Nicolás De Jesús is a storyteller. His tales are portrayed through intricate etchings, paintings on bark paper, monumental colorful paintings, and large banners that once billowed above the streets of his home community in Mexico. While his whimsical and satirical skeleton-characters echo the annual Day of the Dead calavera traditions, his underlying themes are pulled from the headlines of world events and global politics.

On September 7, the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, SUNY, opens its doors to Nicolás De Jesús: A Mexican Artist for Global Justice, a retrospective solo exhibition featuring more than three decades of the artist’s work. Curated by Patrice Giasson, the Neuberger Museum’s Alex Gordon Curator of Art of the Americas, with the assistance of curatorial intern Alexandra Hunter, the exhibition is an amalgamation of iconic graphic works alongside easel paintings and powerful political street banners. Throughout the galleries are works from a recent series of monumental American paintings addressing the disasters of COVID-19, the repression faced by migrants and African Americans, and the storming of the US Capitol.

De Jesús raises questions that surpass the boundaries of his home country and draw attention to pain and disorder being experienced throughout the world. His messages are empathetic and powerful. His work is incredibly detailed. He challenges the conventional definitions of contemporary art.

Patrice Giasson, Alex Gordon Curator of Art of the Americas at the Neuberger Museum of Art

The exhibition will be on view from September 7 through December 23, 2022. The opening reception on Wednesday, September 7, begins at 5pm (ET) with the artist leading a ritualistic experience in the gallery surrounded by his work; a reception and book signing will follow. The illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition is published in conjunction with HIRMER publishers.

Nicolás De Jesús: A Mexican Artist for Global Justice is organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY, in collaboration with the Willowell Foundation. Funding has been provided by the Alex Gordon Foundation with the support of the Alex Gordon Estate.

For more information, visit purchase.edu.

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