Borders separate but also unite.

(Octavio Paz, Mexican poet and diplomat)

Nearly two thousand miles long, the US-Mexico border (la frontera) is the most frequently crossed international border in the world. Although predominantly depicted in the American media as a hub of drug trafficking and violence, the border—porous in nature—is also a place that allows for the exchange of ideas, wealth, and culture.

Recently at the forefront of political and cultural conversation following the current US President’s anti-immigration discourse and executive orders, the border has been characterized by contradictions since the nineteenth century, when the US annexed an important portion of Mexican territory. For Mexicans, Central Americans, and the United States citizens living alongside it, the border presents daily challenges that carry within them both hope and devastation. It is a complex physical, economic, cultural, social, and emotional landscape of human interaction.

The exhibition La Frontera: Encounters Along the Border seeks to explore this space and what it represents. Jewelry artists from Mexico, the United States, Latin America, and Europe expose the underlying currents of the border environment within geographic, political, economic, social, cultural, and ideological contexts. The artists transform metal, fiber, wood, and other materials into representations of their experiences, their influences, their dreams, and their nightmares.

La Frontera was originally organized and curated by Lorena Lazard and Velvet da Vinci Gallery. It premiered at the Museo Franz Mayer in Mexico City in 2013. It then traveled to Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, California; the Art Gallery at Indiana University Kokomo, Kokomo, Indiana; and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, Texas.

La Frontera: Encounters Along the Border is co-curated by Mike Holmes and Lorena Lazard with the assistance of MAD’s Assistant Curator, Barbara Paris Gifford, and Assistant Manager of Curatorial Affairs, Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy.

Major funding for La Frontera: Encounters Along the Border is provided by Barbara Waldman, Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, and the Rotasa Fund.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.