Tucson Museum of Art features work by local students in Call + Response
February 17, 2021
Tucson, AZ –Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) is now showing work by Tucson-area students in Call + Response: High School Students Responding to the Works of Patrick Martinez. The exhibition will be on view through April 4, 2021 in TMA’s Community Gallery located in the Goodman Pavilion.
Patrick Martinez’s (b. 1980) L.A. suburban upbringing and diverse cultural background provide him with a unique lens through which he interprets his surroundings. Through a wide variety of media (painting, neon, ceramic and sculpture), Martinez scrutinizes everyday realities of suburban and urban life in L.A. with humor, sensitivity and wit.
TMA invited students from Cholla High School and Marana High School to respond to Martinez’s work, including Racism Doesn’t Rest During a Pandemic Pee Chee (2020) and Paradise Lost (2019), by looking at their personal life or historical and contemporary events. The resulting works tell unique stories about different Southern Arizona communities, the complexities of identities, and contemporary society.
Elizabeth Denneau, instructor in the Marana High School Art Department, feels that Martinez’s work speaks sophisticatedly about the challenges of communities of color while using familiar cultural icons that connect with her students. “My main goal is to create an atmosphere where students feel empowered to express their voices and learn about social justice topics through relatable and impactful artwork made by contemporary artists.”
Ukiah Hoy, visual arts educator at Cholla High School, teaches students about contemporary artists to introduce them to the idea of art as an expressive language that can traverse multiple barriers and reach a wider audience. “This project encouraged students to explore new modes of both making and thinking. Seeing Martinez’s processes linked to his outcomes built an understanding of meaning in compositional choices. Students then identified controversy/adversity in their own lives and found validation through artmaking.”
Racism Doesn’t Rest During a Pandemic Pee Chee is on view alongside the students’ work, courtesy of the artist. Paradise Lost was recently acquired by TMA thanks to a gift of the family of James J. Glasser in honor of his birthday. The mixed media work is on view in the Kasser Family Wing of Latin American Art. A solo show of Martinez’s work is planned for the 2021/22 exhibition season at TMA. Patrick Martinez: Falling Empire will open on November 4, 2021 in the Contemporary Latin American section of the Kasser Family Wing.