Installation view shows a grid of selfies on the left wall, a wooden bench sits in the foreground. The right shows objects from the museum and its collection.
"Yo Soy Museo," New works by Alberto Aguilar, National Museum of Mexican Art, Continuing through February 12, 2023 Credit: Michael Tropea

For “Yo Soy Museo” at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago artist Alberto Aguilar mines the relationship between the museum and the artist, cannily playing with notions of display and presentation. Having the distinction of being the first exhibition in the museum’s history to not have to take out a single loan agreement, “Yo Soy Museo” presents and re-presents artifacts from the museum’s archival holdings, trinkets from employees’ work spaces, catalogs from previous exhibitions, and other museum ephemera all intermingling with Aguilar’s own photographs and works that similarly consider the potency of the everyday objects in the spaces we inhabit. Record covers from the museum archive, selected on the basis that they feature a human face, are hung on the wall and then partially obscured by hanging prayer flags, an installation analogue to the 27 self-portraits of Aguilar in which his face is obscured by a seemingly random object (a basketball, a cardboard Pacifico box, etc). While the many objects that populate “Yo Soy Museo” have their own respective strength, Aguilar’s move in this exhibition has less to do with finding meaning in discreet artifacts. Rather, the deeply relational system Aguilar evokes insists that exhibition is everywhere, that possibilities for the crafting of new meanings and art making can occur with a slight variation in the habits of creative approach.

“Yo Soy Museo”
Through 2/12/23: Tue-Sun 10 AM-5 PM, National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th, nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org

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