Learn about the social crisis that prevails in Mexico City in this clip of season 8 of Art21’s Art in the Twenty-First Century, and how Minerva Cuevas uses conceptual art and sculptural installations and paintings to expose the deplorable state of society, the issues of world starvation and poverty, and the role of big corporations and capitalistic excess on such problems.
The socially engaged artist uses rebranding campaigns exhibited as murals and product redesigns, to show how big corporations are also influencing politics. Shown in the clip is one of such campaigns, which incorporates the rebranding of food production company Del Monte, to highlight their impact and effect on management of natural resources and land struggles in countries like Guatemala. For these projects, Cuevas merely develops concepts and ideas, which are then realized by professional sign painters. By utilizing the brand’s looks and familiarity, she creates connotation, draws the public’s attention to these projects, and therefore raises awareness of the imbalance between rich and poor, the exploitation of resources and injustice of the capitalist system.
For her exhibition Feast and Famine in Kurimanzutto Gallery, the artist has designed and created 500 ears made from Soconusco cacao, which was used as a currency in pre-hispanic times in Mexico. The exhibition is a reference to the capitalist system as a cannibalistic process, exploiting the planet’s natural resources and leaving several societies to live with famine and starvation. To depict the severity of these problems around the world, Cuevas has created a unique installation- a machine that drips chocolate from the ceiling of the gallery. The drips occur in 3.6 sec intervals, the amount of time it takes for one person to die of starvation in the world. She hopes to translate and illustrate this terrible fact in the form of her developing and ever growing chocolate sculpture and therefore raise awareness of the imbalance of resource distribution.