Join us for a memorable evening with artist Luis Tapia.
Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1950, sculptor Luis Tapia is a pioneering Chicano artist who for forty-five years has pushed the art of polychrome wood sculpture to new levels of craftsmanship and social and political commentary. Tapia’s extraordinary figurative works speak to the complexity of a multilayered Latino/Hispano/Chicano identity, history, and contemporary culture, offering compelling insights and challenging perspectives on life in the barrio, on the border, and beyond.
Rooted in a folk art tradition established in seventeenth-century New Mexico, Tapia’s work at once honors its origins, reinterprets traditional subject matter, and revitalizes age-old techniques. Setting his subjects in innovative spatial and conceptual environments, Tapia illuminates the social, political, and religious issues of yesterday and today, and the joy and humor of daily life. His meticulously carved and painted figures flaunt brilliant color and intricate detail, utilizing symbols from history and popular culture with profound, playful, or provocative visual effect.
In Luis Tapia: Borderless, the artist discusses his role in transitioning a regional religious art tradition to a fully contemporary art form that resonates within the broader national and international artistic conversation. As Dana Gioia, former California Poet Laureate and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, writes in the foreword to the book Borderless: The Art of Luis Tapia, “Without renouncing his own roots, Tapia has become a significant American artist of unique identity, personal style, and political power.”