Rebeca Méndez

Biography

Rebeca Méndez

Born 1962 in Mexico City
Lives and works in Los Angeles
Professor, Design Media Arts, University of California, Los Angeles

Education
MFA, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, 1996
BFA, design, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, 1984

Selected Exhibitions

2015
‘IV Bienal Ciudad Juárez / El Paso Biennial 2015,’ El Paso Museum of Art / Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez (group)
‘How Posters Work,’ Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (group)
2014
‘Realspace,’ Williamson Gallery, Pasadena, California (group)
‘Muziekgebouw / Rebeca Méndez,’ TrouwAmsterdam, Amsterdam (solo)
‘Due North / í Nor∂ur,’ Icebox Project Space, Philadelphia (group)
2013
‘55th Venice Biennale,’ Maldives Pavilion, Pirate Cinema. Venice, Italy. (group)
‘C.O.L.A. 2013 Exhibition,’ Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles (group)
2012
‘Rebeca Méndez: At Any Given Moment,’ Nevada Art Museum, Reno (solo)
‘Each Day at Noon: Rebeca Méndez,’ Café Hammer, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (solo)
2011
‘Rebeca Méndez,’ Museum of Contemporary Art, Oaxaca, Mexico (solo)
2009
X Bienal de Arte, Cuenca, Ecuador (group)
2004
‘Rebeca Méndez: Iridescent,’ Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, California (solo)
1998
‘Rebeca Méndez: Selections from the Permanent Collection of Architecture and Design,’ San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (solo)

Selected Bibliography

Ruiz, Alma. Rebeca Méndez: Circum/bi/polar. In C.O.L.A. 2013: City of Los Angeles 2013 Individual Artist Fellowships. Los Angeles: Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles, 2013. 
Bradner, Liesl. On View: Energy at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.. Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2010.
Hodge, Brooke. Seeing Things: Getting Upper.. T Magazine (blog), New York Times, May 12, 2011.
Schwarz, David. Strangest Thing: An Introduction to Electronic Art through the Teaching of Jacques Lacan. London: Routledge.

Selected Awards and Honors

2015
Metro Art award for two permanent public art commissions for the Crenshaw/LAX project.
January 8 Memorial Foundation award to design the memorial and master plan for El Presidio Park, Tucson, Arizona
2013
City of Los Angeles (C.O.L.A.) 2013 Individual Artist Fellowship.
2012
National Design Award, Communication Design, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution
2010
California Community Foundation Mid Career Fellowship for Visual Artist

BIOGRAPHY (SHORT)

Rebeca Méndez was born in México City in 1962. She received her BFA (1984) and MFA (1996) from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California.

Méndez’s art practice is in various media—photography, 16mm film, video, and installation—with which she explores the nature of perception and media representation, specifically how cultures express themselves through the style of nature that they produce at a given time and the medium through which they construct this nature. She moves through different scales with ease—from photographic prints, to immersive sound and video installations, to murals of more than 25,000 square feet, to installations involving sixty-foot boulders and tons of lava rock. She considers the journey as a medium in itself and has produced a significant body of work based on travels to unfamiliar and extreme places such as Iceland, Patagonia, Svalbard archipelago in the high arctic, and the Sahara, where she is awakened to a heightened level of perception.

Méndez’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Latin America. Selected solo exhibitions include: Rebeca Méndez: At Any Given Moment at the Nevada Art Museum, Reno, Nevada (2012); Each Day at Noon: Rebeca Méndez, Café Hammer, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012); Rebeca Méndez, Museum of Contemporary Art, Oaxaca, Mexico (2011); Rebeca Méndez: Selections from the Permanent Collection of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1998).

Méndez was the 2012 recipient of the National Design Award bestowed by The White House and the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Méndez was awarded the 2010 California Community Foundation Mid Career Fellowship for Visual Artist. She taught at Art Center College of Design and is currently a professor at the University of California in Los Angeles. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

BIOGRAPHY (MORE)

Rebeca Méndez was born in Mexico City and received her MFA from Art Center College of Design. She is currently a professor in the department of Design Media Arts at UCLA. She has shown her work at the 55th Venice Biennale 2013; GLOW2013, Santa Monica; ARCO Madrid 29th International Art Fair; X Biennial, Cuenca, Ecuador; the National Design Triennial; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art in Oaxaca; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Beall Center for Art and Technology, University of California, Irvine; the Alyce Williamson Gallery, Pasadena. In addition, her work has been exhibited at, and is represented in collections of, the Nevada Art Museum; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York; the Denver Art Museum; the Freitag Historical Museum, Hannover; and Museo José Luís Cuevas, Mexico City. 

Méndez lectures internationally, including a TEDx Talk in 2011, and reviews of her work have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The White House Blog, The San Francisco Chronicle, Wallpaper, Eye Magazine, Metropolis, and I.D. Magazine, among others. Méndez has received numerous awards and international recognition, including the 2012 National Design Award, bestowed by the White House and the Smithsonian Institution; artist residencies at The Arctic Circle in Svalbard archipelago in the high arctic (2010), the ARS Bio Arctica Art Residency in Kilpisjärvi, Finland (2011), the HIAP Artist Residency in Suomenlinna, Finland (2011), and the Nes Listami∂stö∂ Artist Residency in Skagaströnd (2013). Méndez is the 1st Artist in Residence of GLOW2013 Santa Monica, California. Méndez is recipient of a 2010 California Community Foundation Mid Career Fellowship for Visual Artist, and was selected for the Artist Pension Trust, México City.

Méndez has created award winning public artworks in buildings by renowned architects including Thom Mayne, Morphosis; Michael Lehrer, Lehrer Architects; and Silvia Kuhle and Jeffrey Allsbrook, Standard L.A. She has collaborated in projects with architects Greg Lynn, Richard Weinstein, Cooper Robertson Partners, and Frank O. Gehry.

Méndez’s art practice is in various media—photography, 16mm film, video, and installation—with which she explores the nature of perception and media representation, specifically how cultures express themselves through the style of nature that they produce at a given time and the medium through which they construct this nature. She moves through different scales with ease—from photographic prints, to immersive sound and video installations, to murals of more than 25,000 square feet, to installations involving sixty-foot boulders and tons of lava rock. She considers the journey as a medium in itself and has produced a significant body of work based on travels to unfamiliar and extreme places such as Iceland, Patagonia, Svalbard archipelago in the high arctic, and the Sahara, where she is awakened to a heightened level of perception.

Méndez’s interest in the nature of matter—in cycles and systems, specifically the forces and cross-rhythmic tensions that make natural phenomena emerge—stem from her growing up in two seemingly entropic environments, Mexico City and the Mexican jungle, where she would follow her father in pursuit of Mayan archaeology. Common to both environments is hypercomplexity, multiplicity, and constant change. Méndez’s move to Los Angeles and her expeditions to geologically young Iceland and the severe high arctic have furthered this impetus.

Méndez’s work is driven by the concept of élan vital, developed by the French philosopher Henri Bergson, who described it as “the explosive internal force that life carries within itself,” which he claimed animates all being. Her At Any Given Moment series is further informed by the ideas of the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who said: “We are all transistors, in the literal sense. People always think they are in the world, but they never realize that they are the world.” As explained by cultural theorist Sanford Kwinter, what Stockhausen means is that there are no phenomena in the natural world that do not manifest themselves as vibratory or rhythmic phenomena. Those vibrations attack us; they modulate us and, in the end, become us.

Rebeca Méndez lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Adam Eeuwens, and their two cats. 

Download Rebeca Méndez’s complete Career Narrative