Play with Me

June 17 – September 2, 2012

Co-curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, Idurre Alonso and Selene Preciado


Thank you for participating in Jardín energetico: Tiempo futuro / Energetic Garden: Future Time, the installation project by Sofía Táboas for Play with Me. As you know, the artist invited the public to become part of the project by planting herbs, writing a sentence in future tense, hanging them in our lobby, and to pick them up at the end of the exhibition. The plants have grown beautifully and the exhibition is coming to an end, so we are hoping you can come back to MOLAA to pick up the plant you potted and continue the “growth” of the artwork or use the herbs in your kitchen!
You are welcome to come during business hours to pick up your plant until September 16.


Play with Me explores the interactive potential of contemporary art within installation art. The exhibition seeks to dispel notions of distance by breaking down barriers of access to art by the public, so that contemporary art can be experienced by the audience as engaging and approachable.

Play with Me features 15 medium and large scale installations by 14 artists interested in interaction and the relationship of the object with the spectator: Alberto Baraya (Colombia, b. 1968), Franklin Cassaro (Brazil, b. 1962), Cubo (Giacomo Castagnola, Camilo Ontiveros, Nina Waisman, Felipe Zúñiga), Dream Addictive (Mexico/Leslie García and Carmen González), Felipe Ehrenberg (Mexico, b. 1943), Darío Escobar (Guatemala, b. 1971), Félix González-Torres (Cuba/USA, 1957-1996), Federico Herrero (Costa Rica, b. 1978), Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Mexico, b. 1967), Ernesto Neto (Brazil, b. 1964), Gabriel Orozco (Mexico, b. 1962), Rubén Ortiz-Torres (Mexico, b. 1964), Pedro Reyes (Mexico, b. 1972), and Sofía Táboas (Mexico, b. 1968).

The installations in Play with Me are meant to be thought-provoking, unconventional and playful environments that engage the viewer while they challenge the way in which traditional mediums such as painting, for example, are perceived. Going beyond the established conventions and breaking down barriers between the viewer, the work of art and the institution, these installations allow an immersive experience within the artwork itself as opposed to observing it from a distance as an object within an enclosed picture plane.

Although all of the works in the exhibition encompass some form of critical thinking, some promote a type of interactivity which is playful and imaginative. Franklin Cassaro created an "inflatable” titled Abrigo Freud (Freud Shelter), a large tent like structure made out of pages of a book by Sigmund Freud. The inflatable is activated by the movement of air, whether from an electric fan or the wind, and can be entered by the visitor. 0 to 0, by Darío Escobar consists of an unusual basketball court where the public will be able to play inside the museum. Federico Herrero translates the mix of colors, shapes, and forms of the streets of San José, Costa Rica—and the tropical landscape that surrounds the city, onto gallery walls. Herrero will take over space in the Museum lobby and a space in the galleries so that the spectator will be able to interact with the pictorial space. Rubén Ortiz-Torres uses paint that changes color when heat is applied to it, so when the spectator touches the piece with a hand for example, it will leave a temporary imprint in its surface. Va de retro (Sombras nada más) / Vaderetrum (Merely Shadows), by Felipe Ehrenberg is an empty “frame” made of tape which mimics the size and shape of classical painted portraits that show the subject’s head and shoulders. The spectator will stand in front of the frame and the shadow of their silhouette will be reflected inside it.

Three Religions, No God and the Children by Ernesto Neto, originally presented at MOCA, consists of a sculptural installation of translucent fabric and textures in which visitors can enter through three openings that lead to a variety of interactive spaces, providing stimuli for the senses and the mind. Pedro Reyes’ interactive, sculptural Capulas are part of an ongoing series that has travelled around the world. Woven by Mexican craftspeople, these vinyl interactive sculptures translate local basketry techniques into an architectural scale. Designed to be malleable structures, the Capulas promote interaction between the piece and the people sitting inside it. Sofía Táboas presents a suspended garden on the interior of MOLAA’s glass façade that will develop and grow as people participate by adding their own potted plants. To establish an interesting dialogue with nature and our surroundings, Expedition California, the project by Alberto Baraya will consist of a 2-part installation with a herbarium of artificial plants brought to the museum by the community and the other by artificial plants that he will collect and classify as a way to participate in a post-colonial discourse and deconstruct the concept of the explorer.

Inviting more critical interactions are installations such as MediaWomb, 2009, by the collective Cubo, a small group of artists and cultural producers active in the border region whose work addresses issues such as the loss of public space, the decomposition of social networks, and the prevalence of media as an arena of domination, reproduction and distribution of fear and paranoia. Deep Thought V.2, by Dream Addictive, is an interactive work which highlights the possible dialogue between the reality of the audience and the simulation provided by machines. Voz Alta, by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, is a memorial commissioned for the 40th anniversary of the student massacre in Tlatelolco, which took place in Mexico City on October 2, 1968. In the piece, participants speak freely into a megaphone placed on the "Plaza de las Tres Culturas," right where the massacre took place. The megaphone is a replica of the one used in the public art piece, except it has been modified to incorporate a powerful xenon searchlight inside, so that when someone speaks into it, his or her voice gets converted into light flashes.

This exhibition proposes multiple layers of complexity for the viewer, engaging them personally but also inviting them to see their role on a larger or global context. While challenging audiences to renegotiate the idea of contemporary art, the space in which they interact with it and broader elements including the use of technology and society’s acceptance of technological surveillance, furniture as a significant element of our daily life and the space we inhabit, as well as major issues such as the environment. The artists and installations for Play with Me propose to create an environment which is thought-provoking and unconventional, engaging and playful.

List of participating artists:

Alberto Baraya (Colombia)
Franklin Cassaro (Brazil)
Cubo (Mexico/USA: Giacomo Castagnola, Camilo Ontiveros, Felipe Zúñiga, Nina Waisman)
Dream Addictive (Mexico: Carmen González and Leslie García)
Felipe Ehrenberg (Mexico)
Darío Escobar (Guatemala)
Félix González-Torres (Cuba/USA)
Federico Herrero (Costa Rica)
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Mexico)
Ernesto Neto (Brazil)
Gabriel Orozco (Mexico)
Rubén Ortiz-Torres (Mexico)
Pedro Reyes (Mexico)
Sofía Táboas (Mexico)

Panel Discussion
Sunday, June 17, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Free Admission
Enjoy a panel discussion about Play with Me with curators and artists Alberto Baraya, Federico Herrero, Darío Escobar, Sofía Táboas, Nina Waisman, and Leslie García.

Thursday, July 12, 2012
7:30 - 9:00pm
Free Admission
Join Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, Idurre Alonso and Selene Preciado in a conversation with artists (TBA) via Skype from the exhibition Play with Me.

Thursday, August 9, 2012
7:30 - 9:00pm
Free Admission
Join Idurre Alonso in a conversation with artist Darío Escobar about themes related to the exhibition Play with Me.

Image Credit:
Darío Escobar (Guatemala, b. 1971)
0 to 0, 2012
Basketball backboard, paint and basketballs
Courtesy of the artist

• Members opening: June 16