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REMEX: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era
by Amy Sara Carroll
University of Texas Press, 2017
eISBN: 978-1-4773-1102-8 | Cloth: 978-1-4773-1064-9 | Paper: 978-1-4773-1137-0
Library of Congress Classification NX514.A1C38 2017
Dewey Decimal Classification 700.9720904


Featuring dozens of compelling images, this transformative reading of borderland and Mexican cultural production—from body art to theater, photography, and architecture—draws on extensive primary research to trace more than two decades of social and political response in the aftermath of NAFTA.

Honorable Mention, Humanities Book Prize, Mexico Section of the Latin American Studies Association, 2018
Honorable Mention, Arvey Foundation Book Award, Association for Latin American Art, 2019

REMEX presents the first comprehensive examination of artistic responses and contributions to an era defined by the North American Free Trade Agreement (1994–2008). Marshaling over a decade’s worth of archival research, interviews, and participant observation in Mexico City and the Mexico–US borderlands, Amy Sara Carroll considers individual and collective art practices, recasting NAFTA as the most fantastical inter-American allegory of the turn of the millennium. Carroll organizes her interpretations of performance, installation, documentary film, built environment, and body, conceptual, and Internet art around three key coordinates—City, Woman, and Border. She links the rise of 1990s Mexico City art in the global market to the period’s consolidation of Mexico–US border art as a genre. She then interrupts this transnational art history with a sustained analysis of chilanga and Chicana artists’ remapping of the figure of Mexico as Woman.

A tour de force that depicts a feedback loop of art and public policy—what Carroll terms the “allegorical performative”—REMEX adds context to the long-term effects of the post-1968 intersection of D.F. performance and conceptualism, centralizes women artists’ embodied critiques of national and global master narratives, and tracks post-1984 border art’s “undocumentation” of racialized and sexualized reconfigurations of North American labor pools. The book’s featured artwork becomes the lens through which Carroll rereads a range of events and phenomenon from California’s Proposition 187 to Zapatismo, US immigration policy, 9/11 (1973/2001), femicide in Ciudad Juárez, and Mexico’s war on drugs.

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