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Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

 
© 2013 Estate of Luis A. Jiménez, Jr. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
 
 
LUIS JIMÉNEZ
American, 1940 - 2006
Border Crossing (Cruzando el Rio Bravo)
1987
Fiberglass with pigment and glitter

31 3/4 x 10 1/4 x 11 7/8 inches

 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Frank Ribelin

Arts of North America
 
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Luis Jiménez is best known for his vivid fiberglass sculptures that interpret myths of the American West from a Chicano perspective. Not only did Jiménez work with populist materials such as fiberglass—familiar to the lowrider culture of the Southwest—he also celebrated everyday people.

This work, Border Crossing (Cruzando el Rio Bravo), is a small-scale study for one of the artist's most eloquent sculptures. Reflecting on his own Mexican heritage, Jiménez pays heartfelt homage to laborers who face exploitation, exportation, and even death by crossing the Rio Grande (or, as seen from the Mexican side, the Rio Bravo) into the United States. A man bears his wife and child on his shoulders, an ensemble that recasts the biblical Flight into Egypt in secular and present-day terms. "I had wanted to make a piece that was dealing with the issue of the illegal alien," Jiménez explained. "People talked about aliens as if they landed from outer space, as if they weren't really people. I wanted to put a face on them; I wanted to humanize them. I also wanted to deal with the whole idea of family. . . . I went back to my experience in El Paso where this is a common sight."