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“El Otro Lado” (The Other Side): Border Art Histories of the MexiCali Biennial

This guide explores the work of artists, curators, and collectives on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, focusing on artistic interventions that activate the border itself and make and/or unmake anew what we traditionally consider a “piece” of art.


This guide is part of a series of research guides created collaboratively between Reference Librarians in the Hispanic Reading Room of the Library of Congress and the creative team from the MexiCali Biennial. This a non-profit contemporary arts organization focuses on the area encompassing California and Mexico as a region of aesthetic production. As the primary access point for research related to the Caribbean, Latin America, Spain and Portugal; the indigenous cultures of those areas; and peoples throughout the world historically influenced by Luso-Hispanic heritage, including the Latino/Latinx community in the United States, the Hispanic Reading Room embraces this curated conversation between performed art works from the MexiCali Biennial and related collections in the Library of Congress.

This resource expands on 15 years of collaboration between MexiCali Biennial organization and institutions like the Vincent Price Art Museum (Los Angeles), the Mexicali Rose Centro de Arte/Medios (Mexicali), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE, Hollywood), the Armory Center for the Arts (Pasadena), the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (San Bernardino), Steppling Gallery at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley (Calexico), the Instituto de Investigaciones Culturales IIC-Museo (Mexicali), Planta Libre Espacio Experimental (Mexicali), i21 Espacio de Proyectos (Mexicali), Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis School of Art and Design (Los Angeles), Casa del Tunel (Tijuana) and La Casa de la Tia Tina (Mexicali).



"Transborder Game," 2010. Cristian Franco and Felipe Manzano, members of Homeless art collective, created screened t-shirts and soccer performances, as shown here, for the 2009/2010 MexiCali Biennial, Calexico, CA and Mexicali, MX. Photo credit: Odette Barajas.