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About Arturo Vega


rauschenberg-arturo-vega-06Arturo Vega escaped the repressive violence of an authoritarian regime under Mexico’s “perfect dictatorship” in the late ‘60s. He made his way to New York City, where he studied English, philosophy and photography at the New School for Social Research in the early 1970s.

Vega’s interest in music dates back to his discovery of Elvis during his childhood. But it was when he later co-directed a touring production of The Who’s “Tommy” at the National University in Mexico City that he began to understand the rauschenberg-arturo-vega-09revolutionary and transformative power of music, theatre, performance and art. While working on his first painting series of supermarket signs, he befriended members of The Ramones, a rock & roll band that would soon play their first show and would decades later be inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. It was Vega who designed the Ramones’ ubiquitous logo based on the Great Seal of the United States, and he was the one who also the-exhibtion-03painted backdrops for their stage and created a lighting scheme loosely adapted from Albert Speer’s Lichtdom to enhance their effect. By co-opting and questioning symbols of power, Vega created visual imagery that defined the transgressive aesthetic of punk rock.

Vega’s work has been featured in numerous group shows since the 1970s. More recently, Arturo Vega the-exhibtion-09has been the subject of one-person exhibitions at CB’s 313 Gallery/New York City (1992), Raleigh Studios/Miami Beach (curated by Sandra Schulman in 1994), Galería OMR/México, D.F. (2011), Casa Redonda, Chihuahua/Mexico (2012) and at Howl! Happening in NYC in 2015 and 2016.

Empire: An Arturo Vega Retrospective at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery will draw parallels and explore interests shared by Arturo Vega and the gallery’s namesake, Bob Rauschenberg. As Vega once said: “Art connects to the eternal – demanding fast changes and a reckless appetite for truth, justice and a better way of life.” For Rauschenberg, “(Art was) a means to function thoroughly and the-exhibtion-10passionately in a world that has a lot more to it than paint.”

This ambitious survey runs through December 17 and will include guest lectures, performances and a panel discussion exploring Arturo Vega’s broader impact on popular culture and contextualizing his work as a visual artist. The gallery is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, please visit or telephone 239-489-9313.

November 4, 2016.


Arturo Vega retrospective to open at Rauschenberg Gallery on November 4

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