Artist Jonathan Herrera Soto to examine freedom of the press in new MAEP exhibition at Mia

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The Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) presents “Jonathan Herrera Soto: In Between / Underneath (Entremedio / Por Debajo),” an exhibition by artist Jonathan Herrera Soto. The show explores freedom of the press, both in the United States and abroad, in the age of fake news and contends that the security of journalists is vital to the preservation of human rights. Herrera Soto’s exhibition opens July 19 and is on view through November 3, 2019.

The focal point of the show is a new rendition of Herrera Soto’s installation In Between / Underneath (Entremedio / Por Debajo). The work features portraits of more than 170 journalists—including reporters originally from the United States—who were murdered or have gone missing in the State of Mexico from the mid-1950s to 2019. Using a mud mixture made from unfired clay, charcoal, soil, and ashes, Herrera Soto will stencil prints of his subjects’ faces onto the floor. The images are designed to be stepped on and walked across, gradually wearing away and fading over time.

In addition, the exhibition will include collograph prints of the artist’s own clothes, resembling discarded articles of clothing abandoned at the U.S.-Mexico border. Through these collographs, akin to rubbings, Herrera Soto explores the connection between clothing and the body, as well as the relationship between forensic evidence and items of personal significance. Also on view is Herrera Soto’s “Love Poem” series, a collection of charcoal rubbings highlighting the trauma that plagues the lives of those left behind after loved ones go missing.

“Jonathan Herrera Soto’s work resonates not only because it addresses current events, but because it holds us complicit and accountable for the state of free press–not just in Mexico, but in the U.S. as well,” said Nicole Soukup, Mia’s assistant curator of contemporary art and the MAEP coordinator. “This is an exhibition that challenges the viewer to do more than just look.”

Accompanying programming for “Jonathan Herrera Soto: In Between / Underneath (Entremedio / Por Debajo)” includes an artist talk and panel discussions. Click here for more information. In addition, on Sunday, November 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Herrera Soto invites audiences to the closing reception of the exhibition to experience an all-day performance. In olive green fatigues and with a black drape over his head, rendering him anonymous, the artist will erase the remainder of the installation by cleaning the floors of the gallery.

The original installation of In Between / Underneath was exhibited in 2017 at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design as part of Herrera Soto’s BFA thesis. That iteration of the work invited audiences to interact with the faces that represent the politically dispossessed—persons who have historically been disappeared, incarcerated, and executed. The original installation drew archival images of victims from Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia, Latin America’s Dirty War, U.S. political prisoners, and other instances of state-sponsored violence against its own citizens.

Jonathan Herrera Soto is a print-based studio artist originally from Chicago. He graduated with a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2017. Recent solo exhibitions of Herrera Soto’s work include Querida Presencia at the Duluth Art Institute in Duluth and Entre Rios y Montañas at Annex Gallery in Chicago. He has participated in numerous artist residencies, including Yaddo, NY; Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, NE; Hambidge, GA; The Studios at MASS MoCA, MA; 33 Officia Creativia, Toffia, Italy; Spudnik Press Cooperative, Chicago; High Point Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis; and Epicenter, UT. Herrera Soto is a recent recipient of the Santo Foundation Individual Artist Award, Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, and is a current 2019–2021 Jerome Hill Artist Grant fellow.

This exhibition is part of the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program, now located in U.S. Bank Gallery. Generous support for MAEP was provided by the McKnight Foundation, with additional support from RBC Wealth Management.