Ruben Trejo

Beyond Boundaries / Aztlan y mas alla

Edited and Introduced by Ben Mitchell
Essays by Tomas Ybarra-Frausto and John Keeble

  • $35.00 paperback (9780295990040) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2010
  • Subject Listing: Contemporary Art
  • Bibliographic information: 160 pp., 110 color illus., notes, bibliog., 9 x 10 in.
  • Published with: Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture
  • Series: The Jacob Lawrence Series on American Artists
  • Contents

“Multiple backgrounds can form such two- and three-dimensional ideas that they take you to the brink of lunacy, but I have used this rich background and ethnic landscape for creating art. As a student at the University of Minnesota, I often wondered what the study of Russian history, Shakespeare, English literature, or Freud . . . had to do with cleaning onions in Hollandale, Minnesota, picking potatoes in Hoople, North Dakota, or visiting relatives in Michoacán. This diversity of ideas can produce a three-headed monster or an artist, and I chose the latter.” -Ruben Trejo

Ruben Trejo: Beyond Boundaries / Aztlán y más allá is the first comprehensive survey of Trejo’s art and career. It focuses on more than fifty works from 1964 through the present, including pieces from his delightful life-size, puppet-like Clothes for Day of the Dead series; works from the Calzones series - cast bronze underwear and jalapenos - that challenge the Spanish machismo culture; seminal examples of his lifelong exploration of the cruciform image; and much more. The volume includes biographical and interpretive essays, as well as a chronology, list of exhibitions, and bibliography.

Ruben Trejo (1937–2009) was born in a Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad yard in St. Paul, Minnesota, where his father, a mixed Tarascan Indian and Hispanic from Michoacán, Mexico, and his mother, from Ixtlan in the same Mexican province, had found a home for the family in a boxcar while his father worked for the railroad. Trejo became the first in his family to graduate from college, and in 1973 he moved to the Pacific Northwest, where he began a thirty-year association with Eastern Washington University as teacher and artist.

His isolation from major centers of Chicano culture led him to search for self-identity through his art. Influenced and inspired by such writers and artists as Octavio Paz and Guillermo Gómez-Pena, he explored a dynamic, multidimensional worldview through his sculpture and mixed-media pieces and created a body of work that deftly limns his identity as an artist and a Chicano. Throughout his long teaching career, he worked tirelessly to create opportunities for young Chicanos through tutoring and mentoring.

Ben Mitchell, writer and teacher, is senior curator of art at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, Washington.

Tomás Ybarra-Frausto is former professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Stanford University and former associate director for creativity and culture at the Rockefeller Foundation.

John Keeble, professor emeritus at Eastern Washington University, is the author of four novels, including Yellowfish and Broken Ground.
Preface by Ben Mitchell
In a Garden of Ideas / Ben Mitchell
Beyond Boundaries, Aztlán y más allá / Tomás Ybarra-Fraust
Trejo’s Perfect Havoc / John Keeble
Chronology for Ruben Miguel Trejo
Selected Exhibitions
Selected Bibliography
About the Authors

"Certainly there's some wacky, vital mischief going on in Trejo's elongated, improbably balanced sculptures of folklore figures, dancing bananas, and 'mandalas' made from railroad spikes…. A special treat: photo of Trejo's Spokane home, where he transformed his front hall, kitchen, and other rooms into works of art in themselves."-The Seattle Times