La clase de dibujo libre (2000-2004/2017/2018)
Performance. "Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action in 1990s Mexico." Part of Live Art
LA/LA: The Pacific Standard Time Festival. Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA. 
January 17, 2018. Duration: 01:30:00.
Playlist: Ganas (Mas Exitos)
Nails: Jeffrey Chavez

From 2000-2004, Ema Villanueva and Eduardo Flores held figure drawing classes with nude models in
public spaces throught Mexico City. The participants were often members of a certain labor union
or of marginalized communities. As Villanueva posed, her male partner led the class while
discussing local politics. Villanueva stated that through this series, she hoped to normalize
female sexuality in Mexico while politically engaging with specific groups of people. These
classes also allowed for a moment of calm and artistic production for those who might not
otherwise have access to it. I reperformed Clase twice at the Armory Center for the Arts. Rather
than do so exactly, exactly, especially because the social, political, and physical contexts
were wildly different, I made it unabashedly Chicanx while disrupting the hierarchical relationship
between student and teacher. DJ Ganas created a playlist of old school Chicanx music that played
throughout the performance. Using jewelry, make up, and hair, I marked my body as Chicanx while
embodying poses based on Chicanx and Mexican iconography. Rather than actively speak about
politics, I asked members of the audience to join me onstage in the construction of tableauxs.
Our bodies shook in an effort to embody cultural memories that could never be perfectly held
together.

Documentation by Ian Byers-Gamber.


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