Consejo Fronterizo de Arte y Cultura (COFAC)/Border Council of Arts and Culture (www.cofac101.org) based in Pasadena and Tijuana,* Mexico unveils the work of internationally acclaimed artists Debby and Larry Kline.
Artists/Collaborators Debby and Larry Kline identify themselves as "provocateurs" who are constantly looking for ways to weigh in on social issues. Their work is about promoting dialogue and engagement by raising questions and helping people pay attention to specific things. For example, they created a piece entitled "The Game at Hand" with chess pieces representing American Culture on one side and on the other side identical women with burkas (a loose garment usually with veiled holes for the eyes) worn by Muslim women especially in India and Pakistan). This Game traveled from 2004-2008 around the country creating all kinds of responses from anger to humor, at times entertaining and poignant, where two strangers sat down to talk and play. The Klines believe that the challenge and beauty of art is to get people to come together to discuss something important. The dialogue was not about them, the Klines; it was about the different emotions people projected onto the Game which ties into their upcoming exhibit.
Their new installation, "The Candy Store: Dispensing Truth," as explained by Debby and Larry Klein, is a retail space that houses "inconsumable products" made out of controlled substances (e.g. tobacco Teddy Bears and Vioxx ceramic candies) adding meaningful visual spectacle and humor to the dialogue surrounding healthcare issues and bridging boundaries between art, science, sociology and activism." They also poke at the escalating trend of United States residents crossing borders to buy medication from Mexico and Canada that they cannot afford to buy in the States. These two artists believe that they can change the world one exhibit at a time. The Klines tend to use humor in their work quite often as one way to diffuse anger and frustration around difficult issues. Hopefully, they make it more palatable so that instead of someone screaming, helping them in oddly beautiful, or funny ways to realize that underneath there is a deeper meaning. Check out their video at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/230960898/the-candy-store-send-a-medicine-show-art-exhibiti.
"The Candy Store: Dispensing the Truth" opens on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. and runs through November 21, 2009 at Cofac's La Casa del Tunel: Art Center (www.lacasadeltunelartcenter.org) located in Tijuana 50 feet from the San Diego-San Ysidro Tijuana border crossing. I asked the Klines why they chose to exhibit in the Center Tijuana. They said, "The venue at La Casa del Tunel, is an apropos location considering the hordes of US citizens who cross the border to save money on less expensive prescription medications. The added facet of a drug-smuggling tunnel transformed into a cultural venue transformed into a drug store makes the project even more significant, meaningful, timely and edgy." On November 7, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. there will be a roundtable discussion focused on questions raised by the exhibition at the Center by the Kleins, a pharmacist, a physician and an advocate for medical marijuana. The discussion is free and open to all members of the bi-national community.
"The Candy Store: Dispensing Truth," Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
Roundtable Discussion, Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 4:00 p.m.
COFAC was co-founded by Luis Ituarte and myself in July 2003.