Coco Fusco Juan Pablo Ballester (1966 - )

Untitled (1997)

Screen print on t-shirt
height: 73cm
width: 89cm

Donated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro 1997


In 1997, ARCO, a major fair of international art galleries held each year in Madrid, was dedicated for the first time to the sale of art from Latin America. Of this moment, Coco Fusco has written, 'It seemed particularly strange to me that the Spanish art market would open up to work from its former colonies precisely at the moment when the country was shutting off entry to immigrants and refugees from the same region.' In order to articulate what was perceived as a double-standard, Fusco, in conjunction with Juan Pablo Ballester and María Elena Escalona, printed t-shirts which they sold without permission at the art fair. The text of the t-shirt compares the cost of purchasing works of Latin American art at the fair to the cost for a Latin American, known derogatively as a sudaca in Spain, of emigrating illegally and obtaining work in that country. The back of the shirt, reproduced here, reads, 'ARCO 97 offers an accurate vision of Latin American art in 1,300 square meters; Sudaca Enterprises offers an accurate vision of the Latin American in 300 square centimeters.' In order to sell the shirts, Fusco, Ballester and Escalona dressed in ski masks and Andean knit hats; over the three days of the fair, they were ejected many times by ARCO security, but still managed to sell all of the shirts, one of which remains in the ESCALA collection as documentation of this action.

Jennifer Josten, 01/12/2008

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