This theme is taken further in his Pompeii series in which the artist has painted pre-Columbian motifs onto the Roman ruins, taken from an old volume of sepia photographs. Thus on a crumbling wall behind the celebrated sculpture of the dancing fawn he has painted a monkey figure (familiar from Aztex seals and Nasca lines of Peru) facing a schematic mushroom. From ape atomic age is Borofsky's own interpretation, echoed by the painted in smoke belching forth from the Vesuvius in the far distance. However the artist by no means wishes to impose interpretations on his audience, preferring to leave it up to the individual.
These juxtapositions are extraordinarily effective. The sepia prints in themselves tgive an impression of antiquity and thus distance from their subject, allowing us to study this conjunction of the Old World and the New with a certain objectivity. The classicism of the Roman architecture remind us of the order and intellectualism on which Western Civilization is founded which appears dead and lifeless when contrasted with the magico-religious symbology of the New World.
Borofsky points out that the designs on which he bases his work are found from Arizona to Bolivia. His art is thus grounded in what he describes as “traditional pre-Columbian pattern making rules” which he uses to create his own imagery.
These figures reappear in a series of fluid pastels drawings on colored paper especially made for the exhibition. But it is clear that it is his mural and mural related work that are the essential core of his art. “The two most important aspects of my work are design location,” he concludes.
Arnold Wechsler first visited Mexico three years ago. He has returned for times since to Chiapas, being particularly interested in Mayan symbology revealed in the decorative patterns of Chiapaneco and Guatamalan textiles.
New York Painters Show Mexican Inspired Works
Asi, vemos en las salas de la Casa del Lago imagenes de Borofsky que nos traen la prescencia de centros cremoniales prehispanicos, o de las culturas romano y griega, con disenos del propio artista a partir de codigos de nuestros antepasados. Tambien observamos, junto a los desechos de la sociedad industrial de Nueva York, paredes signados con graffiti, hombres de grupos punks, saludos, dibujos varios y signos de escritura jeroglifica que Scot ha retomado para las calles neoyorquinas.
Por suu parte, en su trabajo, Leonard Rosenfeld usa los materiales que encuentra en desuso para reformarios en figuras de Emiliano Zapata y otros revolucionarios anonimos, o hacer reminiscencia de un "Tlacopaltan Dream", de codigos prehispanicos o de la cultura oriental. En sus obras, el metal, la madera, el alambre electrico doblado y pegado al bastidor con tachuelas reflejan "la vision romantica" que Rosenfeld dice tener de Mexico, su Revolucion Mexicana Y su historia en general.
De Arnold Wechsler su presenta una serie de obras inspiradas en disenos textiles de los Mayas, usando elementos simbolicos como la serpiente o el zapo. En sus cuadros, las texturas y colores de la pintura suplen la naturaleza de los textiles indigenas y refiero el gran contacto que Wechsler ha tenido con grupos etnicos de Chiapas.
Este es primera exposicion que, en conjunto, los tres pintores neoyorquinos presentan en Mexico.
En entrevista, Scot y Leonard comentaron la gran influencia que el arte publico Mexicano ha tenido en su produccion personal. Para Scot, quien posee una larga experiencia en elaboracion de murales en Manhattan, el arte publico callejero es "el camino" que recomienda a los pintores que emplezan. Dijo que en Estados Unidos los artista no cuentan actualmente con apoyo gubernamental para desarollar el art publico, pero que aun asi "los artistas de la calle", "los del barrio", continuamos "tomando los muros el graffiti como medio de expresion creativa".
Working together on spray paint “installation" murals of pre-Columbian designs on New York brick walls is the team of Borofsky and Wechsler. These two are showing large C-prints of their murals. The work is interesting in that it is mixed in with N.Y graffiti and garbage that appears to be from the Lower East Side. For some weird reason, the spray paint freezes taken from the designs of Mitla seem comfortable next to native New Yorkers spray paint exclamations of Shorty Rocks!
In two other gallery rooms Borofsky and Wechsler are showing individual exhibits. Borofsky has taken his spray paint mural to Pompeii (however, only in cleverly touched-up photographs) and Wechsler is showing sketches and watercolors torn right out of the pages of sketchbooks complete with the ripped notches produced by the metal spiral binding. -JOHN SHOWN
La Journada, Wed., Feb. 25, 1988
Under the group title. “Pintores de Nueva York” three N.Y. Artists using three very different media have come together to exhibit their works in the Casa del Lago, Chapultepec. Yet despite differences inherent in their respective approaches to their work, they are united by common theme-a fascination with particular aspects of pre-Hispanic art and culture which keeps them continually returning to Mexico.
Scot Borofsky has been spending a minimum of two to three months here almost annually since his first visit in 1976. His works center around pre-Columbian figures and designs which for him are powerful and regenerative spiritual symbols.
Inspired by the public art of the Mexican muralists, in 1983 Borofsky armed himself with aerosol paints and took off into the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Some of the images he created over the next three years have been captured in large format. Photographs currently on show. Colorful meander patterns, like those carved in stone in the ruins of Mitla, run across a brick wall, a schematic tiger shape is outlined on the metallic doors of a locked up garage and what he describes as an “angel” figure, arms uplifted, appears on several bricked up doors and windows of abandoned buildings.
More than 20 of the murals were concentrated into a three block are, which also has a predominantly Hispanic population.
A dangerous neighborhood, Borofsky seemed more preoccupied with police interference than that of the local drug dealers and junkies. He would paint between 5:30 and 6:30a.m. “when police changed shifts” and befriended local junkies who “watched out for the cops.”
Each work is accompanied by an identical but anonymous cartouche to indicate that they are all by the same artist.
The local response has been enthusiastic. The bright colors and simple figuration are “a positive message” in a dangerous and decaying area of the metropolis.
For Borofsky the juxtaposition of the images of a vanished culture and the semi-ruins of contemporary civilization is a telling one. Indeed the vibrancy and power of the pre-Hispanic motifs seem to speak of a culture or world view that will endure beyond the disintegration of Western civilization.
Mexico City News, Tues., Feb. 16, 1988
Tres pintores de Nueva York estan en la Casa del Lago, de Chapultepec. Scot Borofsky, Leonard Rosenfeld y Arnold Wechsler quienes mediante pintura, fotografia y dibujo, muestran su acercamiento, interes y gran influencia que el arte pre-colombino de las culturas mesoamericanas ha tenido en su quehacer plastico.
Por un lado, Scot Borofsky recupera, mediante la fotografia y el recurso del fotomontaje, el arte publico: el graffiti que en Nueva York ocupa sus muros con demandas economicas o siciales, consignas politicas o llamados de grupo, pero en el caso de la produccion de Scot, se refiere tambien a la revaloracion de codicos prehispanicos en el ambito callejero.
HI FASHION MAGAZINE , Jan., 1990
Mexico City News, Fri., Feb. 24, 1989
Gaceta UNAM, Feb. 11, 1988