Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The Art of Smuggling 

Wednesday, Mar 23 2011
Julio Morales makes the horrible beautiful. His art is calm and precise, and it has a specifically airy quality that might be a middle finger to the term “heavy-handed” (a catchphrase for those who say art and politics don’t mix). It hurts to look at. At his first solo show, “Contrabando,” you don’t understand, at first glance, what you’re seeing; it looks like something simplified or unserious, a cartoon character or an architect’s blueprint. But soon enough you see the people, pastel-colored and transparent in their watercolor rendering, underneath. That’s when it starts to hurt — once you realize a lot of Morales’ work is based on photographs from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. These people were caught on their way into the U.S., stuffed inside SpongeBob SquarePants toys(children), sewn into car seats, or stuffed behind dashboards. Some works are based on the artist’s memories of growing up in the Tijuana/San Diego area, and another focus is the carefully constructed hidden passageways built by human traffickers; Morales builds wooden scale models of them, and the phrase “underground railroad” springs to mind whether you want it to or not.

The opening reception for “Contrabando” starts at 4 p.m.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: April 2. Continues through April 28, 2011

About The Author

Hiya Swanhuyser


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Giants World Series-Bound
    If you haven't heard, the Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals last night, 6-3, on Travis Ishikawa's walk-off, three-run blast. For the third time in five years, San Francisco is World Series-bound. Christopher Victorio caught up with the fans as they celebrated in the streets after Thursday's game.
  • The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals
    The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals featured Bruno Mars at Civic Center Plaza. The evening ended with an after-party at City Hall where guests were treated to small bites Photographs by Sugarwolf.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular