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Exhibition of new work by artist-in-residence Mario Ybarra, Jr. opens at The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Mario Ybarra, Jr., 2013 sketchbook detail used in forthcoming The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) scarf.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Fabric Workshop and Museum debuts an exhibition of new work by artist-in-residence Mario Ybarra, Jr., titled Books Of Drawings, Beyond Our Dreams, Blame Our Dads, Brains On Drugs, Better Off Dead, on view from Friday, August 30th through Fall 2013. On First Friday, October 4th, FWM will host a Reception for Ybarra, Jr.’s show, from 6:00–8:00 pm, as well as a Press & Members Preview, that will feature an Artist Talk beginning at 5:30 pm.

Mario Ybarra, Jr.‘s sculpture, installations, and community-based projects examine the perspective and cultural touchstones of Mexican-Americans living in Southern California. Ybarra, Jr. strives to cultivate an “open dialogue with the public”—whether as aware participants or unassuming onlookers—in his work, including his socially-engaged artist group Slanguage, which he co-founded with Karla Diaz in 2002 in Wilmington, California.

A major part of Ybarra, Jr.’s work involves examining hidden histories of U.S. street culture through large-scale, mixed media installations. His collaboration with FWM serves as a vehicle for telling a creative, visual narrative of Ybarra, Jr.’s former street crew, established 23 years ago in 1990. Similar to the exhibition’s title, the crew’s name—identified by Ybarra, Jr.’s first graffiti tag, B.O.D.—can stand for many things and inspires many components of the FWM installation, such as wallpaper, jackets, a scarf, and sketchbooks. These artworks are housed within fragmented architectural structures that, when combined, can form a large shipping container, a common industrial sight at the Los Angeles Port, which is located close to Wilmington, California, where Mario Ybarra, Jr. was born and raised. At FWM, these structures simultaneously serve as an urban clubhouse, a museum, and pop-up shop.

Mario Ybarra, Jr. (b. 1972, Wilmington, CA) received an MFA from the University of California, Irvine (2001) and a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles (1999). Recent solo exhibitions include Double Feature at Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles (2013); Mario Ybarra Jr.: The Tio Collection at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (2012); Wilmington Good at the Cardi Black Box, Milan, Italy (2011); Silver and Blacks at Michael Janssen Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2010); Take Me Out…No Man Is An Island at the Art Institute of Chicago (2008); and Black Squirrel Society at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York (2008). Ybarra, Jr. has been included in such group exhibitions as Made in L.A., the Los Angeles Biennial organized by the Hammer Museum in collaboration with LAXART (2012); Invisible Cities at the Instituto Cervantes, Madrid, Spain (2010); the Whitney Biennial, New York (2008); Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles (2008); Prague Biennale 3 in Prague, Czech Republic (2007); The World as a Stage at the Tate Modern, London, UK, as well as the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2007); the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach (2006); and Alien Nation at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, UK (2006).

In 2002, Mario Ybarra, Jr. and Karla Diaz founded Slanguage, a socially-engaged artist group headquartered in Wilmington, CA, who practice a three-pronged approach to art-making based on art education, community building, and the production of interactive exhibitions and performance projects. Slanguage organized Possible Worlds: Mario Ybarra, Jr., Karla Diaz, and Slanguage Studio Select from the Permanent Collections in collaboration with Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Watts House Project, Los Angeles (2011).

Ybarra, Jr.’s work is held in such esteemed collections as the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Eileen and Peter Norton Foundation, Santa Monica. He has been awarded a Levitt Fellowship at Williams College, Williamstown, MA (2008); an Artist Residency at the Arhus Kunstbygning Centre for Contemporary Art in Denmark (2011); and an Artist-in-Residence at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM), Philadelphia (2011-2013). Mario Ybarra, Jr. lives and works in Wilmington, CA, and is represented by Honor Fraser, Los Angeles, and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York and Hong Kong.

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