Art exhibition: Welcome the Presidents by Deborah Aschheim
"Welcome the Presidents" is a multidisciplinary exhibition about collective memory and mythology that blends archival research, community interviews, and autobiographical source material with drawings and photographs.
Artist Deborah Aschheim is interested in the cultural mythology of the 1960s and for Bienvenidos Los Presidentes she will focus on the visits of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon to Mexico. President Kennedy traveled to Mexico City in 1962 to meet with Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos as part of Kennedy’s Latin American “Alliance for Progress” plan; President Lyndon B. Johnson met with Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz in 1966 to oversee the settlement of the Chamizal land dispute; and President Nixon traveled to Puerto Vallarta in August 1970 to meet with President Diaz Ordaz for treaty negotiations. Also, all three of these U.S. Presidents honeymooned with their wives in Mexico and spoke about this early connection. Through Aschheim’s research at the JFK, LBJ and Nixon Presidential Libraries, she will make drawings based on the historic Presidential visits and the images will then be used to trigger and record community memories of this era in Puerto Vallarta.
In Puerto Vallarta, Aschheim will engage long term Vallarta residents, including senior citizens, retired government workers and tourism industry employees, former activists and the broader population, to trigger personal memories which will be collected, transcribed, remixed, and integrated into a complex illustrated narrative in Spanish and in English. New images will also be created based on peoples’ personal photos of the Lopez Mateos to Diaz Ordaz era, images from the Nixon State visit, and participants' family photos that help to conjure up Vallarta in the 60s. Aschheim will blend the personal and the political, famous and non-famous artifacts, and stories of the era into a complex experience of collective memory that is simultaneously rigorous, personal and emotional.
This exhibition will be extended until Saturday January 31. Don't miss it!