Tracing the founding of El Museo del Barrio by Raphael Montañez Ortíz at the end of the 60s, an era of social unrest and radical activism in the United States as well as throughout the Americas, the works in this exhibition target colonialism, imperialism, urban neglect, and cultural hegemony with a vast array of weapons, including irreverence and humor. The artists confront the status quo with a wide range of disarming conceptual strategies and aesthetic detonators. The fire that surfaces in some of the artworks points to an equally dangerous and alluring element that consumes and transforms, one that must be handled with care.

Playing with Fire: Political Interventions, Dissident Acts, and Mischievous Actions purposely welcomes impolite, undomesticated, rebellious, hilarious, and even sacrilegious discourses and gestures that stick out their tongues at oppressive systems and push for the re-politicization of society and the art space.


ADAL, Manuel Acevedo, Maris Bustamante, Nao Bustamante, Papo Colo, Abigail DeVille, Alejandro Diaz, Adonis Flores, Ester Hernández, Javier Hinojosa (b. 1956, México, D.F.) with the collaboration of Melquiades Herrera (Mexico, D.F., 1949-2003), Jessica Kairé, Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez, Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga, Carlos Ortíz, Pedro Pietri, Jesús Natalio Puras Penzo (APECO), Quintín Rivera Toro, Juan Sánchez.

The exhibition, as part of El Museo’s Carmen Ana Unanue gallery is guest curated by multi-disciplinary artist Nicolás Dumit Estévez.

CROSSFIRE: Artist Interviews

Nicolás Dumit Estévez asked artists in Playing with Fire to interview each other as well as to engage with him in Q and A’s dealing with their specific contributions to the exhibition or with their art practice in general. These exchanges aim to spark conversations, debates, and to plant a seed for potential collaborations between the participants. During the last seven years, Estévez has received mentorship in art and everyday life from Linda Mary Montano, a leading figure in the performance art field and a pioneer of the Q and A format within the arts. For example, seePerformance Artists Talking in the Eighties published by University of California Press. Crossfire was conceived and edited by Nicolás Dumit Estévez.

Read interviews here.