LOS ANGELES — “Plata o plomo.” This phrase, credited to the famed Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, has been used to describe the recruitment tactics of the Drug Wars. “Plata” means silver and “plomo” translates to lead bullet, sending the message that compliance with the drug trade will be rewarded, while disobedience results in death. Women have increasingly been caught in the crosshairs of drug violence, with an estimated seven women killed every day in Mexico. Though Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has positioned himself as a victim of feminist activism, women-led protests continue to demand accountability for femicide — with glitter as their weapon. The protesters call it the revolución diamantina, the glitter revolution.
The artist Rubén Ortiz Torres has named his exhibition at Royale Projects Plata o plomo o glitter, for which he gathered decommissioned patrol vehicles damaged in altercations with cartels and then encrusted them with glitter. Bullet holes are still visible on “Witness Protection Program” (2020), a cop car bathed in midnight blue, millennial pink, and lavender candy paint. Bombs of pink glitter obscure the logo of the Tijuana Police on works like “Chota, Cholos, and Narcos” (2020) and “Glitter Protest” (2020). Artifact by artifact, Torres indexes the remnants of border violence, offering them up as evidence of militarism and government control. Torres’s bilingual titles allude to the joint responsibility that the US and Mexico hold in addressing brutality at the border.
The beauty of these objects is almost disturbing. Torres’s eye-popping palettes are what initially attract us, until we begin to comprehend their critique of gender violence. We come for the colors and sparkles, but stay for the message. In other words, the art is a hook.
In addition to honoring the protestors, the exhibition is also dedicated to murdered activist Isabel Cabañillas, who became a symbol of the Mexican femicide epidemic. By shoehorning a third option into Escobar’s ominous phrase, Plata o plomo o glitter refuses these polarized fates of border violence. Instead, Torres evokes the glitter revolution’s demand and potential for change. Glitter is invasive. It gets everywhere.
The Tweet comparing an ominous screen capture from the Tucker Carlson Show to one of Holzer’s Truisms is being sold as an NFT to benefit crucial organizations in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.
Rapper Maykel “Osorbo” Pérez was sentenced to nine years.
Shows at the Hudson Valley’s Hessel Museum of Art feature artists Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms, as well as new scholarship on Black melancholia as an artistic and critical practice.
On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision to undo 50 years of constitutional rights to abortion, artist Elana Mann’s “protest rattles” feel especially poignant and urgent.
This week, Title IX celebrates 50 years, the trouble with pronouns, a writer’s hilarious response to plagiarism allegations, and much more.
PLEASE SEND TO REAL LIFE: Ray Johnson Photographs reveals the “career in photography” that occupied the artist in the last three years of his life.
Since antiquity, women’s eyebrows have been sites of intense scrutiny, constantly shifting between trend cycles.
A landmark show of 30 artists at Jeffrey Deitch gallery in New York keeps the category of Asian figuration open-ended.
Contemporary Black-Indigenous women artists Rodslen Brown, Joelle Joyner, Moira Pernambuco, Paige Pettibon, Monica Rickert-Bolter, and Storme Webber are featured in this digital exhibition.
Hall makes no attempt to entice the viewer to begin looking and to look again, letting her methodical craft compel viewers to reflect upon their experience.
In Benglis’s latest works, the forces of gravity that defined her seminal poured latex and polyurethane pieces are traded for luminous bronzes.
A new project by Columbia’s Queer Students of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation explores queer histories that have been suppressed by gentrification and urban development.