Beatriz Cortez: Trinidad / Joy Station
January 27, 2019 — May 12, 2019
Trinidad: Joy Station, created by Los Angeles-based artist Beatriz Cortez, imagines a future communal space station dedicated to multicultural coexistence, the survival of indigenous peoples, and experiences of joy. The installation draws its name from Trinidad, Colorado, the home of Drop City, one of the early artist communes founded in the United States in the mid-1960s. Cortez weaves together the improvised, geodesic dome architecture of Drop City with the collective living practices of Joya de Cerén, an ancient Mayan village whose ruins are situated in present-day El Salvador. Cortez’s installation acts as a record of the trajectory of human civilization, including the devastation of the planet and the celebration of human resilience, while simultaneously envisioning a future built outside the constructs of Western colonialism and individualism.
Cortez primarily utilizes steel in her structures. Steel is created from the Earth’s elements, yet it is also a material associated with capitalism. She references the economic and environmental impact of the car industry through her dome structures made from junked car hoods, marked with colorful patinas of use and wear. A cylindrical steel structure, called Jumbo, is named for the gigantic container that housed the first atomic bomb detonated in the United States. Instead of a bomb, this container is a seed repository that enables the reproduction of life and nourishment. Cortez also creates beds from chain-link fencing and mylar surfaces that allude to the current caging of refugee children in immigration detention centers. Concurrently, plants indigenous to the Americas grow within the installation, preserving ancient technologies and sacred practices while also providing sustenance for the inhabitants of this possible future. Cortez’s installation makes space for the most essential aspects of people’s physical, spiritual, and creative survival.
Curator: Holly Jerger
The works for this exhibition were made with support from Craft Contemporary and The Main Museum’s Artist-in-Residence Program. All works are shown courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles.
Exhibition Photography: Gina Clyne
Featured image: Beatriz Cortez, Octagon with Two Hundred and One Point Shield (detail), 2019. Steel and zip ties, 93 x 77 x 77 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles.