August 18, 2000
Codex Espangliensis is a provocative and visually stunning document of border culture. Linking contemporary border politics and xenophobia with a much longer history of economic and ideological inequalities, the Codex Es-pangliensis introduces a critical view of the history of the Americas. It chronicles and confronts the colonial conquest, cultural transformation, economic interdependence, and linguistic admixtures that have shaped the Americas "from Columbus to the border patrol."
Inspired by the Pre-Hispanic codices that escaped immolation during colonial invasions, this artists' book opens out in accordion folds expanding to a length of over 21 feet. Rice has created a series of beautiful and jarring montages in which the mixture of languages, slang, poetry, and prose of Gomez-Peña's performance texts are woven through and around Chagoya's collages filled with pre-Hispanic drawings, colonial-era representations of New World natives, and comic book superheroes. Irreverent to the last, Gómez-Peña and Chagoya employ iconic figures and persistent stereotypes to overturn the fantasies of nationalism, ethnocentrism, and historical amnesia that cloud international relations. Rice's masterful typographic compositions orchestrate the text's many voices and views, offering a history of the America which must be read forward and backward, in fragments and in recurring episodesin short, as history itself tends to unfold.
Guillermo Gómez-Peña was born and raised in Mexico City, and he came to the United States in 1978. His work, which includes performance art, poetry, journalism, criticism and cultural theory, explores cross-cultural issues and North/South relations. He is the recipient of an American Book Award for The New World Border (City Lights) and a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, among many other honors. A simultaneous publication from Routledge, Dangerous Border Crossers: The Artist Talks Back, will be available in June 2000. The book chron-icles Gomez-Peña's tour life on the road.
Enrique Chagoya is a Mexican-born painter and printmaker who has been living and working in the United States since 1977. Since 1988, Chagoya has been represented by Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco. The recipient of two NEA Fellowships, his recent exhibitions include the DeYoung Museum, San Francisco and the George Adams Gallery, New York. The New York Times hailed Chagoya. "A gifted caricaturist and mimic, he grapples with the conflicts of his own hybrid inheritance, giving expression to an irreverent, wildly pluralistic imagination." He currently teaches at Stanford University.
Felicia Rice is a book artist, typographer, printer, and publisher whose work has earned her many honors under the Moving Parts Press imprint. She lectures and exhibits internationally, and her books are represented in the collections of numerous museums and libraries. She currently directs the graphic design program at the University of California, Santa Cruz Extension.