(American, b. 1985)
Image: 45.7 x 61 cm (18 x 24 in.); Sheet: 53.3 x 71.9 cm (21 x 28 5/16 in.)
Gift of Jack and Linda Lissauer in memory of Pearl and Rabbi David Hachen 2020.416
© Michael Menchaca
Michael Menchaca is influenced by the aesthetic of video games; for example, the red, white, and blue round form at upper right is adopted from the Japanese gaming franchise Pokémon.
Texas-based artist Michael Menchaca uses the stacked forms and flattened compositions of Mayan codices—the earliest books in Latin American culture—to comment on current social issues in the United States. This artwork’s title references castas, a racial classification system developed around the 1600s by the Spanish conquerors of Mexico. The print shows catlike creatures in different colors guarded by uniformed wolves, meant to evoke this discriminatory practice of categorization. Combining fantastical and historical images, the artist writes that he hopes to compare such inequality of the past with the treatment of undocumented immigrants by the American government today.
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