Inspired by the families and self-constructed buildings in the Mexico City neighborhood where he grew up, Abraham Cruzvillegas (born 1968 in Mexico City) has cultivated an artistic platform that begins with the concept of autoconstrucción—loosely defined as “self-constructing”—and embodies a philosophy of community, collaboration, instability, resourcefulness, and play. Although manifesting in many forms and iterations, ranging from sculpture and installation to moving-image works and live performance, the core of Cruzvillegas’s current creative investigation centers around transforming recycled materials into sculptural objects then engaging local communities as agents of change and social dialogue.

For this exhibition—which will premiere in Austin, Texas, then travel to Aspen, Colorado, in fall 2019—Cruzvillegas has designed objects or sculptures for each museum to produce, reflecting the local by using found or reused materials. During the course of the exhibition, these objects will be used, manipulated, and activated in self-determined ways by participants such as a selection of individuals from Mexico City with direct connections to the artist (choreographers, musicians, chefs, authors, parkour or graffiti street artists) and the local communities of Austin and Aspen, including museum staff and the general public. Each participant offers an area of expertise and passion, an educational model that allows community members to collaborate on definitions of local issues, projects, histories, and ideas. The structures in the exhibition will change and transform over time, within each museum as well as from one venue to the next. Like viral organisms taking on a life of their own, the works will serve as evidence of the actions and people who have engaged with them. The artist will also create an outdoor work at the fourteen-acre sculpture park at Laguna Gloria that suggests a shelter for community gathering and celebration.

This exhibition is co-organized by Heather Pesanti, Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, The Contemporary Austin, and Heidi Zuckerman, Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director, Aspen Art Museum. Text is by Pesanti.