(Photo Credit, Luis M Garza, 2016)
About the Exhibit: The solo exhibition White Hot, is Mark Anthony Martinez’s second solo-exhibition and first in San Antonio, Texas. White Hot is a time sensitive installation based project that uses language in order to elucidate a specific perspective on contemporary race-based oppression. Premiering at 3rd Space Art Gallery, Martinez will present new works blending mediums and intentions through concept and commerce.
Museum Tag (After Daniel Joseph Martinez), 1993/2016
I didn’t want the audience to be mistaken, whiteness isn’t a point of benign difference but instead an apparatus designed to designate power and punishment to bodies who fall within and outside of it’s arbitrary definitions. If you are light skinned or white passing and disavow whiteness as a structure — you must still work to undo racism in your daily. Whiteness is a power fantasy with real lived consequences to benefit its creators but privileges those who remain silent and unquestioning.
White Hot / Cool White, 2016
White Hot is a time sensitive installation based project aimed at illustrating the shadow of whiteness (a hierarchal system based on denigrating darker bodies in order to maintain systemic privilege for whites) cast upon both people of color and whites. Using sixteen 65k fluorescent shop lights (emitting a cool white light) in an exhibition that runs through the month of July — the piece is intentionally designed to provoke a physical discomfort from the audience. The placement and number of fluorescent tubes is no accident either and are intended to allude to code, often used nonchalantly by contemporary white supremacists groups — specifically, neo-nazis. The lighting is cool but the room is undeniably hot.
The triangular forms are to represent the Klan, who would occasionally visit my father’s childhood home in Corpus Christi. Although my father says my grandfather was not endangered himself, being a carpenter to many very wealthy anglo families, it is eerie at how close these in encounters seem in 2016. The KKK remains active to this day.
Untitled (Bolillos), 2016
The bolillo, along with pan dulce (sweet bread), came about by way of the French invasion of Mexico (1861-67). In South Texas, the word “Bolillo” has since become a common descriptor of a white person. It’s a culturally specific way of calling a white person, “white bread.”
Narrative Totes, 2016
Price: $15.00 each bag (ltd ed.)
The three printed totes represent my own formation of identity in the context of growing up in San Antonio, leaving to art school and returning home with a newfound articulation of the restrictions I have inherited up to this point.
I MISS WHITE PEOPLE, 2016
I wish there had been a time in my life when I didn’t hate myself. However ridiculous this sentiment may strike a viewer, it is in retrospect that I can see now — a form of this sentiment is what fueled my journey to art school. Unfortunately, this tote should probably not be worn by a white person or güero/a/x (light skinned/white passing person of color).
I CAN’T AFFORD THE HONESTY WHITE MEN CLAIM, 2014
Whether it’s a lawyer or just plainly being taken at your word, sometimes honesty comes in a currency you don’t carry. Being in the arts and having gone through art school in general (a privilege to be sure), I found I came across a ton of self-proclaimed honest ostensibly white men. I generated this phrase not just to rebut this claim but to also illustrate my own subjugation to a white supremacist modus operandi. A claim is not a TRUTH. History repeatedly shows the cost and consequences of speaking truth to power. Honesty is for other people.
1993/2016 (After DJM),
I can’t imagine ever wanting to be white in a majority minority city. I see the claim of whiteness over brownness and of hispanidad over the indigenous and the Mexican. I see the bluest contact lenses over dark brown eyes. They weigh on you like burglar bars to your soul.