EXHIBITION: BARRY WOLFRYD – Spectacularizing the Margin: Interwoven Worlds of Barry Wolfryd

Spectacularizing the Margin: Interwoven Worlds of Barry Wolfryd
PM Gallery, Home of HDLU (Meštrović pavilion)
September 14-October 8, 2023

Opening of the exhibition Spectacularizing the Margin: Interwoven Worlds of Barry Wolfryd by BARRY WOLFRYD will be on Thursday, September 14, 2023 at 7pm, at PM Gallery (Home of HDLU / Meštrović pavilion).

“Within Barry Wolfryd’s artistic oeuvre, two constant and recurring threads are present, intertwined with the cultural constructs that have shaped him. One is linked to Wolfryd’s native country, the United States of America, and the other to Mexico and the city where he has lived and created since 1985, Mexico City. Wolfryd was born in Los Angeles and began his formal art education at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Upon moving to Mexico in 1975, he continued his education at various esteemed higher education institutions in Mexico and the USA. During our conversation, he pointed out several times that he has been asked around the world, “How did you come to Mexico?” to which he would simply respond, “Well, in a VW  bus “. This very response from Wolfryd embodies the dichotomy of his artistic poetics: the American simplicity and openness (such as living a nomadic life from the time of Jack Kerouac to the movie Nomadland)[1] and the Mexican inclination towards mystification, the supernatural, and the fateful (materialised in Mexican culture through iconic celebrations of the Day of the Dead and the works of Leonora Carrington). These two threads, American and Mexican, alternate and complement each other in Wolfryd’s artistic oeuvre, both in painting and sculpture, thus creating a unique poetics. (…)

In the Expanded Media Gallery [Galerija Proširenih medija], Barry Wolfryd presents a series of works related to his current exhibition at the Arocena Museum, Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico titled Fragility of The Absurd  (2023), featuring new sculptures created in the Murano technique. According to Wolfryd’s statement, in these works, he re-examines War as a certain cliché, that is, the representation of War in the media space where it is treated as an ordinary part of everyday life, much like going grocery shopping or doing other routine activities. However, in his artistic strategy, Wolfryd takes it a step further in these works, both ironizing and simultaneously spectacularizing two traditional arts or artistic techniques. These techniques have been commodified due to the influx of tourism in Venice and Mexico, transforming them not only into kitsch but also marginalizing their cultural significance. The first technique is, of course, the Murano technique of crafting glass objects in workshops on the Venetian island of Murano (from the 13th century to the present day). The second is that of Mexican dioramas, known as Nicho art, a form of folk art found in Central and South American countries. In Nicho art, small figurines made from various materials are placed within glass boxes (miniature altars). (…)

(…) With his Fragility of The Absurd  series, Barry Wolfryd employs irony and direct criticism of the current era’s superficiality and hopelessness, raising questions about the interplay of cultural layers, marginal phenomena, and liminal spaces. Simultaneously, he explores the reinterpretation of two grand cultures: the Mexican – traditional and folkloric and the American – both the invisible everyday culture and the overly visible spectacular one.”

Josip Zanki

[1] The fascination with the American road and travel is present in Kerouac’s novel On the Road published in 1957, as well as in Chloé Zao’s movie Nomadland from 2021.


Barry Wolfryd was born in Los Angeles, California, but he has carried out most of his artistic career in Mexico, where he has lived for more than 45 years. Wolfryd began his artistic studies in 1972 at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Connecticut. At age 22, he moved to Cholula, Puebla, Mexico, where he continued his studies at the University of the Americas, and from 1975 to 1979, at the Allende Institute in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. In 1982, he studied at the Chicago Art Institute (student-at-large) and in 1984, at the National Institute of the Arts in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. In 1985, he settled in Mexico City, where he lives and maintains his studio.

Wolfryd’s work encompasses painting, mixed media, sculpture in ceramics, bronze and glass, object art, and graphics. He focuses on the use of iconography and popular imagery as a vehicle for criticism. Since 1985, he has held more than 40 individual exhibitions and participated in more than 120 group presentations. Among them, are exhibitions in relevant museums, institutions, and galleries in various countries.



Tuesday-Sunday: 11am – 7pm
Mondays and holidays closed

The exhibition will be opened until October 8, 2023



Tuesday – Sunday: 9am – 12pm / 4pm – 8pm
Mondays and holidays closed.


Wednesday - Friday: 3pm - 8pm h Saturday and Sunday: 10am - 1pm h Mondays, Tuesdays and holidays closed

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