Making Communities: Art and the Border
March 3 – April 13

Opening Reception in Two Locations
Friday, March 3, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
University Art Gallery (UAG), UC San Diego
SME Visual Arts Gallery (SME), UC San Diego

UAG Special Exhibition Preview
February 28 – March 2, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

UAG Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, 11:00 – 4:00 pm
SME Gallery Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday, 2:30 – 6:00 pm

The Visual Arts Department of UC San Diego has a proud, long-standing history of collaboration and engagement with artists in Tijuana and the Chicano Community in San Diego. In recent days, the nation has been subjected to an “America First” rhetoric treating the world as a contest between rival nations, in which our southern neighbor is cited as a cause of crime and economic decline. Making Communities: Art and the Border counters this dark rhetoric and view of the world with exhibitions at the University Art Gallery, the SME Visual Arts Gallery and the Cross-Cultural Center, celebrating cooperation and engagement with Mexican and immigrant communities as a source of creativity.

For the artists of Making Communities, the border is not just a as a physical reality imposed on the landscape by political forces and entities, but also a subject for the imagination and a site for social engagement and problem-solving. The multimedia exhibition in the University Art Gallery and SME Visual Arts Gallery features twenty artists whose work critiques and reassesses the border and imagines a more interconnected and just world. Contemporary Latino and Chicano art is also featured in a smaller, complementary exhibition in the Cross-Cultural Center galleries. Inspired by the Making Communities, the show there highlighting current student and alumni artists will open on March 8 and run until March 31.

The exhibitions are curated by alumna Tatiana Sizonenko Ph.D. ’13. UAG and SME galleries feature UC San Diego artists including: David Avalos, Cog*nate Collective, Collective Magpie, Alida Cervantes, Teddy Cruz, Ricardo Dominguez, Louis Hock, Las Comadres, Fred Lonidier, Yolanda Lopez, Jean Lowe, Kim MacConnel, Victor Ochoa, Ruben Ortiz-Torres, Iana Quesnell, Allan Sekula, Elizabeth Sisco, Deborah Small, Perry Vasquez, and Yvonne Veneges.

Making Communities: Art and the Border Programming

Making Communities Art and the Border Opening Reception
March 3, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
University Art Gallery

Barb Wired Dreams: The Anatomy of an Image
A workshop with Yolanda Lopez
March 8, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Cross Cultural Center

Making Communities: Art and the Border Panel
March 9, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
University Art Gallery, Mandeville Center


David Avalos (MFA ’90) has devoted himself to socially and politically engaged art of the border region, informed by his involvement with the Committee on Chicano Rights. As a Professor in the School of Arts at CSU San Marcos, he continues to learn about the art-making process with his students and colleagues.

Rita Gonzalez (MFA ’92) is Curator and Acting Department Head in Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where she has curated several exhibitions and has a forthcoming exhibition, A Universal History of Infamy coinciding with Pacific Standard Time LA/LA.

Yolanda Lopez (MFA ’79) is a third-generation Chicana who is internationally renowned for her Virgen de Guadalupe series of drawings, prints, collage, assemblage, and paintings that depict “ordinary” Mexican women with Guadalupan attributes.

Elizabeth Sisco (MFA ’81) is a contemporary American artist best known for her photo/text installations and collaborative public art projects. Her work reveals the social cost of conditions in society, especially for immigrants in California.

Ruben Ortiz-Torres (MFA, CalArts ’92) is a multimedia artist and Professor at UC San Diego whose work explores the issues of globalization and the various, sometimes conflicted, responses to this newest form of Euro-American dominance. Born in Mexico City to a couple of Latin-American folkloric musicians, Ortiz-Torres is noted as one of the first artists in Mexico to position himself within Post-Modernism.

Moderator: Ricardo Dominguez, Visual Arts Associate Professor is a Hellman Fellow, and Principal/Principle Investigator at Calit2, he is the Co-founder of the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), a group who developed virtual sit-in technologies in solidarity with the Zapatistas communities in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1998.

A Performance by Cog*nate Collective exploring the dialectical tension between abstraction and tangibility as experienced + lived across the US/Mexico border
April 6, 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Visual Arts Presentation Lab, SME 149

The Department of Visual Arts sincerely thanks participating artists, alumni, and lending institutions for their generous support and loans of works. We express our sincere appreciation to alumnus David Avalos whose enthusiasm and advice was indispensable and helped to make this exhibition a reality.

Additionally, we would particularly like to recognize curator Jill Dawsey and registrar Tom Callas of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and Rosie Morales of Shoshana Wayne Gallery for the loan of works.

We are also grateful to the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS) for supporting Making Communities: Art and the Border.

FUTURE EVENTS in the 2016-17 academic year

March 2 – April 7 2017, Making Communities: Art and the Border

This multimedia exhibition will highlight the depth of border-related art practices from Visual Arts alumni and faculty and build upon the extensive and unique history of UC San Diego as a destination for artists working with the border.

Curated by Tatiana Sizonenko, Ph.D. ‘13

April 20 – May 26, 2017, Now Again: A Survey of UAG Artists

This exhibition builds upon the notable group of painters who have exhibited at the University Art Gallery, establishing their careers while exposing the University community to museum-quality art. Reflecting on the history of painting within the University Art Gallery.


Extensions of Photography
October 7 – December 9
Reception, October 17, 4:00 – 7:00 pm

Extensions of Photography will highlight artistic practices by former and current UC San Diego-affiliated artists and alumni who redefined the photographic medium and contributed significantly to the cultural life of San Diego and the United States. The exhibition spotlights how these artists have employed photography in complex and layered ways to introduce themes of everyday life and reveal the pressing histories of gender, class, racism, and political resistance, while also experimenting with the medium.

UC San Diego Faculty Club Exhibition
October 10 – December 25
Reception, October 17, 4:00 – 7:00 pm

As a complement to Extensions of Photography in the University Art Gallery, the department will be presenting an exhibition in the UC San Diego faculty club. The exhibition will be comprised of archival material including catalogs and posters, celebrating the history of the UAG. 

Co-curated by Emily Goodman, Ph.D. ’16 and Tatiana Sizonenko, Ph.D. ‘13

Artists and Language, UC San Diego Geisel Library
October 24 – January 8
Reception, November 4, 3:00 – 5:00 pm

The Library is hosting two exhibits this fall both celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Visual Arts Department. The first, going up on October 24, is based on collections from the Special Collections and Archives and the second, going up September 26, is an exhibit covering the print publications of faculty and graduate students associated with the Department based on materials from the circulating collection.

Curated by Emily Goodman, Ph.D. ’16