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opens at the Cultural Institute of Mexico, Washington DC
February 16 - April 24, 2006

Strange New World: Art and Design from Tijuana/Extraño Nuevo Mundo: Arte y Diseño Desde Tijuana premiered at the Cultural Institute of Mexico in Washington DC. The exhibition opened on Thursday evening, February 16, to a crowd of over 400 collectors, diplomats and art aficionados at one of the most important artistic and cultural centers established outside of Mexico. In attendance were honored guests: Governor of Baja California, Eugenio Elorduy Walther; Mexico's Ambassador to the United States, Carlos de Icaza; Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art-San Diego, Hugh Davies; and Rachel Teagle, curator of the exhibition.

Extraño Nuevo Mundo is the first in-depth survey of Tijuana's dynamic, multidisciplinary artistic scene. The exhibition in Washington DC is an abbreviated version of what will be shown at future venues, and included works by 32 of the 41 artists for the Museum of Contemporary Art-San Diego leg of the national tour. Linea - Escaparates de Tijuana 1-4, a four-panel architectural drawing by Hugo Crosthwaite, purchased by MCASD in 2005, was one of the featured works in the exhibition.

The evening was highlighted with celebratory speeches by the Director of the Cultural Institute, Alejandro Negrín and each of the honored guests. Speakers discussed Tijuana and the Mexican-American border shared by San Diego and Tijuana. Mexico's Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Carlos de Icaza noted that this shared border, the most traversed international border in the world, has been a peaceful border with little military incident throughout its history. Presenters testified to the uniqueness of the border culture, pointing to the ways in which the industrial city of Tijuana strives toward the future in spite of its physical barriers. There was call for partnership between the United States and Mexico in dealing with migration issues as well as acknowledgment of the important and great cultural links between the neighboring countries.

Mr. de Icaza, spoke highly of the artist's selected to take part in this exhibition, the wide range of artistic styles being a testament to the great quality of work being created in Tijuana, the second largest city on the western coast of the American continent. The Ambassador singled out Hugo Crosthwaite, Tania Candiani and Marco Ramírez as being artists from Baja California who have reached international recognition, each having exhibited in some of the most important galleries and museums in the world.

Extraño Nuevo Mundo showcases a diverse selection of artworks, representative of the different generations of contemporary artists from Tijuana. Works from many mediums including painting, drawing, installation, video and photography are part of the exhibition.

This group show, organized by the curators from the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, will premier at the Cultural Institute of Mexico in Washington DC on February 16, 2006 and will then travel to San Diego and Santa Monica. While in San Diego, the exhibition will be on view at both Museum of Contemporary Art locations, downtown at Kettner and Broadway and in La Jolla on Prospect Street. Following the exhibition's tenure in United States, the show will then travel to one or two museums in Mexico.

Strange New World: Art and Design from Tijuana/Extraño Nuevo Mundo: Arte y diseño desde Tijuana will present the work of 41 artists from Baja California. The majority of work shown will be from the years 1990 to present, with a few of the artist's work from the 1970s and 80s.

In 2005 the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego purchased a large drawing by Hugo Crosthwaite, entitled Linea - Escaparates de Tijuana 1-4 (Line - Tijuana Cityscapes 1-4). This work, completed in 2003, is a four-panel cityscape, measuring 2 feet by 16 feet (24 x 192 inches), depicts the urban landscape constructs of Tijuana's colonias - the suburban communities perched precariously on the hillsides of the border city. This large drawing on wood panel will be included in Strange New World: Art and Design from Tijuana/Extraño Nuevo Mundo: Arte y diseño desde Tijuana.

With Linea, Hugo Crosthwaite has created a panorama of unidentifiable cement buildings. He says, "I wanted to create the general impression of an impoverished city, where windows, buildings and doors have been put up out of necessity." The artist's depiction of this haphazard construction is a tribute to Tijuana's improvisation, paying homage to the ways that the US-Mexico border, known colloquially as la linea, has impacted the development of Tijuana as a place. Crosthwaite captures the aesthetic of Tijuana by depicting the inventive construction and the chaos that it brings. People migrating north to cross the border into the United States often end up staying in Tijuana where they build homes out of what they find (discarded refrigerator door and tires) and where they can (on hillsides, behind stores), which has led Raúl Cárdenas Osuna, founder of the design collective Torolab, to call the city's dominate style "emergency architecture," where "the ephemeral becomes permanent."

With each new wave of arrivals, this northern border city is reborn and because people have not stopped coming since the 1970s, Tijuana is a city that never settles into itself - it is a city in constant motion. It is this aesthetic of transient and temporary construction that Crosthwaite has chronicled in his panoramic drawing. The artist depicts the always-transforming Tijuana with austere right angles and forceful straight lines, all the while creating a romantically human local, tinged with political and social nuances.

Strange New World: Art and Design from Tijuana/Extraño Nuevo Mundo: Arte y diseño desde Tijuana explores the art and design in a city that is consistently transformed by issues of globalization, migration and identity; focusing on documenting the oft-dismissed creative vitality of Tijuana and neighboring cities. Strange New World: Art and Design from Tijuana/Extraño Nuevo Mundo: Arte y diseño desde Tijuana also investigates the border experience as well as artists whose work has been influenced by the fast-paced urban development of Baja California. The museum exhibition will present a host of works in a wide variety of media. It is surely a show not to be missed.

For more information on the exhibition please contact the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego at 858-454-3541.