Meet Marcel Alcalá, artist-in-residence

13th February 2020, 4:51 pm

Marcel Alcalá (b. 1990 in Santa Ana, CA) is a queer chicanx artist currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Their work has been featured at the Hammer Museum, MCA Chicago, Swiss Institute, Ekebergparken, Rogoland Kunstsenter, Blum and Poe, Queer Biennial, Tom of Finland Foundation, Consulate General of Mexico, Los Angeles LGBTQ Center.

I come from a history of border culture and as a queer person of color, I use art to explore very real concepts that effect our everyday lives: ideas about the “American dream,” the history of western expansions, and how Christianity affected indigenous beliefs, for example around gender. I too participate in the system I criticize, and there is something important in that notion. Being a Mexican-American is to be someone influenced by both aspects of capitalist and socialist rhetoric, so I choose to combine ancient and new techniques to make work that critiques heteronormative structures. Structures meant to tear down people like myself. My body speaks, through performance and writing I can talk directly to the audience, creating custom outfits that become stand alone works by themselves post-performance. I attribute a lot of my aesthetic to my families religion Santeria, a pantheistic Afro-Cuban religion developed from the beliefs and customs of the Yoruba people that incorporate some elements of the Catholic religion. Mud, pieces of animals, plastics, my personal hair; it is in these objects that speak to my spirituality that is almost a form of shamanic expression. I am a teacher. Whether it is learned through my oil pastel drawings, sculptures, or performances, my focus is to give out important information to a public that may not know whats going on south of the border and in my own backyard. Creation is self identification. My goal currently has been to teach others about identities like mine and it’s place in art historical discourse. How can my voice be accessible to a larger audience outside of the Americas and how can I learn from others not like me.


22nd Feb 2020 – 8th Mar 2020 @ All Day – A broken heart brought me back to LA, my long awaited home. In search for truth and comfort in self, I was brought to Tom’s. A melting point diverse in experience. Our elders still teach and this place is proof. Never have I had space to focus on my work, trying new things, a new […]
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