artist / participant
The Good Neighbour
May 12–July 17, 2021
When Terence Gower moved to Mexico City in 1993, he arrived to find a bustling, cosmopolitan art scene where international and Mexican artists were using the city as both inspiration and raw material. Gower, who was born in British Columbia in 1965 and whose artistic education came in part from the photoconceptual scene in Vancouver, developed a body of work exploring how traditional dichotomies of design and craft, high and low culture, and the role of social class affected the development of a modernism that is particular to Mexico. Featuring videos, sculptural works, installations, and archival materials, The Good Neighbour—the Canadian spelling is intentional—surveys Gower’s examination of modernism in Mexican art and architecture from the unique point of view of a foreigner in the metropolis.
The title of the exhibition, The Good Neighbour, refers to the economic policy established by Franklin D. Roosevelt to reshape the relationship between the United States and Latin America, and which provided the backdrop for the development of Mexican modernism. Gower’s body of work made in and about Mexico was created in the context of increasing globalization following the NAFTA agreement in 1994 and offers a critical analysis of both contemporary Mexican society and the history of conceptualism in the Americas. In the trinational system of cultural exchange proposed by NAFTA, Gower’s diplomatic strategy of images serves as a double agent—the good neighbor that observes, highlights, twists, and disarms the established logic behind the national identities at play.
The exhibition features a new installation, Partial Facsimile, in which Gower reconstructs the 1970 Americas Society exhibition David Alfaro Siqueiros: Paintings 1935–1967. By invoking the Mexican modern master whose political and formal radicalism he has always found inspiring, the installation connects Gower’s contemporary practice with the history of this institution. The presentation of Terence Gower: The Good Neighbour is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Additional support is provided by Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo, the Consulate General of Canada in New York, and the Council for Canadian American Relations. In-kind support is provided by LABOR, Mexico City.