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Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era

Featuring dozens of compelling images, this transformative reading of borderland and Mexican cultural production—from body art to theater, photography, and architecture—draws on extensive primary research to trace more than two decades of social and political response in the aftermath of NAFTA.

December 2017
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416 pages | 6 x 9 | 24 color and 50 b&w photos |

REMEX presents the first comprehensive examination of artistic responses and contributions to an era defined by the North American Free Trade Agreement (1994–2008). Marshaling over a decade’s worth of archival research, interviews, and participant observation in Mexico City and the Mexico–US borderlands, Amy Sara Carroll considers individual and collective art practices, recasting NAFTA as the most fantastical inter-American allegory of the turn of the millennium. Carroll organizes her interpretations of performance, installation, documentary film, built environment, and body, conceptual, and Internet art around three key coordinates—City, Woman, and Border. She links the rise of 1990s Mexico City art in the global market to the period’s consolidation of Mexico–US border art as a genre. She then interrupts this transnational art history with a sustained analysis of chilanga and Chicana artists’ remapping of the figure of Mexico as Woman.

A tour de force that depicts a feedback loop of art and public policy—what Carroll terms the “allegorical performative”—REMEX adds context to the long-term effects of the post-1968 intersection of D.F. performance and conceptualism, centralizes women artists’ embodied critiques of national and global master narratives, and tracks post-1984 border art’s “undocumentation” of racialized and sexualized reconfigurations of North American labor pools. The book’s featured artwork becomes the lens through which Carroll rereads a range of events and phenomenon from California’s Proposition 187 to Zapatismo, US immigration policy, 9/11 (1973/2001), femicide in Ciudad Juárez, and Mexico’s war on drugs.


Honorable Mention for the 2018 Latin American Studies Association Mexico Humanities Book Award

Honorable Mention for the 2017 Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize Modern Language Association Prize for an Outstanding Book

Honorable Mention for the 2019 Association for Latin American Art-Arvey Foundation Book Award

Shortlisted for the 2018 Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present Book Prize

  • Prelude. The Allegorical Performative
  • Introduction. Remix || re: Mex || REMEX: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era
  • City
    • Nafta-Era Performance and Conceptualism’s Prehistory
      • Mexico City, Readymade: The “PIAS Forms,” Mexico's 1968, and Los Grupos
      • "Naco" as the Taco: No-Grupo, Maris Bustamante’s La patente del taco, and Melquiades Herrera’s Object Lifeworlds
    • Post-1994 GDPS and Labor Wars; Institutional Critique and Incorporation
      • The Almost Ex-Teresa Generation
      • Vicente Razo’s Anthropological Materialism
      • Yoshua Okón’s Art and Administration
      • Minerva Cuevas’s Logocentrism
      • Francis Alÿs, Santiago Sierra, and the Age of Cuauhtémoc
      • Teresa Margolles, Remaindered
  • Woman
    • ¿Desmodernidad? Literalists to the Core!
      • Polvo de Gallina Negra’s Maternal Prosthesis
    • Reallegorizing the Female Form
      • Lorena Wolffer’s “El Derecho de Réplica”
      • Katia Tirado’s Pub(l)ic Niches
      • Silvia Gruner’s Fucked-Up Ethnographies
      • Nao Bustamante’s Inter-American Pageantry
  • Border
    • NAFTA-Era Performance and Conceptualism’s Prehistory
      • Art and Design: The Mexico-US Border after 1965
      • The Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo’s Open Door and Laboratory
    • Post-1994 GDPS and Labor Wars; Institutional Critique and Incorporation
      • Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s North American Free Art Agreement
      • inSITE Specificity/Tijuana, Capital of the Twenty-First Century
      • From Undocumentation to the Undocumentary (Alex Rivera, Sergio Arau and Yareli Arizmendi, Lourdes Portillo, Ursula Biemann, Sergio De La Torre and Vicky Funari, Chantal Akerman, Natalia Almada, _________)
  • Postlude. REMEX || re: Mex || Remix: Untoward Art Histories of the Third Millennium
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index

Ithaca, New York

Carroll, a 2017–2018 Society Fellow in Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities, is the author of two poetry collections SECESSION and FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography, chosen by Claudia Rankine for Fordham University’s Poets Out Loud Prize. Since 2008, Carroll also has been a member of Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab, coproducing the Transborder Immigrant Tool.


REMEX can be read as another form of the atlas, with the fundamental difference that it is a cartography that maps and interprets the archive it produces…Carroll's book offers the clearest vision of the path that Mexican art took during the consolidation of the neoliberal paradigm...its research on sources and problems is exhaustive.”
Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies

“Carroll’s superb research makes a seismic contribution to understanding Mexican and US Mexico border art in the post-NAFTA age. Aside from being an essential book in US-Mexico art, borderlands, history, interdisciplinary studies, political science, and women’s studies courses, REMEX needs to be on everyone’s reading list so we can all make sense of how we got to the haze permeating our countries.”
Chiricú Journal

“Incredibly smart, well-articulated, and very much needed. REMEX is not only an important contribution to the fields of Mexican and border visual cultural and performance studies, but it is the book that will move the conversations in the fields in new and provocative ways. It is the book many of us have been waiting for.”
Laura G. Gutiérrez, University of Texas at Austin, author of Performing Mexicanidad: Vendidas y Cabareteras on the Transnational Stage

“Ambitious and engaging . . . arguing, rather boldly, for a comprehension of NAFTA as an aesthetic project as much as an economic one.”
Claire F. Fox, University of Iowa, author of Making Art Panamerican: Cultural Policy and the Cold War and The Fence and the River: Culture and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border


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