Am I Racist?

Today, alongside the call to raise awareness about caring for life in the context of the
COVID-19 pandemic, there are constant manifestations of violence against individuals
belonging to historically demoted communities. With urgent pleas being made from
various parts of the globe, it is crucial to ask ourselves how racism and xenophobia
inform and shape us, and particularly the specific forms they take in the Argentine
context. How do the many forms of racism operate among and within us here and
now?

What happens when we enunciate race? There have been numerous theoretical
attempts to define it in terms of multiculturalism and diversity. But these concepts
conceal the way the various markers of social difference operate in the processes that
make racism invisible. Is it possible to build identities and identifications outside social
markers which we are quick to make essentialising by using biologicist or culturalist
arguments? What does it mean in contemporary societies to be indigenous or white or
black or a woman or trans? How to recognise ourselves without simplifying the
complexity of what we are?

There are several groups of artists and intellectuals that position themselves by
highlighting the hierarchical value chains associated with identities. They describe and
expose behaviours, gestures and practices associated with them. We would therefore
call on you to share your thoughts and works on the forms of racism’s social production
with the Museo Moderno.

Just as racism in our context is cloaked, silenced and reshaped to carry on operating in
other ways, the same is true of certain works in which, though not addressed explicitly,
exclusion processes based on corporealities and phenotypes are also foregrounded.
This is because, while racism is associated with the contempt motivated by ethnic
origins, in this part of the world it is interwoven and expressed in other forms of social
differentiation, such as gender, class or religious affiliation.

We are therefore proposing aesthetic and political devices as triggers to ask ourselves
the question, ‘Am I racist?’

The contents of this Modern Museum's program were produced in collaboration with
Fabiola Heredia, Director of the Museum of Anthropology of the National University
of Cordoba.

Cucurto
Washington Cucurto, La conquista de América, 2019
Acrílico sobre papel montado en lino, 183 x 233 cm
Fotografía de Gustavo Lowry. Gentileza de Galería Sendrós, Buenos Aires.
Cucurto nació en Quilmes en 1972. Es poeta y editor de Eloísa cartonera. Publicó más de cincuenta libros
entre narrativa, poesía y poesía visual. Entre ellos se destaca Cosa de negros donde relata una historia
que describe la violencia machista en el mundo de la cumbia, el amor, el sexo, la lucha de clases y el
movimiento inmigracional durante los 90 en Buenos Aires. Pese a estar traducida a muchos idiomas y haber
obtenido un importante reconocimiento en el campo cultural, la literatura de Cucurto continúa generando
seguidores y detractores con la misma intensidad. Como artista visual realizó exposiciones en casas de
amigos y en noviembre de 2020 realizará una muestra de pinturas en la galería Sendrós de Buenos Aires.
Washington Cucurto
I can't breathe

Así como sus libros, las pinturas y los collages que Washington Cucurto realiza desde
hace unos cuatro años reflejan su interés por la ciudad y la violencia que ella engendra.
Si el personaje central de su literatura ha sido la inmigración, en sus pinturas más
recientes Cucurto da cuenta del asesinato de George Floyd, ocurrido en Minneapolis
en junio de este año, a través de grandes telas en las que conviven referencias al cómic
y al arte callejero. En estas pinturas-collages, el artista construye retratos urbanos,
caóticos y vehementes, donde la violencia policial encuentra sus víctimas entre personas
racializadas y marginalizadas.

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