Nicolás De Jesús is a storyteller. His tales are portrayed through intricate etchings, paintings on bark paper, monumental colorful paintings, and large banners that once billowed above the streets of his home community in Mexico. Elaborate details of bucolic everyday life in rural villages are interwoven with scenes from urban barrios in places like Chicago, Paris, and Jakarta. His vivid depictions of people joyfully dancing, eating, fishing, making music, or harvesting, recall the work of Renaissance masters. While his whimsical and satirical skeleton-characters echo the annual Day of the Dead calavera traditions, his underlying themes are pulled from the headlines of world events and global politics.
On September 7th, the Neuberger Museum of Art
at Purchase College, SUNY opens its doors to Nicolás De Jesús: A Mexican Artist for Global Justice, a retrospective solo exhibition featuring more than three decades of the artists work. Curated by Patrice Giasson, the Neuberger Museums Alex Gordon Curator of Art of the Americas, with the assistance of curatorial intern Alexandra Hunter, the exhibition is an amalgamation of iconic graphic works alongside easel paintings and powerful political street banners. Throughout the galleries are works from a recent series of monumental American paintings addressing the disasters of COVID 19, the repression faced by migrants and African Americans, and the storming of the US Capitol.
De Jesús raises questions that surpass the boundaries of his home country and draw attention to pain and disorder being experienced throughout the world, says Giasson. His messages are empathetic and powerful. His work is incredibly detailed. He challenges the conventional definitions of contemporary art.
The exhibition will be on view at the Neuberger Museum from September 7 through December 23, 2022. The illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition is published in conjunction with HIRMER publishers.
Nicolás De Jesús: A Mexican Artist for Global Justice is organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY, in collaboration with the Willowell Foundation. Funding has been provided by the Alex Gordon Foundation with the support of the Alex Gordon Estate. The exhibition is on view from September 7 through December 23, 2022.