Earlier this year the El Paso Museum of Art announced an open call for its 2024 Border Biennial / Bienal Fronteriza 2024 exhibition. Recently the museum extended the deadline for the call to Sunday, August 13, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. (MST).
Launched in 2008 as The Art Binational / Binacional de Arte, the exhibition was initially a collaboration between El Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez (MACJ) and the EPMA. The two institutions saw the potential to bridge a connection between the organizations while highlighting the challenges they both faced.
Claudia S. Preza, the EPMA Assistant Curator, told Glasstire, “As museum professionals, there was a sense of responsibility to their shared binational audience to provide programming that both sides of the border could participate in and enjoy. Additionally, the biennial was a way to connect artists with other artists, previously limited due to various factors such as the inability to travel across the border.”
The annual event later went by the name Bienal Ciudad Juárez – El Paso Biennial. In 2011, the biennial received an award for U.S./Mexico cross-border cooperation and innovation from the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. The 2020 biennial exhibition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and even in 2022 the event remained unfeasible. 2024 marks the first year that the biennial has returned since 2018, and due to continuing factors, rather than being a joint exhibition held at MACJ and EPMA, it will only take place in El Paso.
Ms. Preza explained, “Though the biennial has returned to only one location, this does not diminish its importance here on the border. The 2024 Border Biennial / Bienal Fronteriza 2024 will still recognize, stimulate, and disseminate artistic creation on the U.S.-Mexico border. MACJ and EPMA will continue their commitment to fostering, strengthening, and honoring the dialogue spearheaded by the shared binational community and are beginning to discuss how the 2026 Biennial will take shape.”
The exhibition will be curated by Ms. Preza along with curatorial advisors Edgar Picazo Merino, an El Paso-based author, multimedia artist, and activist, and Jazmin Ontiveros Harvey, a New Mexico-based queer Latinx artist, director, and cinematographer. According to the open call, “The exhibition will explore how the definition of ‘the border,’ has helped shape artists’ artistic practice and make up who they are, including their history, gender, culture, race, sexuality, etc.”
To be eligible to apply, individuals must live and work within a 200-mile radius of the U.S./Mexico border. For artists collectives, only one member must live or work in the region outlined, and that member must be the applicant and main point of contact for the collective.
For more information and to apply to the 2024 Border Biennial / Bienal Fronteriza 2024, visit the EPMA’s Submittable page.