“‘Eternal Return and The Obsidian Heart’ offers a holistic look at the ways in which Raúl de Nieves rejoins the spiritual with the material in contemporary consumer culture,” said Puleo. “The exhibition is the first to consider the relationship between de Nieves’ sculptural work and his solo and collaborative performances, and in doing so, it also offers a comprehensive view of the artist’s practice.”
The exhibition’s focal point is a life-size carousel that circles endlessly in a performance of fantasy and delirium, referencing the cyclical time of Eternal Return, or the idea that time is composed of a limited number of events that endlessly recur in different sequences and combinations. The exhibit also features a 14 feet by 50 feet “stained glass” installation, Basilio, a Cosmic representation of time from earth at various moments of transit across the sky over the course of a year.
Multimedia artist, performer, and musician de Nieves was born in Michoacá, Mexico, in 1983 and resides in Brooklyn, New York. He is inspired by memories from his childhood in his hometown, where public religious rituals and private devotional acts included elaborate costuming, performances, and theatrical components. He found his artistic voice in queer punk scenes in San Diego, San Francisco, and New York City.
For de Nieves, art-making is a related process of creating a mirror for one’s self; both a tool for reflection and a means of externalizing an internal state in order to see possibilities for growth. His eclectic practice investigates notions of beauty and transformation. His elaborate and labor-intensive installations, sculptures, and paintings explore decadence, desire, and divinity across material, emotional, and spiritual realms.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum will require social distancing and face coverings. For the safety of its visitors, staff members, and volunteers, MOCA is also implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols, such as the placement of signage and hand sanitizer throughout the museum.