Being Here with You/ Estando aquí contigo brings together work by 42 artists and collectives living and working in the San Diego and Tijuana region. Presenting both early career and established artists, Being Here with You/ Estando aquí contigo highlights distinctive practices shaping conversations and communities in our binational region and beyond.

Being Here with You/ Estando aquí contigo borrows its title from the bilingual song “Angel Baby” by Rosie and the Originals, a teenage band from National City, California, which points to the region’s rich history of homegrown talent. The title also harkens back to MCASD’s 1985 survey, A San Diego Exhibition: Forty-Two Emerging Artists. Since that time, MCASD has broadened its focus to include the work of Tijuana artists. Being Here with You/ Estando aquí contigo reflects the Museum’s mandate to serve the binational constituency of the region and affirms its commitment to artists on both sides of the border. Recognizing that San Diego and Tijuana’s artistic communities are distinct but overlapping, the exhibition builds on the ongoing artistic exchanges between the two cities.

Being Here with You/ Estando aquí contigo presents artworks in a broad range of mediums, including installation, painting, drawing, video, digital media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, and performance. The exhibition draws attention to common interests and artistic strategies. Artists in the exhibition address today’s urgent questions as well as issues affecting our region, including public space and public memory; colonialism and its afterlife; the border as fantasy and reality; housing and homelessness; feminist and queer politics; and the place of the body in the digital world.

An improvisational approach to process and performance is shared by numerous artists, many of whom engage in painterly experimentation and the transformation of traditional craft forms. Many artists demonstrate a resourcefulness with respect to materials, especially through the reclamation and reanimation of found objects. Collaboration is a frequent strategy, with several artists working directly with their peers or alongside members of their communities. Being Here with You/ Estando aquí contigo also acknowledges the crucial role that alternative art venues play in the region’s art scene, with nearly a quarter of the exhibition’s artists running or programming independent spaces in San Diego and Tijuana.

MCASD is honored to include the work of James Luna (1950-2018), who accepted our invitation to participate before his untimely passing. For over four decades, Luna subverted accepted narratives of history and cultural identity through his incisive, humorous, and often poignant installations and performances. His influence is apparent in the work of many artists in Being Here with You/ Estando aquí contigo.

Being Here with You/ Estando aquí contigo is co-organized by Curator Jill Dawsey and Assistant Curator Anthony Graham. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.

Being Here with You/ Estando aquí contigo: 42 Artists from San Diego and Tijuana is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and made possible by the Being Here With You/ Estando aquí contigo: Underwriters Community. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.