“Constantly in Translation”: Artists Vicko Alvarez Vega, Nicole Marroquin, and Diana Solís on identity, activism, and Pop [Video]

On October 30, 2019 the Block hosted an in-depth discussion with Chicago artists Vicko Alvarez Vega, Nicole Marroquin and Diana Solís. Convened and moderated by Sarita Hernández of the National Museum of Mexican Art the panel discussed how their practices are rooted in issues of identity and community, and how ideas and approaches from the exhibition Pop América remain relevant in our contemporary moment. The panel was presented by The Block Museum in partnership with the National Museum of Mexican Art with support of The Alumnae of Northwestern University. América Now took place in conjunction with One Book One Northwestern and Northwestern: 150 Years of Women.

About the Artists

• Vicko Alvarez Vega is a comic artist, organizer, and educator whose work involves themes of growing up Latinx, queerness, and processing the fear of deportation.
• Nicole Marroquin is a teacher, educator, and artist whose work explores belonging and spatial justice. She has been researching student uprisings in Chicago Public Schools that occurred from 1967 to 1974.
• Diana Solís is a visual artist and art educator who has taught for over 30 years at organizations that include Urban Gateways, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Gallery 37, and ElevArte Community Studio.

Watch: América Now: Chicago Artists in Dialogue

Part of the reason why I really wanted to be in conversation with Nicole, Diana, and Vicko was because a lot of their work is reacting constantly to what’s happening around them or is inspired by something that happened in the past and the act of bringing that to light. Today I’m really excited to see what everyone has to talk about and create an extension of an ongoing conversation from history.

Sarita Hernández

I think a lot of artists like ourselves work outside of the institutions to create art, not meant purposely to be in museums and galleries. In terms of our public artwork and the work that we do, we are conscientious in the sense that we are not just doing art for art’s sake. It doesn’t mean that we don’t show in galleries. Heavens know I have, including museums. But t there is a direct connection there between the three of us, our art, and what is happening with the political work in Pop América.

Nicole Marroquin

I feel like there’s a lot of history that we need to talk about that wasn’t recorded in pop art, and as we move forward with exhibitions like this one where we’re starting to push folks of color into the dialogue, we need to think about what other people we need to push into the conversation. If we’re not gonna rewrite history, we at least need to make sure we write it as inclusive as possible in the art world.

Vicko Alvarez Vega

Images from the Evening

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