APR 14 - JUN 2, 2019
Royale Projects is pleased to announce Alejandro Diaz Sampler, opening Sunday, April 14th and running through June 2nd. This exhibition will be the artist’s first major survey of work in Los Angeles, CA and will showcase his prolific two-decade long career.
Alejandro Diaz Sampler focuses on his recent return to painting, while bringing together works that he dubs art history’s “greatest hits”, and the artist’s acclaimed, campy cardboard signs - which he began making and selling on the streets of Manhattan in the early 2000’s- that later evolved into neon, offering a rigorous overview of his practice.
Initially approaching Diaz’s work, humor and playfulness lure viewers in however, socio-economic boundaries reveal themselves as various layers begin to dissolve. The artist cleverly uses comic relief and entertainment as a form of art ‘world’ critique, resistance, and intervention. Utilizing everyday materials and common household items - glitter, trowels, doilies – he forges a rasquachismo aesthetic that not only empowers his Chicanx culture but creates a “populist” version of artworks that have become exploited through the expanse of the contemporary art market. Diaz fuses high and low art, using wit to turn ruling paradigms upside down.
Growing up in San Antonio, TX, he developed an exciting and pertinent body of work exemplifying the complex and rich cultural milieu particular to South Texas and Mexico that is juxtaposed with the social positioning of his chosen home in New York City.
Whether in the form of cardboard, what Diaz terms “Mexican Wallpaper”, or brilliant neon, he employs language to critically examine a broad range of political themes with signs that read “Make Tacos Not War”, “No Shoes, No Shirt, You’re Probably Rich”, and “Unknown Artists at Unheard of Prices”.
Questioning authenticity and value systems within the art-economy, works such as Glitter Pollock or This is not a Calder, use a resourcefulness emblematic of Mexican-American traditions to recreate some of contemporary art’s most renowned works.
The artists latest body of work consists of paintings that have enabled a pure joy in the fundamental act of making, a direct reaction to large scale, high production value works, that have been produced by outside fabricators for the last 20 years.
Diaz was the recipient of the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 2007 and in the following year was selected to participate in a major group exhibition at LACMA, Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement. The exhibition traveled to Mexico City, Houston, San Antonio, and New York. He has had a solo project at the critically acclaimed Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT (2009) with additional solo exhibitions at Jessica Murray Projects, NY (2001), the RISD Museum of Art (2012), and the Linda Pace Foundation (2015).
His work has been reviewed in publications such as the New Yorker, The New York Times, Art in America, the LA Times, Flash Art, Vogue Mexico, Artforum, and Frieze. His work is in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum of Art, Washington D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; El Museo del Barrio, NY; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ; Fundación Jumex, Mexico City; RISD Museum of Art, Providence, RI and was recently added to the collection of the Museum of Contemporary art San Diego, CA.