Knockdown Center is pleased to present Xandra Ibarra: Forever Sidepiece, the first NYC solo exhibition of Oakland-based artist and performer Xandra Ibarra, who also works under the alias La Chica Boom. The exhibition is rooted in Ibarra’s performance practice, extending to sculpture, video, and photographs made between 2012 and 2019, some of which will be on view for the first time. Charged objects like Tapatío bottles, nipple tassels, and cockroaches reappear throughout her work to confront notions of racialized desire and representations of Latinidad, femininity, and queerness.
Ibarra deploys a sharp-witted humor in her work to explore and exploit the condition of the “sidepiece”– a term for a woman whose relationships privilege the physical and take place on the periphery. For Ibarra, however, the sidepiece’s position in the margins enables her to sidestep grand narratives, and she claims the sidepiece as a charged position from which to act.
Performing a spectrum of affects, Ibarra uses her own body and associative objects to destabilize limiting identitarian tropes. In early works, she performs burlesque parodies called “Spictacles,” uses a custom Tapatío strap-on, and sheds a cockroach costume. For later video works, she moves in cyclical and fragmented states to challenge and exceed the gaze. A new body of sculptures combine things like mold, nipple tassels, stripper heels, fluorescent lights, and car parts in order to enliven the bodily attributes of objects, extending the thrust of her performance-based work to sculptural form.
Coursing through this multifaceted body of work is a nuanced conversation that employs humor to address race, sex, and gender, that create pathways for the radical and not-yet-known potentials that are waiting on the sidelines.
About the Artist
Xandra Ibarra, who sometimes works under the alias of La Chica Boom, is an Oakland-based per- formance artist from the US/Mexico border of El Paso/Juarez. Ibarra works across performance, video, and sculpture to explore abjection and joy and the borders between proper and improper racial, gender, and queer subject.
Ibarra’s work has been featured at El Museo de Arte Contemporañeo (Bogotá, Colombia), Broad Museum (LA, USA), Popa Gallery (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Joe’s Pub (NYC), PPOW Gallery (NYC), Anderson Collection (Stanford) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF) to name a few. She has been awarded the Queer Art Prize for Recent Work, Art Matters Grant, NALAC Fund for the Arts, ReGen Artist Fund, and the Franklin Furnace Performance and Variable Media Award. Her work has been featured in Artforum, Paper Magazine, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, ArtNews and in various academic journals nationally and internationally. Ibarra’s work has also been featured in several recent and forthcoming books by Juana Maria Rodriguez, Amber Jamilla Musser, and Leticia Alvarado.
As a community organizer, Ibarra’s work is located within feminist immigrant, anti-rape and pris- on abolitionist movements. Since 2003, she has actively participated in organizing with INCITE!, a national feminist of color organization dedicated to creating interventions at the intersection of state and interpersonal violence. As a lecturer, Ibarra has taught Ethnic Studies, Sexuality Studies, and History and Theory of Contemporary Art courses. Adjunct, full, and part-time teaching posts have included: San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts and San Francisco State University.
This exhibition is organized by Alexis Wilkinson, Knockdown Center Director of Exhibitions and Live Art. Exhibition and text support by Daniella Brito, Programs Assistant.