art proposal

First, view this with examples. The files and folders included are
real, successful proposals written to galleries, venues, and
conferences. In this project, you will write a proposal for a project
to an appropriate public forum be it a gallery show, publication,
conference, product launch, performance series, concert venue,
website, socially-engaged happening, outdoor sculpture or
architecture project, and so on. Feel free to be speculative and
imaginative. Use a real project you have completed that you want
to show off or use this as an opportunity to envision a project you
have always wanted to do but would need a public venue and
grant money for. Make it look professional. The proposal must
have at least four sections: formal outline (the “What”), conceptual
outline (the “Why”), logistical requirements (the “How”), and at
least three supporting images. More specifics like floorplans,
budgets, and materials are welcome too.

Please Don’t Bury Me Alive!

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Key Terms:
Robert Smithson, Modernism, Colonialism, Latin America,
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, La Migra, Immigration,
Modernisms, Borderland, Mythohistorical, Imaginary,
Speculative, US-Mexico, Play, Theater, Performance, Art,
Hotel Palenque, Critical Pedagogy, Performance Lecture,
Salvador Roberto Torres, Chicano Park

“There is something about Mexico. An overall hidden
concealed violence about the landscape itself. Many artists
and writers have gone to Mexico and been completely
destroyed, you know . . . So you have to be very careful when
you go to Mexico so that you are not caught up in this—in
any of this kind of unconscious, dangerous violence that is
really lurking in every patch of earth”
—Robert Smithson, 1970

“Please Don’t Bury Me Alive!” is a performative lecture that investigates how Latin America has figured into
the construction of various western art-historical narratives. The performance lecture, which is suitable for an
academic conference setting, moves back and forth between two readers. The first reader re-presents Robert
Smithson’s Hotel Palenque artist talk, initially delivered to graduate students at the University of Utah in 1970.
Smithson’s ruminations about art, architecture, and Mexico are paired with historical photographs of San Diego’s
Chicano Park. The discord and resonance between the two mirror the fractured associations between modernity
and coloniality. The second reader performs an abridged and rewritten version of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for
Godot. In an attempt to complicate the social implications of waiting, the re-written play is set in an unnamed
detention center along the US-Mexico border. Throughout the monologue the main character contemplates the
nature of confinement, the immanence of torture, and the effects of delay on the racialized subject. Over the course
of “Please Don’t Bury Me Alive!” both the restaged artist lecture and the modified play cross paths in unlikely
ways drawing attention to the role movement, migrations, Mexico, colonialism, and imaginative mythohistorical
interventions play in the Othering and rethinking of Modernsim’s legacies.

Anthony Romero and Josh Rios are educators, artists, and cultural critics. Over the past several years they have
been developing various performances, 2 and 3 dimensional works, curatorial projects, installations, writings,
and screenings that deal with the key experiences of being US citizens of Mexican origin. Broadly speaking,
their projects center on contemporary Chicana/o aesthetics, the elided histories of the Chicana/o struggle, and
the larger themes of US-Mexico relations. In November they will be artists in residence at Harold Washington
College. In December they will be participants in Chicago’s Poet’s Theater Festival. Their performances and
projects have been most recently featured at the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago,
Texas State University, Art in these Times, Andrea Meislin Gallery, and Sector 2337.

Anthony Romero / Joshua Rios
Performance Lecture Proposal

The Hubbard Street Murals, originally painted in the early 1970s,
were organized by Art Institute graduate Ricardo Alonzo, who
received permission from Northwest Railway to intervene on a mile-
long stretch of concrete embankment between Ogden Avenue and
Halsted on Hubbard Street. The project continued for eight years,
before eventually losing funding in 1979. José Gamaliel González,
along with Oscar Moya, created a multi-panel work titled La Raza
de oro on the corner of Sangamon and Hubbard depicting various
pre-Columbian and Indigenous motifs and scenes. In 2000, the
Union Pacific Railroad began repairing and reinforcing the aging
train embankment, and in the process destroyed or degraded
much of the art work. Mindful of the original work’s importance,
a new mural project was initiated. And while, on the surface, the
new murals maintained some of the original themes (wildlife, en-
dangered species, ethnicity, and Chicago history), they are totally
anemic and devoid of criticality regarding the urgency of social
struggle, environmental justice, and Chicago’s sordid, racist, past
and contemporary treatment of its disenfranchised populations.
Below are a few images showcasing the remnants of La Raza de
oro as they exist today.

Proposal to Commission Chicanx Science Fiction Author
and Artist Ernest Hogan to Produce a Recombinatory
Aztechno Upgrade to the Murals of Hubbard Street

Page 1

Who is Ernest Hogan?

Contemporary speculative fiction writer Ernest Hogan works at the intersections of pop-culture, mass media,
cyberpunk, Afrofuturism, and counterculture. Between 1990 and 2001 Hogan published three novels, as well a host of
short stories, essays, and illustrations in a variety of alternative and mainstream science fiction magazines. High Aztech
(1992), his best-known book, takes place on August 6th, 2045—the hundred-year anniversary of the U.S. bombing
of Hiroshima. In the novel Mexico ascends to global power after an unspecified catastrophe befalls the United States.
Aztecan ways of being, religious beliefs, and modes of dress ascend in equal measure, taking on new importance as
they are interpreted through futuristic and cyberpunk sensibilities. Mexico City is renamed Tenochtitlan. Fashionable
socialites and economic elites get plastic surgery to appear more Indigenous. Anglo maids are the ultimate symbol
of privilege.

Despite Hogan’s Chicano ethnic and cultural identity, High Aztech offers no naïve endorsement of Mexico as a nation-
state, present or future. Tenochtitlan in 2045 is rife with the familiar patterns and characteristics of accelerated post-
industrial capitalism, which are more entrenched than ever. It is a future intensely defined by ubiquitous militarization,
religious fanaticism, terrorist networks, vast garbage dumps, and mass media as a tool of social control. Of the many
themes Hogan addresses in High Aztech, the complexity and impossibility of a simple return to the pre-colonial past
is crucial. The extinguished Aztec, a symbol of past trauma rippling through the contemporary moment, haunts the
future in search of cultural belonging, restitution, and recognition.

Looking beyond institutionally sanctioned publications such as novels, literary anthologies, and magazines, Hogan’s
blog Mondo Ernesto, updated regularly since 2009, features a trove of various short texts, digitally altered drawings, and
other materials revolving around Chicanx counterculture and sci-fi futurity. In the months leading up to an exhibition
and performance at a Sector 2337 (June 2015), a local Chicago gallery, I engaged in a series of conversations with
Hogan in the hopes of finding ways to share his work. Eventually, I curated several exhibitions (Sector 2337, Harold
Washington College, and the Black Oak House in Philadelphia) consisting of drawings culled from Hogan’s large
collection of sketchbooks dating back to the 1980s. Continuing this project, I propose Hogan be commissioned to
produce a series of murals based on his sketchbooks, as well as the themes of technology, Chicanxfuturism, cyberpunk,
and psychedelic counterculture.

Below are a few pages taken from Hogan’s prolific journaling practice followed by digital mock-ups illustrating what
these sketches might look like scaled up and installed along the train embankment on Hubbard Street, where they
would mingle with the remnants of murals from the 1970s and the newer murals of the early 2000s.

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