In August, 2003 Anton Vidokle painted red the Modernist building façade of the Salto del Agua metro station offices in Mexico City. Julieta Aranda was filming. I visited them and met them for the first time.
"At the end of the fifteenth of his 'Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Mankind' Schiller states a paradox and makes a promise. He declares that ‘Man is only completely human when he plays’, and assures us that this paradox is capable ‘of bearing the whole edifice of the art of the beautiful and of the still more difficult art of living’. We could reformulate this thought as follows: there exists a specific sensory experience—the aesthetic—that holds the promise of both a new world of Art and a new life for individuals and the community. There are different ways of coming to terms with this statement and this promise. You can say that they virtually define the ‘aesthetic illusion’ as a device which merely serves to mask the reality that aesthetic judgement is structured by class domination. In my view that is not the most productive approach..." from
Jacques Rancier, 'The Aesthetic Revolution and its Outcomes', New Left Review 14, April-March 2002
Pablo León de la Barra is an exhibition maker, independent curator and researcher. He was born in Mexico City in 1972. León de la Barra has a PhD in History and Theories from the Architectural Association, London. He has curated among other exhibitions ‘To Be Political it Has to Look Nice’ (2003) at apexart and Art in General in New York; ‘PR04 Biennale’ (2004, co-curator) in Puerto Rico; ‘George and Dragon at ICA’ (2005) at the ICA-London; ‘Glory Hole’ (2006) at the Architecture Foundation-London; ‘Sueño de Casa Propia’(2007-2008, in collaboration with Maria Ines Rodriguez) at Centre de Art Contemporaine-Geneve, Casa Encendida-Madrid, Casa del Lago-Mexico City, and Cordoba, Spain; ‘This Is Not America’ at Beta Local in San Juan, Puerto Rico (2009); ‘Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, Yucatan and Elsewhere’, at the CCE in Guatemala (2010); ‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’, Cerith Wyn Evans at Casa Barragan, Mexico City (2010); ‘Incidents of Mirror Travel in Yucatan and Elsewhere’, at Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2011); 'Bananas is my Business: the Southamerican Way' at Museu Carmen Miranda, Rio de Janeiro (co-curated with Julieta Gonzalez, 2011); 'MicroclimaS' at Kunsthalle Zurich (2012); 'Esquemas para una Oda Tropical', Rio de Janeiro, 2012; 'Marta 'Che' Traba' at Museo La Ene, Buenos Aires (2012); Novo Museo Tropical at Teoretica, San Jose, Costa Rica (2012); Museu Labirinto / Museum of Unlimited Growth, ArtRio, Rio de Janeiro (2012); The Camino Real Arcades, Lima, Peru (2012). PLB has acted as advisor and/or art curator for the following art fairs: Pinta/London (2010-12), Maco/Mexico (2009-1012), Circa/Puerto Rico (2010), La Otra/Bogota (2009), ArteBA/ Buenos Aires (2012), ArtRio/Rio de Janeiro (2011-2013). León de la Barra has written amongst other publications for: Frog/Paris, PinUp/New York, Purple/Paris, Spike/Austria, Tar/Italy, Wallpaper/London, Celeste/Mexico, Tomo/Mexico, Rufino/Mexico, Ramona/Buenos Aires, Metropolis M/Amsterdam, Numero Cero/Puerto Rico. PLB has also written texts for many artists and exhibition catalogues, lectured internationally and participated in many international symposiums where relevant topics to arts, culture and society have been discussed. PLB was co-director of ‘24-7’ an artists-curatorial collective in London from 2002-2005 and artistic director of ‘Blow de la Barra’ in London from 2005-2008. From 2005 to 2012 he was curator of the White Cubicle Gallery in London, a community art space which he also founded. He is also founder of the Novo Museo Tropical, a museum yet to physically exist somewhere in the tropics and curated the First Bienal Tropical in San Juan Puerto Rico (2011). He is also the publisher of Pablo Internacional Editions and editor of his own blog the Centre for the Aesthetic Revolution. He lives and works between London, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, San Juan, Bogota, Lima, Athens, Beirut...