ICA at VCU’s opening of ‘Harold Mendez: Let us gather in a flourishing way’ postponed to March 5

Artwork displayed in a gallery. [View Image] “Harold Mendez: Let us gather in a flourishing way” will open March 5 at the Institute for Contemporary Art. (Photo: Jeff McLane/ICA LA)

Due to recent inclement weather, the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University has postponed the opening of “Harold Mendez: Let us gather in a flourishing way” to March 5.

The exhibition, which runs through June 27, is a journey through 10 years of Los Angeles-based artist Harold Mendez’s work. Comprising a selection of nearly 20 works in sculpture, printmaking and photography, Mendez invites us to explore the tension between fiction and truth, visibility and absence, and how history and geography shape our sense of self and our relationship to the world. 

Mendez, who was born in Chicago, is of Mexican-Colombian descent. He has traveled widely throughout his career, including working in South America, Cuba and Africa. His work draws on his upbringing, heritage and international experiences to explore the meaning of cultural visibility. The artist both traces and erases found imagery with specific cultural or art historical references to create otherworldly new images. He obscures original source images and through installation fills spaces with disembodied sound. Mendez uses laborious manual processes to manipulate what is seen in his work and, in turn, challenges audiences to look more deeply. 

The exhibition borrows its title from a poem by Juan Felipe Herrera in which the writer illustrates ideas and experiences that range from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Similarly, Mendez’s seemingly everyday images simultaneously belie complexity, nuance and uncomfortable realities. “Let us gather in a flourishing way” pulls you into the thought-provoking journey of an artist uncovering a unique perspective on the transnational experience, the process of ritual and the power of cultural memory. 

“Harold Mendez: Let us gather in a flourishing way” was organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and curated by Jamillah James, senior curator. The exhibition is coordinated at the ICA at VCU by Executive Director Dominic Asmall Willsdon.

About the Institute for Contemporary Art

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University is a noncollecting institution that showcases a fresh slate of changing exhibitions and programs. The ICA is a place to explore new ideas, providing an open forum for dialogue and collaboration across the region and the world. Mirroring the increasing emphasis on cross-disciplinary studies across VCU, the ICA has created a new environment for artists and scholars from around the world to test ideas. As a university-wide resource, the ICA links campus, community, and contemporary artists by supporting local creative communities, engaging an international network of contemporary artists and organizations, and encouraging collaborations with VCU departments, faculty, students and the Richmond community. The ICA is a responsive institution that offers a broad range of artistic perspectives with the goal of questioning assumptions and encouraging critical discourse. For more information on the ICA, please visit icavcu.org.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Tappahannock Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit www.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.