Hugo Crosthwaite at Pierogi

“Tijuana Bibles”
13 October—18 November, 2018

Press Release  |  Hugo Crosthwaite  |  Tijuana Bibles

The original Tijuana Bibles were cheap, small pornographic books showing popular cartoon characters like Popeye and Mickey Mouse having sex. They were produced and sold in the USA and were called Tijuana Bibles. They were not created in Mexico, or Tijuana—they were an entirely American invention and were given this moniker to evoke the exotic notion of having come from the lawless border city of Tijuana (the city where Crosthwaite was born and raised).

“For my project I wanted to play with the notion of the Tijuana Bible by creating my own book of hand drawn images as a kind of Sacred/Profane book. The narrative deals with issues of the border, immigration, narco culture, and idiosyncrasies of the city of Tijuana, playing with old stereotypes of how Americans see Mexico and Mexians, especially with the current rhetoric from political figures….” (Crosthwaite)

This exhibition will consist of two of Hugo Crosthwaite’s Tijuana Bible videos together with their respective books of original drawings, as well as a new series of large to mid-size drawings on paper. The installation will comprise a screening room housing projections of the Tijuana Bible videos with its exterior walls covered with murals that Crosthwaite will paint on site, as well as vitrines holding the books of ink and wash drawings.

The videos show a stop-motion animation of the creation of the Tijuana Bibles, where the images begin appearing on the page as if they were drawn by God, the common notion of a sacred book. Crosthwaite’s hand only appears when he turns the page.

Hugo Crosthwaite was born in Tijuana, Mexico in 1971 and grew up in the tourist-heavy beach town of Rosarito. He received his BA from San Diego State and currently lives and works between Tijuana, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn. He was chosen to represent Mexico in the California-Pacific Triennial curated by Dan Cameron. Crosthwaite’s work has been included in numerous additional museum and gallery exhibitions throughout the United States and Mexico, including: the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, “The New World,” for which he created a 42 foot mural titled “Guadalupana March”; The San Diego Museum of Art, “Behold, America!”; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, “The Very Large Array”; the Chicago Cultural Center, “Morbid Curiosity”’; a solo exhibition at The San Diego Museum of Art, “Brutal Beauty-Drawings by Hugo Crosthwaite,” for which he completed a monumental drawing entitled “A Tail for Two Cities” over a two-week period at the museum; “La Primera Bienal de Dibujo de las Americas” (First Biennial of Drawings in the Americas) Rafael Cauduro Tijuana; and the VII Bienal Monterrey FEMSA de Pintura, Escultura e Instalación, in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.