Installation view, Hammer Projects: Yoshua Okón at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, August 13, 2011–November 6, 2011 (photography by Brian Forrest, courtesy the Hammer Museum)

Mexican artist Yoshua Okón has been creating provocative, often controversial video and performance works for over two decades. Blurring the boundaries between documentary and fiction, Okón turns a critical eye to politics, globalization, capitalism, and culture, raising tough questions that don’t have easy answers. His notable works include the video installation “Octopus” (2011), which features Guatemalan day laborers outside an LA Home Depot, reenacting scenes from their home country’s civil war; and “Chocorrol” (1997), a video depicting the artist’s xoloitzcuintli, a Mexican hairless dog, mating with a pure-bred poodle, touching on issues of race, class, and sexual panic. At last year’s Zona MACO art fair, he presented a cheeky piece of institutional critique: a toilet in the shape of Carlos Slim’s Museo Soumaya being covered in hexagonal tiles by hired workers.

In addition to his work as an artist, Okón is a seminal figure in the cultural life of Mexico City, having been instrumental in the establishment of two of its most important nontraditional institutions. In 1994 he co-founded the influential artist-run space La Panadería with fellow artist Miguel Calderón, and in 2009, he co-founded SOMA, a nonprofit art school focused on dialogue and artistic exchange. On April 25, Okón will discuss the many threads and themes of his work in a visiting artist lecture at Otis College; the talk is free and open to the public.

When: Tuesday, April 25, 11am
Where: Otis College of Art and Design (9045 Lincoln Blvd, Westchester, Los Angeles)

More info here.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.