The artist examines the myth of the American Dream and the Latinx experience in baby-pink works inspired by her childhood.
It’s easy to be fooled by the pompadour pink, the references to ’90s nostalgia, and the Y2K markers adorning Yvette Mayorga’s artworks. But in her sea of perfectly textured pieces—like the blinged-out laptop in the life-size recreation of her childhood bedroom titled Bedroom After 15th, or the large set of balloons and Hello Kittys in The Enchanted Party—lies the crux and central theme of her creations: realizing that the American Dream is really just a dream.
Mayorga’s art has the special ability to capture the duality of her upbringing while exploring ideas of belonging, migration, and consumerism. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and was part of the critically acclaimed exhibition Estamos Bien: La Trienal 20/21, El Museo del Barrio’s inaugural survey of contemporary Latinx art featuring more than 40 artists from across the United States and Puerto Rico.
Comprised of 21 new paintings and 16 sculptures, Yvette Mayorga’s first solo show, What a Time To Be, is currently on display at Crystal Bridges Museum’s The Momentary through May 2023. In the exhibition, the Chicago-based multidisciplinary artist uses inspiration from Rococo art and artists like François Boucher, as well as pastry piping bags filled with acrylic paint, to re-imagine her childhood and pay homage to her mother, who worked at the Marshall Fields Department store—now a landmark in Chicago—as a baker. “The art pieces for this show took me a year to make,” she tells me over Zoom. She spent hours layering acrylic paint, drawing out memories from her youth, and even adding fibs from her imagination. Mayorga says it’s an opportunity to control her narrative at a time when her body is still and the memories come back.