Killed By Art

Marisa Demarco
2 min read
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“What is up with that ugly thing?” we asked, crossing the threshold to UNM as freshmen. A high-gloss, garishly colored statue of dancers with odd proportions, faces twisted, enormous hands. “That chick is nasty,” we said of the woman figure with her proud chest and an expression on her face that I always thought of as “melty.”

We didn’t get it. A lot of people don’t. Few can cross the path of that statue for the first time without commenting on it as a cartoonish blight on the face of our otherwise pleasant—if somewhat bland—university landscape.

It’s “Fiesta Jarabe” by Luis Jimenez Jr., an artist who died at his studio in Hondo Tuesday, according to a story in this morning’s
Journal . He was moving one of his large statues with a hoist, and somehow it fell and pinned him.

Jimenez made his sculptures by welding then spray painting them, something he learned to do at his father’s electric sign shop. Results are varied, but are rarely bland or boring.

At some point, an art teacher familiar with Jimenez’s work explained the “Fiesta” to me. It’s supposed to strike you, to fly in the face of your assumptions about Mexican culture and confront you in large, loud fashion. It’s bold and somewhat awkward for a reason.

I think that was the first time I ever really thought about art as something other than decoration. After that, I grew to really love the thing. I’m sad Jimenez won’t be around to make any more “ugly” statues.
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