New World Border and the Great Tortilla Conspiracy

Artists from across the US respond to the border wall now being constructed between the US and Mexico

2nd Floor, Rosenberg Library, City College of San Francisco
November 18, 2013-March 9, 2014

New World Border Imin Yeh image

Artists from around the US respond to the border wall.  The wall, now being constructed across the length of the US/Mexico border is like a knife cutting off neighbors, wildlife, indigenous people, and families. The wall is inflaming hatred and contributing to an atmosphere of vigilantism and oppression. While the US walls itself off from the world in the name of “security” what is it sacrificing?  What is the price of this imprisonment? What is at the root of this fear based policy of building walls. Thirty artists take a look at such questions and respond with imagery from a variety of viewpoints. This touring exhibition was launched in Berkeley, CA at La Peña Cultural Center from in March, 2011.

The artists represent a wide cross section of approaches to the printed image, from esteemed Latino Poster Movement artist Malaquias Montoya, to Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglas, Kearny Street Workshop icon Nancy Hom, New York political illustrator Frances Jetter, co-founder of the California Indian Art Movement, Frank LaPena, as well as powerful work by many other artists.

The wall is destroying and dividing families, communities, eco-systems, and indigenous lands. The wall is part of a national move towards increased militarization of all aspects of society. The time to speak out against it is now.                                                                                               Art Hazelwood
Exhibition Curator

Download the New World Border assignment and list of CCSF Library resources

Check out the New World Border website to see all the artist’ work

The Great Tortilla Conspiracy is a collective based on food. The founding document of the Conspiracy cites the miraculous appearance of several deities, not least of which is the Virgin of Guadalupe, upon various surfaces—clouds, rocks, folded laundry, as well as upon various food stuffs… most famously toast. The tortilla roots of miraculous apparitions goes back to the early days at the Galeria de la Raza in the Mission District of San Francisco. An artist taking his inspiration from vaqueros of yore bent a coat hanger into a sacred shape and branded tortillas with the saintly image. While the tortilla plays the central role in the esthetic practice that is the Great Tortilla Conspiracy the results were not always edible. In fact in the earliest days of the Conspiracy found the humble tortilla decorated with ink better suited for t-shirts than foodstuffs. Technological developments have led the Conspirators in many directions finally settling on a secret recipe that has been called delicious by many a quesadilla acolyte. The now edible artwork produced by the Conspiracy is screenprinted on tortillas and cooked on a griddle so that the image is affixed to the substrate. Simultaneously cheese is melted on the reverse side. Salsa is optional. The art consumer can both eat and enjoy the aesthetic sensation that is the Great Tortilla Conspiracy. Thus with our pre-history disposed of the Great Tortilla Conspiracy steps forth into the 21st century embracing the principles of free food for all, and digestible satire.

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