Julia Antivilo Peña
María Laura Rosa
The feminist art group Polvo de Gallina Negra (PGN) was founded by Maris Bustamante and Monica Mayer in June 1983 in Mexico City with the initial participation of the artist Herminia Dosal. By experimenting with contemporary art languages, such as mail art, performance, intervention in the mass media — television, newspapers, radio, among others, PGN sought to deconstruct the traditional images of the feminine that were circulating in Mexico and at the same time analyze and criticize sexist stereotypes.
Over the course of ten years, PGN proposed conceptual and experimental art actions that engaged a broad audience to raise awareness of the gender inequalities naturalized in Mexican society as well as the prevailing inequalities in the art system.
On the occasion of 40 Years of Polvo de Gallina Negra: Feminist Art in Mexico, we would like to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the group by presenting ten years of work while it was active, including the personal journeys of each of its members as well as their subsequent trajectories and their legacy for Latin American women artists. To this end, we propose a journey through three moments spanning five decades of artistic production, either prior to the formation of the group or after its dissolution as a result of the reactivation of their works and of highly relevant proposals.
The exhibition begins with the section De aquellos polvos [Those Dusts] with two videos about Maris and Monica’s careers. “Arte en rosa” [“Art in Pink”] by Sachiko Uzeta (2014) presents the interview Monica Mayer conducted with Maris Bustamante as a key figure in performance art. In the video, the artist talks about her participation in the Non-Group during the 1970s and about her rarely exhibited individual works. This video is complemented by the one made by Mónica Mayer that explains her pieces at the Museo Cabañas.
The Polvo de Gallina Negra section focuses on the actions carried out by Maris Bustamante and Mónica Mayer, which include strategies of activism, street intervention and their previous production based on humor, direct action and deployment in the public space. Also on display is the work “La fiesta de XV años” [“The Quinceañera Party”], which reflects on rituals rooted in Mexican and Latin American culture.
Finally, Pospolvo. Reactivaciones [Post-dust: Revivals] assembles works and activations after the group’s dissolution that were undertaken by Maris Bustamante, Mónica Mayer and by artists and activists who assumed their legacy.
On the 40th anniversary of PGN’s founding, we celebrate a genealogy of Latin American feminist artists who still have plenty to tell and in whom Mexico has left an important impression.