Now Exhibitions

Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols

Artist Residency | Award Winning Project

Gallery with burgundy walls and black scaffolding structure that displays monitors and photographs.

Carlos Motta’s largest exhibition in the US to date celebrates the Colombian-born, New York–based artist’s commitment to radical difference and the debut of his Wex-commissioned project.

Acclaimed for his work that addresses critical LGBTQIA+ issues both past and present, Motta describes himself as “an historian of untold narratives and archivist of repressed histories.” Your Monsters, Our Idols brings together a selection of photographs, films, sculptures, drawings, and multimedia installations from the late 1990s through today that reflect two major areas of exploration in his practice: postcolonial subjectivity and democratic participation.

Many works in this thematic solo exhibition not only reveal the struggles of queer people under the constraints of oppressive social and political regimes, they also use participation as a device, employing self-representation and self-determination as strategies to produce counternarratives. The range of this liberated expression is expanded through collaborations with other artists, including Julio Salgado, Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau, Tiamat Legion Medusa, and SPIT! (Sodomites, Perverts, Inverts Together!), a collective including Motta, John Arthur Peetz, and Carlos Maria Romero. It’s enhanced as well by working in dialogue with thinkers and activists.

Your Monsters, Our Idols will feature the premiere of Motta’s first multichannel sound installation, The Columbus Assembly, which was supported by a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award. The project is based on conversations with artists, activists, and scholars who queried what was at stake in changing the name of Columbus, Ohio—the largest city in the world named after Christopher Columbus, the European explorer who enabled the colonization of the Americas. Exploring the intersecting politics of patriarchal and colonial commemoration, The Columbus Assembly asks how examining such symbolic acts of recognition might contribute to larger efforts to decolonize institutions, attain radical equity, and achieve restorative justice.

Two free volumes will be published in conjunction with Your Monsters, Our Idols: A booklet accompanying the residency work that features the edited roundtable conversations along with a poem by Indigo Gonzales Miller, and an exhibition gallery guide that will feature new essays by scholar and filmmaker Susan Stryker and exhibition curator Lucy I. Zimmerman.

Please note: This exhibition contains nudity and work dealing with sexuality.

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A person, seen from their shoulders up to their head, against a dark background and with a drawing of a devil superimposed on their face.

Carlos Motta and Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau, Mourning Stage, 2020/2022 (still). HD video with color and sound, 16 mins. Image courtesy of the artists and P·P·O·W Gallery, New York. Supported by the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Goethe-Institut Bogotá. Based on a live performance commissioned by the 11th Berlin Biennale.

Three monitors on a purple wall, another wall is painted yellow and green with a mural of a person with butterfly wings.

Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols, installation view at the Wexner Center.

Gallery with burgundy walls and black scaffolding structure that displays monitors and photographs.

Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols, installation view at the Wexner Center.

Gallery with black scaffolding structure on which hang two dark photos. Between them, in the distance, there is a projection on the wall.

Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols, installation view at the Wexner Center.

Darkened gallery space with black scaffolding structure that displays framed artworks. Light enters from a gridded glass wall in the background.

Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols, installation view at the Wexner Center.

Gallery with large pink triangle in the distance and four geometric platforms painted in pastel colors. Left wall has a group of photographs and text “We Who Feel Differently.”

Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols, installation view at the Wexner Center.

A wall with self-portraits of artist Carlos Motta hung salon style, with many works filling the space.

Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols, installation view at the Wexner Center.

A group of small bronze sculptures on concrete pedestals in a white gallery space

Carlos Motta, We The Enemy, 2019 (detail). 41 bronze sculptures on concrete pedestals, dimensions variable. Installation view courtesy of the artist and Galeria Vermelho, São Paolo, photo: Edouard Fraipont.

Video projection screen in dark space, featuring a person's face layered atop a drawn historical map with palm trees and a village.

Carlos Motta, Corpo Fechado (The Devil's Work), 2018. HD video with color and sound, 24:47 mins. Installation view in Carlos Motta: Corpo Fechado, Galeria Avenida Da Índia (EGEAC), Lisbon, Portugal, 2018–19. Image courtesy of EGEAC/Galerias Municipais, photo: Bruno Lopes.

Carlos Motta from his shoulders up; he has a dental gag in his mouth and the following text across his bare chest: "1983: The CDC reports 3,153 cases of HIV/AIDS in the U.S."

Carlos Motta, Legacy, 2019. HD video with color and sound, 29:20 mins. Image courtesy of the artist and P·P·O·W Gallery, New York.

Close-up view of a figure's face. Its eyeballs are green, and its skin is painted with metallic and earth tones, resembling scales of a reptile.

Carlos Motta and Tiamat Legion Medusa, When I Leave This World, 2022. HD video with color and sound, 10 mins. Image courtesy of the artists and P·P·O·W Gallery, New York.

More about the artist

Carlos Motta chevron-down chevron-up

Carlos Motta (b. 1978, Bogotá, Colombia) is a multidisciplinary artist who documents the social conditions and political struggles of sexual, gender, and ethnic minority communities, challenging societal norms and values through visibility and self-representation. He has upcoming solo exhibitions at Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá (MAMBO) and P·P·O·W Gallery in New York (2023). His work is included in the 58th Carnegie International (2022) and the permanent collections of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Guggenheim Museum. Motta participated in Film at Lincoln Center’s Art of the Real (2021) and the 11th Berlin Biennale (2020). He was awarded PinchukArtCentre’s Future Generation Art Prize (2014) and a Guggenheim fellowship (2008). He is an associate professor of Interdisciplinary Practice in Fine Arts at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols is organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts and curated by Associate Curator of Exhibitions Lucy I. Zimmerman with Exhibition Research Assistant Indigo Gonzales Miller and Graduate Curatorial Intern Arielle Irizarry. Organizational support for the exhibition is provided by P·P·O·W, New York; Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo; and mor charpentier, Paris and Bogotá.

THIS PRESENTATION MADE POSSIBLE BY
National Endowment for the Arts

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR THIS PRESENTATION PROVIDED BY
FotoFocus

EXHIBITIONS MADE POSSIBLE BY
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

FREE GALLERIES MADE POSSIBLE BY
American Electric Power Foundation
Adam Flatto
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
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ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR FREE GALLERIES PROVIDED BY
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PNC Foundation

WEXNER CENTER PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Greater Columbus Arts Council 
The Wexner Family
National Endowment for the Arts 
Ohio Arts Council
L Brands Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Nationwide Foundation
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

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Mike and Paige Crane
Axium Packaging
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Now Exhibitions

Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols