(b. 1971, Mexico City; lives and works in New York)
Pablo Helguera’s project is the first SITEcenter commission. It started with his thorough and intensive research in New Mexico archives, where he discovered a cast of colorful characters and dramatic events emerging from the period when New Mexico was a Mexican province. This period saw the emergence of figures such as the hero/traitor Manuel Armijo—a three-term governor of Santa Fe—and the influential madam Doña Tules, who ran a popular casino; a profusion of languages; the Punitive Expedition in search of Pancho Villa; and the revolutionary paleontological discovery of the Clovis arrowhead. The objects in this installation allude to this era. In related performances at San Miguel Chapel, the artist uses the romancero,a popular poetic musical form inherited from Spain, to organize the representation of both factual and mythical stories from this period.