Clive Fellow for Interdisciplinary Painting Practices
Introduction by Tony Labat
Miguel Calderón (BFA 1994) creates potent works from the collision of vernacular forms and artistic media, to explore themes ranging from falconry to family dynamics, or the supernatural. His work is unified by foreboding theatricality, the macabre, and the fantastical. In some of his most well-known works, Calderón collaborated with museum maintenance workers to stage scenes of paintings in the collection from their memory; and he supplied the paintings that haunt The Royal Tenenbaums, which he considers a performance across media. His newest work is Zeus, his first feature film, which bridges his own interest in falconry with the drama of a young adult living in their mother’s home.
Calderón deploys a variety of media, including video, photography, sculpture, and painting. His pieces often combine a dark sense of humor with a certain playfulness and Pop culture references, such as music videos and rock music. These influences are absorbed and reconfigured into works that explore deep social and personal territories. For Calderón, it is important that art be accessible; he came of age as an artist in Mexico during the 1990s, when he was a key figure in the development of a young alternative art scene in Mexico, associated with the non-commercial art space he co-founded called La Panadería. In his practice he considers the divide between the rarified world of “high art” and the day-to-day, deftly weaving together a combination of mockery, foolishness, social critique, and sincerity of emotion to create an image that resonates on many levels.