This Exhibition Has Ended

January 24, 2015
April 12, 2015
In the Opatrny and wing galleries

Departing from Enrique Chagoya’s suite of etchings Homage to Goya II: Disasters of War as a visual and conceptual anchor, this exhibition examines hidden elements and unexpected connections among some of the Museum’s holdings. Chagoya painstakingly replicated and altered prints from Goya’s iconic series Los desastres de la guerra (Disasters of War) to reflect social and political concerns of our time. In this exhibition, both Chagoya’s practice and the double meaning of the word “curious”—strange and unusual, or eager and inquisitive—propel rich, multifaceted journeys through the collection. The selected objects, from pre-Columbian stamp seals to twenty-first–century mixed-media works, are presented in three discrete yet complementary sections—material and historical ties, educational uses, and ownership histories—illustrating the museum as a continuing site of exploration, teaching, and research.

Chagoya’s etchings, each marked with a different red stamp, have acted as catalysts for multiple lines of inquiry. Chagoya began the series in 1983 while a student at the San Francisco Art Institute and completed eight more of the prints while a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, with the tenth following shortly thereafter. The series was republished in 2003 by Segura Publishing Company. Inspired by his criminologist father, Chagoya professes a long-standing interest in counterfeiting and forgery. To realize the series, he studied the Goya prints, traced them at their original scale from published reproductions, then transferred the images onto a grounded plate, and etched them with a stylus, consulting Goya’s originals throughout in order to replicate the particularities of Goya’s lines and cross-hatching. Though the compositional integrity is generally maintained, Chagoya brings twenty-first–century issues into play through alterations, insertions, or substitutions. The ten prints from the series are interspersed throughout the exhibition, providing a thread of continuity and inciting unexpected dialogues. 

We hope that applying three different yet interrelated lenses to the works on display will pique the curiosity of our visitors and inspire them to reflect closely on the objects’ many facets. 


This exhibition was cocurated by the Johnson Museum’s curatorial assistant Sonja Gandert, provenance researcher Alexandra Palmer, and Mellon Curatorial Coordinator for Academic Programs Alana Ryder, and supported in part by the Donald and Maria Cox Exhibition Endowment.