The New Museum asked me to interview an artist from their triennial, The Ungovernables, which is now on view at the museum. I picked Antonio Vega Macotela, a Mexican artist based in Amsterdam whose piece “Habemus Gasoline” (“We Got Gas”) is a rude goldberg mash up of flasks, bunch of hammers, hoses, like a mad scientist moon shines still. It points out how all of Mexico’s oil, thanks to NASDAQ, is exported to the US to be refined and then sold back to Mexico. Macotela’s point is to use some of Ghandi’s spinning wheel and urging the Mexican citizenry to refine their own gasoline. Another unbelievable piece of art that Macotela created is “Time Exchange”, documenting the years he spent with prisoners creating an economy of time. He would trade doing whatever job the inmate would want done — visiting relatives, shopping, hanging out with friends, go dancing, visit a prostitute, watch a son’s first steps, getting drunk at the Baptism of a nephew, while the prisoner would be recording his pulse, drawing maps of the steps of some dance he did while listening to certain song, the crackling, the history of every scar on his body — for tasks that the inmate would be doing at the same time, making a mark for every heartbeat. (Macotela just conveyed a greeting from somebody else to the prostitute.) I wish I could be in Mexico City on April 22 to see his work at the opening of the New Labor Gallery.
- bobholman posted this