In the southeast hills of Tijuana, at the top of a harrowing Saturno Street in a neighborhood aptly-named Planetario, lies a boxy, minimal-modern house called Casa GS.
A project of renowned Tijuana architect Jorge Gracia, Casa GS was constructed on a shoestring budget by making use of available and repurposed materials such as concrete, glass, steel, drywall, and wood.
The walls, for example, were given their distinct, uneven texture by pouring concrete into re-appropriated wood pallets so that the entire house reflects the contours of the planks while the structural bore-holes lend the illusion of knots.
To debut Casa GS before the owners move in, Los Angeles-based curator Steve Turner Contemporary is hosting a pop-up exhibition called Art Baja Tijuana featuring work by eight international artists from LA, New York, Mexico City, and TJ.
“Gracia believes that architectural design is enhanced when architects work closely with builders and craftsmen,” the event page reads.
“In that spirit, he manages every aspect of his projects until the last detail is finished including custom designed furniture. He also uses reclaimed materials from his past projects, reusing them in new construction… With his use of easily accessible materials, Gracia has something in common with several of the artists in ABTJ. Pablo Rasgado, for example, often uses materials that he extracts from public spaces. In past works he has utilized sections of painted walls from busy city streets, remnants of drywall from temporary exhibitions at museums and common books that he has found within a city.”
In preparation for the exhibition, Mexico City native Rasgado will be taking up post at Se Renta - an artist residency program of the Tijuana-based non-profit organization Laboratory of Contemporary Art Agents - during which time he will be creating works with materials extracted from the local urban landscape.
Some of these works will be exhibited at Casa GS, though he will also be producing a work off-site by transforming an abandoned house into a minimal monumental sculpture.
The following artist descriptions are taken from the event page.
Tyler Adams (LA) will present a kinetic sound installation that utilizes commonplace building materials and familiar sonic textures. In past works, he has used ducts, speakers and fans to create sounds reminiscent of heartbeats, breaths, shakes and murmurs.
Aaron Aujla (NY) will present abstract paintings that he creates from used roofing shingles. Throughout his practice, Aujla translates familiar domestic elements into minimal abstractions that are rich with history and meaning.
Tijuana-based street artist PANCA will create a mural on a temporary plywood wall inside Casa GS. Street art fits into ABTJ’s spirit of using what is accessible, and for PANCA, it is the public wall.
Timur (LA) will present a musical performance (Friday July 19 at 9 p.m.) that was commissioned expressly for Art Baja Tijuana and sponsored by Bustamante Realty Group. It will consist of new songs, fictional and real conversations, and improvisation inspired by the other artists in ABTJ. Timur will be accompanied by his two Los Angeles-based collaborators, Andrew Lessman on drums and Alex Noice on electric guitar. All of the events on Friday July 19, including a wine tasting featuring local vineyards, will be co-hosted by the Tijuana-based creative firm GastroMarketing.
Petra Cortright (LA) will present new digital paintings on aluminum.
Fabiola Torres-Alzaga (Mexico City) will show new photographs that highlight the hand of a magician performing a magic trick.
Katherine Davis(LA) will show abstract paintings that represent mathematical concepts.
“It is the notion of the artist’s hand that makes these artists relevant to the exhibition,” the event page reads.
Those in the Los Angeles area can hop a round-trip chartered bus tour of Tijuana’s modern architecture on Saturday, July 20.
Visits will be made to CECUT (remarks by Illya Haro, Curator and Exhibition Manager); Culinary Art School (remarks by Jorge Gracia, Architect and Javier Gonzalez, Director of the Culinary School); Modulo Prep Library (remarks by Gabriela Bendeck, Architect); VIA Corporativo (remarks by Ramón Guillot Lapiedra, Architect); Misión 19 (with remarks by Manuel Martínez, Architect/Designer, Javier Plascencia, award-winning chef and restaurateur and Adria Montaño, Executive Chef at Misión 19, followed by a multi-course meal); Pablo Rasgado’s monumental sculptures; and Casa GS (remarks by Steve Turner, Director of Steve Turner Contemporary and Art Baja Tijuana).
Tickets are available online from the Architecture + Design Museum, Los Angeles for $180.
Budget travelers can join Turista Libre on Saturday, July 20 for a tour of underground Tijuana lead by PANCA and Turista Libre’s Derrik Chinn.
Stops include Casa GS (remarks by Steve Turner, Director of Steve Turner Contemporary and Art Baja Tijuana); Pablo Rasgado’s monumental sculptures, public murals by PANCA and 1102, and an craft beer afterparty at PANCA's downtown studio. Taco lunch is included in the ticket price of $40, and turistas can either join the tour on the US side of the San Ysidro/Tijuana border or at Casa GS.
Art Baja Tijuana (free) runs from Thursday, July 18 thru Sunday, July 21 at Casa GS, located at Avenida de las Flores & Circuito de la Rosa No. 6071 in gated community Hacienda Agua Caliente.
Thursday – 10 p.m. to midnight
Friday – 2 p.m. to midnight
Saturday – 2 p.m. to midnight
Sunday – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.