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In the Wake of Juárez: Panel Discussion and Distinguished Lecture

On Tuesday, March 5, 2013, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in the main gallery of the UNM Art Museum, a panel discussion titled "In the Wake of Juárez: What Now?," will explore the lived experience of being in Ciudad Juárez in recent years, with a particular focus on the violence imposed by the drug cartels. Panelists include Charles Bowden, essayist and author of Dreamland: The Way Out of Juárez (2010), with drawings by Alice Leora Briggs; Julián Cardona, Juárez resident, photographer and journalist, and collaborator with Charles Bowden on the book Exodus/Éxodo (2008), about the Mexican migration north; and Molly Molloy, Reference & Research Librarian, NMSU, Las Cruces, specialist in Latin American studies and U.S.-Mexico border issues. The event is organized by the UNM Art Museum, in partnership with the Raymond Jonson Trust, Allene H. and Walter P. Kleweno Lecture Series Fund, and the Latin American and Iberian Institute. For more information, please see the event flyer.

Shortly thereafter, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., Alice Leora Briggs, whose artwork comprises the museum's exhibition "In the Wake of Juárez: The Drawings of Alice Leora Briggs," will present on her work in a lecture titled "¡Basta!". The artist will discuss the pieces she made in Juárez between 2007 and 2012. The city was and remains the center of the Mexican drug wars, and these drawings are part of a larger mission to understand why the "uncivilized" is such an integral part of the "civilized" in modern life.

The exhibition of Briggs' artwork is on view in the UNM Art Museum Clinton Adams Gallery from February 8 to May 25, 2013. The exhibit is couched in reflection of the drug cartel activities that have defined Ciudad Juárez in the recent past. As the exhibit description states: "The La Familia cartel exploded onto the scene in 2006 with the brutal murders of five men in Michoacán. The sign left at the scene said, "La Familia doesn't kill for money, it doesn't kill women, it doesn't kill innocent people - only those who deserve to die. Everyone should know: this is divine justice."

"That a drug cartel thinks its brutal business is a form of divine justice is, to say the least, surreal. But such a contradiction gives us an idea of the kind of atmosphere that Alice Leora Briggs aims for in her portrayals of the violence in Juárez. With expressionist bravado and technical cool, Briggs' remarkable sgraffito (literally "scratch") drawings capture the Inferno that the city has become. Freely appropriating Renaissance prints and paintings of the Last Judgment, the Crucifixion and other martyrdoms, public executions, tortures, and wars by artists from Holbein to van der Weyden, and immersing herself in literature of Dante and Cormac McCarthy, Briggs merges old world fears with present-day realities to create a disturbing yet compelling picture of the human condition" (UNM Art Museum).

The UNM Art Museum is located on the main campus in the Center for the Arts, adjacent to Popejoy Hall. Admission is free; $5 donation suggested.

--Posted Friday, March 1, 2013.