Unraveling Hispanic Heritage: Public Art Fund Presents Felipe Baeza’s “Unruly Forms” in US, Mexico

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Felipe Baeza: Unruly Forms, presented by Public Art Fund. Image courtesy of Nicholas Knight/Public Art Fund, NY.

As we approach the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month starting September 15th, we wanted to touch base about a cultural experience merging identity, migration, and spirituality. Public Art Fund proudly presents Unruly Forms by acclaimed artist Felipe Baeza, displayed across over 400 JCDecaux bus shelters and street furniture, spanning iconic cities such as New York, Chicago, and Boston in the United States, as well as Mexico City, León, and Querétaro in Mexico.

The international exhibition takes mobile audiences on a visual journey exploring the energetic properties of Mesoamerican artifacts, the concept of displacement, and the metamorphosis of cultural symbols. As the son of immigrants to the US, several of the exhibition’s cities hold personal significance as places Baeza grew up, traveling on public transportation to and from class, imagining life, art, and ways to access his dreams. A graduate of Cooper Union and Yale, Baeza’s work was shown at the 2022 Venice Biennale.

Opening August 2023, Unruly Forms features eight new and recent paintings by Felipe Baeza. Drawing inspiration from his research into Mesoamerican artifacts found in museum collections across New York City, Chicago, and Boston, Unruly Forms delves into the profound impact of collection, displacement, and display on the energetic essence of these objects. By situating the series within the cities where these artifacts are held, Baeza seeks to reawaken their power and significance in new and diverse contexts.

Baeza’s artistic expression bridges painting, collage, and printmaking to breathe life into hybrid anthropomorphic forms. His captivating creations depict figures suspended in various states of emergence, release, and transformation, resonating with energy and movement. Through this exhibition, Baeza challenges the notion that the mythic potency of artifacts wanes after their collection by museums, proposing instead that they exist in a continuous state of becoming.

Unruly Forms takes the viewer on a journey from materiality to metaphysical. The intricate, complex forms evoke a sense of transcendence beyond physical boundaries, creating a space for mystical reinvention. Notably, this exhibition marks Public Art Fund’s inaugural presentation in Mexico and introduces the artist’s first public art showcases in Chicago, Boston, and Mexico.

Public Art Fund Exhibition Summary + City Maps

NYC Installation Photos (Credit: Nicholas Knight/Public Art Fund)

Boston Installation Photos (Credit: Mel Taing/Public Art Fund)

Chicago Installation Photos (Credit: David Sampson/Public Art Fund)

Mexico Installation Photos (Credit: Ramiro Chaves/Public Art Fund)

Felipe Baeza In-studio (Credit: Spencer Worthley/Felipe Baeza)

‘Confined but still intoxicated with freedom’ by Felipe Baeza (Credit: Felipe Baeza/Public Art Fund)

Public Art Fund Talks: Felipe Baeza

Sep 27, 2023, 6:00-7:30 pm

The Cooper Union

Frederick P. Rose Auditorium

41 Cooper Sq, New York, NY 10008  

Join us for a program on the occasion of Unruly Forms, Felipe Beza’s exhibition across bus shelters in the United States and Mexico where fantastical images conjure realms of myth, spirit, and imagination. A Cooper Union alum, Baeza will join in dialogue with writer and scholar Gayatri Gopinath to discuss how histories, cultures, landscapes, and bodies shape our identities. The conversation will explore the process behind Baeza’s new series on view, which is informed by his research on Mesoamerican artifacts in museum collections as well as his own experiences of physical and social displacement and difference.

Felipe Baeza. Image courtesy of Spencer Worthley/Felipe Baeza.

About Felipe Baeza

Felipe Baeza (b. 1987, Guanajuato, Mexico) works and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Fusing collage, painting, printmaking, and other techniques to create multilayered, textural works that explore notions of the body and migration, Baeza’s sensually rich and visually arresting works evoke both mythic dimensions and contemporary themes. His figures created over densely layered paintings appear in different states of becoming and at times are even abstracted to the point of invisibility.

Baeza’s recent group exhibitions include: The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2022); Prospect 5. New Orleans: Yesterday We Said Tomorrow, New Orleans (2021); and Desert X, Palm Springs (2020). Baeza’s recent solo exhibitions include: Made Into Being, Fortnight Institute, New York (2022); Unruly Suspension, Maureen Paley, London (2021); and Through the Flesh to Elsewhere, the Mistake Room, Los Angeles (2020). Baeza’s works are in the public collections of Columbus Museum of Art, LACMA, Moderna Museet, North Carolina Museum of Art, and San Jose Museum of Art. Baeza is the recipient of a Latinx Artist Fellowship by the U.S. Latinx Art Forum, Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant and completed residencies at NXTHVN and the Getty Research Institute. Baeza received a BFA from the Cooper Union and an MFA from Yale.

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