ALBERTO ORTEGA-TREJO

Mexican artist and architectural researcher based in Chicago, USA and Pachuca, Mexico.

His work uses architectural history, writing and video to address representations of indigeneity, the production of extreme environments and contemporary political struggles in the Americas. He has been a fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians and a grantee of the New Artists Society of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Jumex Foundation for Contemporary Art and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His work has been shown in venues as Fundación Andreani for BienalSur, Ca’ Foscari Zattere for the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, Harun Farocki Institut, Chicago Design Museum, Extase, SITE Galleries, SpaceP11 and Centro de Arte y Filosofia.

He is currently the curator of The Last of Animal Builders, an exhibition at the Edith Farnsworth House, opening March 31, 2023. He manages the Katz Center for Mexican Studies at The University of Chicago.

Work by Alberto Ortega at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago.


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The Issue You Mentioned Earlier
On ecology and capitalism
Exhibition
On March 19th, 2015, Florida’s emergency management chief Bryan Koon testified before the State Senate Budget Subcommittee on the news that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would pull federal funding from states that refuse to directly address climate change.

In alignment with his position of climate change denial, Koon went through a series verbal gymnastics to avoid using the scientific term for our current catastrophic path in his statements.

The central piece of the show, “Wish You Weren’t Here” consists of a scaled steel cofferdam (a dam that prevents flooding of foundations in construction sites below sea levels) displays phrases exchanged in official emails by climate change deniers in the US Senate. Such phrases are projected over a melted piece of ice that floods the structure - residue of the Polar Vortex that hit Chicago one week before the opening of the show.

Thuribles for a poisonous mushroom colloquially known as Destroying Angel embody the abstract threat of climate change. The gallery’s circuit box frames a nilometer that measures the scales of an Ideal Flood, and a two channel video installation loops the works “Catastrophic Ice Formation” and “Order is human”.



In collaboration with Rosemary Hall.


This project was possible thanks to the support of: Jonathan Solomon and David L. Hays.