Enrique Chagoya
Mexican artist



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Enrique Chagoya
Mexican artist
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Mexico City, Mexico

More about Enrique Chagoya

amcneary's picture


You might consider Enrique Chagoya a jack of all trades--or at least, a jack with a whole lot of degrees.

Chagoya grew up in Mexico, where his father had a job with the department of criminology at the Central Bank. As a kid, Chagoya would sometimes visit his office, which was filled with examples of counterfeit currency and the etching plates used to make them. Chagoya’s fascination with these tiny, forged prints and plates foreshadowed a future both in economics and in the arts.

Chagoya chose to first pursue economics. After wrapping up at UNAM (one of Mexico’s premier universities), he looked to the US for a second degree. He thought better of continuing econ graduate studies in the United States, claiming “I looked into the department at the University of California, Berkeley, but I knew more about economic theory than most of the graduate students.” #Burn. In the end, he pursued a BFA at San Francisco Art Institute. Next would come an MA and MFA from UC Berkeley, and later Chagoya would become a faculty member at Stanford. I guess the beautiful Bay Area is as good a place as any to call home (I'm not biased…)

Joan Brown was a mentor to Chagoya when he was studying art at UC Berkeley, where she taught for many years. As you might already know, she was sort of new-agey, and they bonded over a shared interest in Pre-Colombian mythology.

For three years Chagoya taught art at the San Francisco County Jail, where he would have to bring his own supplies (like pencils) upon coming and going so that they wouldn’t be nabbed for weapons. “Art from Jail” was the first show Chagoya curated. It showcased artwork by his imprisoned students, whom he even convinced the sheriff to allow to attend the opening.

Chagoya’s work is decidedly political, but you might find it funny, too. His academic background in economy and politics informs quite a lot of what he paints and draws. And, since he’s inspired by a tradition of political caricature, you can spot fictional icons like Mickey Mouse, Lewis Carroll’s Alice, and Dopey the Dwarf appearing alongside parodied political figures like George W. Bush and David Duke. All this amidst technical formality that could rival Goya (there’s even a Chagoya series that riffs on The Disasters of War).


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Here is what Wikipedia says about Enrique Chagoya

Enrique Chagoya (born 1953) is a Mexican-born painter and printmaker. His subject is the changing nature of culture.


He was born in Mexico City in 1953. He was partly raised by an Amerindian nurse who helped him to respect the indigenous people of his country and their history. He studied economics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City in 1975. As a student, he was sent to work on rural development projects, an experience that strengthened his interest in political and social activism.

In 1977, Chagoya and his first wife immigrated to the United States, where he worked as a free-lance illustrator and graphic designer and for a time, in 1977, with farm laborers in Texas. In 1984, he earned a BFA at the San Francisco Art Institute and in 1987 an MFA at the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in San Francisco where he also shows at Gallery Paule Anglim and teaches art at Stanford University, where he received the Dean's Award in the Humanities in 1998.

His works are held in the collections of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), di Rosa, the Museum of Modern Art (New York City), the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D. C.), the New York Public Library, the San Jose Museum of Art (San Jose, California), the Art Institute of Chicago,Arkansas Arts Center (Little Rock, Arkansas), the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

His controversial artwork “The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals”, which portrays Jesus, and possibly other religious figures, in a context of ambiguous sexual content, is part of 10-artist exhibit called “The Legend of Bud Shark and His Indelible Ink” which is on display in a city-run art museum in Loveland, Colorado. The copy on exhibit in Loveland, one of a limited edition of 30 lithographs, was destroyed by a woman wielding a crowbar on October 6, 2010. According to the artist the work is a commentary on the Catholic sex abuse cases. The woman is set to go to court on October 15, 2010.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Enrique Chagoya.