Maybe that has something to do with working in Mexico. Maybe the political control mechanisms that reined in the most subversive strains of Modernism aren’t possible in the chaos of the Third World. It seems like more than mere coincidence that all this American and European attention is being paid in the wake of NAFTA’s “reforms” and the 2000 elections, which saw Mexico’s Coca-Cola party sweep into office after 71 years of quasi-socialist government. Artists and their work deserve to be taken at face value, in honor of the hard-wired, trans-historical human needs they serve. Once you start trying to tease out their roles as pawns and tokens of the metastasizing global-culture tumor, and the seeming untenability of gestures of resistance, it just makes your head hurt, and leaves you longing for another ice age.
MADE IN MEXICO and TARA DONOVAN | UCLA Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood | Through September 12