Curatorial Projects > Evidence: Artistic Responses to the Drug Cartel Wars (2013)

Evidence: Artistic Responses to the Drug Cartel Wars

A group exhibition featuring work by Miguel A. Aragón, Roberto Gomez Hernandez, Ernesto Ortiz Leyva, Fiamma Montezemolo, and Gianfranco Rosi & Charles Bowden.

June 21 – August 31, 2013
Intersection for the Arts
San Francisco, CA

Although one may think the violence from this war happens somewhere else, the proximity of this violence becomes palpable considering that a substantial amount of financing for the drug cartels comes directly from American drug consumers. Thousands of people have been murdered in the past decade through the ongoing armed conflict between rival drug cartels fighting for regional control of trafficking routes into the U.S. as well as through confrontations with both Mexican and U.S. government forces. Journalistic coverage of the drug violence has declined over the years, as many journalists have been murdered for covering narco-related news. Some media networks simply ceased reporting on the drug war, while others have been directly infiltrated and corrupted by drug cartels. Although harassment effectively neutralized many of the traditional media outlets in both Mexico and the U.S., the drug cartels have also kept pace with non-traditional journalistic outlets, torturing and murdering bloggers and social media users. Many other complex, interrelated factors have also contributed to the diminishing public consciousness about the drug wars, including economic, government, and business interests.

This exhibition features artistic responses to the drug cartel wars through painting, video, photography, and printmaking — responses that do not explicitly depict the graphic brutality of these incomprehensible acts of violence, but rather position images that can mitigate and counteract societal tendencies for compassion fatigue around this issue. Through their artwork, these artists continue to provide a platform for discussion about one of the most pressing issues or our time.

- Kevin B. Chen