ARTSblock Exhibition Features Public’s Work Alongside Artist’s

The Culver Center will host an exhibition featuring photography submitted by the community in conjunction with installations by Xavier Cázares Cortéz.


Cortéz employs the use of objects from his personal collection to construct his installations, which he calls “feralscapes.” WITH A MOUTH FULL OF TEETH, from the installation, SUDDENLY WE HAD nothing, 2012. Dimensions variable. Plastic objects and etched Christian Dior cologne bottle. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Rodd Lindstrom

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — A new exhibition opening June 30 at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts will feature photography submitted by the public displayed alongside a two-part exhibition that opens the same day.

Random Acts of Content” is a collaborative project that asks the community to partake in a dialogue about art making and storytelling. Those interested are invited to submit a photo via email for consideration until June 12. Each photo in the exhibition will feature a single object of a single color that carries significance to the photographer.

The included photos, chosen by a panel and curated by the museum’s curatorial and education team, will be presented with an exhibition of artwork by Southern California-based artist Xavier Cázares Cortéz. Mimicking Cortéz’s work, the photos will be arranged by color and displayed on a wall adjacent to one of Cortéz’s installations, which draws upon tendencies found in color field paintings — a style of abstract painting characterized by large fields of flat, solid color spread across a canvas.

Photo of folded red hand towel against white background.

The public was invited to submit photos of a single object of a single color for the exhibition, “Random Acts of Content.”
Red Towel – Jasmine from San Diego, CA

“The idea was influenced by Xavier Cázares Cortéz’s collection of inanimate objects that he uses to build on his installation,” said Jennifer Frias, director of education and academic relations and curator of the exhibition. “In the same regard that Cortéz uses objects to construct on a narrative, the assignment for ‘Random Acts of Content,’ allows the community, as well as the viewer, to develop a unique interpretation of the photographed object without the use of text.”

Cortez’s artwork, “FINGERS ARE CROSSED just in case,” will be on display in the Sweeney Art Gallery adjacent to the Culver Center. The sprawling, mixed media installation examines the proliferation of objects and texts. This series of wild and spontaneous structural arrangements — consisting of both two-dimensional wall-based works and three-dimensional constructions, which Cortéz refers to as “feralscapes” — is made up of several thousand pieces from his personal archive of objects and arranged thematically by color, size, classification, or meaning. The various configurations invite viewers to evaluate the taxonomy of things they may have possessed, and their personal association to them.

“These material things run the gamut from the mundane and mass produced to those hand-crafted by me,” Cortéz said. “From the larger perspective of planning a museum show, I do basic thematic and topical planning, but I don’t sacrifice spontaneous forms of arranging these feralscapes, otherwise they’re not really wild.”

An additional installation by Cortéz will be displayed in the atrium of the Culver Center. “NOTHING has changed, everything HAS CHANGED” will be on view until July 15, after which it will be reconfigured into new arrangements that will be presented in different areas of the museum through the duration of the exhibition.

“There is certainly my rebellious nature of questioning hierarchical structures and their hegemonic structures as well as an institutional critique of how museums operate and their missions of collecting, exhibiting, interpreting, and preserving,” Cortéz said. “Rearranging components of the installations subverts traditional models and approaches to exhibiting work in these hallowed halls of culture.”

Cortéz will be on site Saturday, July 7 from 5-6 p.m. to conduct a free artist walkthrough of the exhibition. A conversation with Cortéz will be held August 2 from 6-7 p.m. during the free monthly Riverside Arts Walk.

“I’d like to believe that by actively including audiences in the discussion of the work, they gain power by being part of the discourse,” Cortéz said.

“Random Acts of Content” will run through August 12. The work of Xavier Cázares Cortéz will be on display until August 19. A free opening reception for both exhibitions, as well as several exhibitions in the adjacent California Museum of Photography, will be held July 7 from 6-8 p.m. Find more information about these and other exhibitions on the ARTSblock website.

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