Celia Álvarez Muñoz in "Fibra"
Celia Álvarez Muñoz in her immersive installation “Fibra” from 1997. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego doubles down on its commitment to art influenced by the border this month with the first career retrospective of Texas artist Celia Álvarez Muñoz and the first solo exhibition of work by Griselda Rosas from Tijuana.

The Álvarez Muñoz retrospective that opens Thursday was cited by the influential magazine “Art in America” as one of the “significant and intriguing ” exhibitions opening across the world in 2023.

Detail from “Petrocuatl,” 1988

Celia Álvarez Muñoz: Breaking the Binding” features three-dozen works spanning 40 years, including six large-scale immersive installations, photographic series, image-text art, mixed-media murals and book projects. The work highlights Álvarez Muñoz’ playful, witty style, often characterized by her use of bilingual puns and mistranslation in text and image

The artist, who was born in Texas and grew up along the border, first exhibited at MCASD in 1991, when the museum was a considerably smaller institution.

“It’s nice to come home,” she said during a preview this week. “I am so honored to be here in this redesigned building.”

As she led a tour of her work, beginning with the story of her family journey on “El Límite” from her 1991 exhibition, to the room-sized “Fibra,” a commentary on sexism and oppression in fashion, she described herself as both activist and storyteller.

“Hopefully you’ll find yourself, because I think it’s there” in the art, she said.

The second exhibition, “Griselda Rosas: Yo te cuido,” is the Tijuana artist’s first solo museum exhibition, presenting new textile drawings and sculptures that explore the layered histories of the San Diego-Tijuana region.

In her textile creations, Rosas adopts embroidery skills learned from her mother, grandmother, and aunts, often using her young son’s drawings as foundations.

“Griselda Rosas is one of the most gifted and compelling voices of the San Diego-Tijuana region and we are honored to present her first solo museum show, which was postponed due to the pandemic,” said Jill Dawsey, MCASD senior curator.

“Rosas’s deft handling of materials — from wood and cement to thread and natural pigments — is enriched by the artist’s allusions to colonial history and to daily life. Offering multiple entry points for viewers, Rosas’s artworks give us new ways to understand the entanglements of the past and present.”

“El punto es que lo intrincado organiza sus fronteras,” Griselda Rosas, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Quint Gallery

The museum in La Jolla is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission for San Diego County residents is $20, with discounts for students and seniors.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.