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Enrique Chagoya

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Enrique Chagoya

American, b. 1953
Drawing from his experiences living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in the late 70’s, and also in Europe in the late 90’s, Enrique Chagoya juxtaposes secular, popular, and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States, Latin America and the world as well. He uses familiar pop icons to create deceptively friendly points of entry for the discussion of complex issues. Through these seemingly harmless characters Chagoya examines the recurring subject of colonialism and oppression that continues to riddle contemporary American foreign policy.

Chagoya was born and raised in Mexico City. His father, a bank employee by day and artist by night, encouraged his interest in art by teaching him drawing and color theory at a very early age. As a young adult, Chagoya enrolled in the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, where he studied political economy and contributed political cartoons to student and union newsletters. He relocated to Veracruz and directed a team focused on rural-development projects, a time he describes as “an incredible growing experience…[that] made me form strong views on what was happening outside in the world.”[1] This growing political awareness would later surface in Chagoya’s art. At age 24, he immigrated to the United States and settled in San Juan, Texas. After eight months working as a union organizer for farm workers, Chagoya moved to Berkeley, California, and began working as a free-lance illustrator and graphic designer. Disheartened by what he considered to be the narrow political scope of economics programs in local colleges, Chagoya turned his interests to art. He enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute, where he earned a BFA in printmaking in 1984. He then pursued his MA and MFA at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1987. In 1995 he won a residency to live and work at Monet’s Giverny gardens outside of Paris, France; and in 1999 he had a residency at the Cité international des Arts in Paris. In 2000 Chagoya became and American citizen. His work has been shown nationally and internationally. In the fall of 2007 the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa launched a 25 year survey exhibition of his work that traveled to the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Palm Springs Museum in California.

Chagoya is currently a Full Professor at Stanford University’s Department of Art and Art History. His work can be found in many public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Metropolitan Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco among others. He has been the recipient of numerous awards such as two NEA artists fellowships; a Tiffany Fellowship; an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; a President’s Award for Excellence from the San Francsico Art Institute; and a grant from Artadia, to mention a few. He is represented by Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, CA; George Adams Gallery in New York, NY; and Lisa Sette Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. His prints are published by Shark’s Ink in Lyons, Co; Segura Publishing in Pueblo, AZ; Trillium Press in Brisbaine, CA; Magnolia Editions in Oakland, CA; Electric Works in San Francisco, CA; ULAE in New York, NY; and Smith Andersen editions in Palo Alto, CA.

[1] Enrique Chagoya quoted in Steven Nash’s, “Borders of the Spirit,”Triptych (October/November/December 1994) 24.

Biography taken from Stamford University Department of Art & Art History Faculty page

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