers” and “Mexicana Suburbia” series “employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban and environmental issues.”

From “Suburbia Mexicana” by Alejandro Cartajena, at SOCO. Courtesy of SOCO Gallery