‘Amalia Mesa-Bains: Archaeology of Memory’ on View at El Museo del Barrio




Detail, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Venus EnvyII: The Virgin’s Garden, 1994. Mixed media installation; 180 x 120 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Photograph by Daria Lugina.

El Museo del Barrio presents: Archaeology of Memory, the first retrospective exhibition by the pioneering installation artist, curator, and theorist. Born in 1943 to a Mexican immigrant family, Mesa-Bains has been a leading figure in Chicanx art for nearly half a century. Her practice explores intersectional feminist themes, environmentally centered spirituality, and cultural diversity to counter the racist and gendered erasures of colonial repression.

On view May 2 to August 11, 2024, the exhibition features over 40 works including the artist’s large-scale altar-installations, as well as prints, artist books, and codices. Anchored by the multi-chapter “Venus Envy” series, Archaeology of Memory is a rare opportunity to view three decades of Mesa-Bains’s genre-defying artworks, many of which are on display together for the first time.

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