Childhood memories and the working life in Las Vegas provide the centerpiece of a new exhibition at the Barrick Museum of Art in Las Vegas.
The show, "Sorry For the Mess" is a collaboration between artists Justin Favela and Ramiro Gomez.
Both Favela and Gomez have parents that work in the service industry. Favela's parents are janitors on the Strip and Gomez's mother works as a janitor at a school in Southern California.
“This exhibition I think is a true collaboration," Favela said, "We’ve been thinking about this show for a long time now.”
Favela said when the director of the museum gave him the opportunity to bring someone in to create an exhibition he immediately thought of Gomez.
“I always wanted to do work about my family working on the Strip," Favela said, "I like to talk about the visibility or invisibility of the labor that goes on and that maintains this city in my work as an artist and as a podcaster.”
Gomez had the same fascination. He told KNPR's State of Nevada that he likes to observe the men and women who keep the Strip hotels clean and maintained with quiet dignity - even in the early morning hours.
The title for the show came from a sign at a casino construction area. Gomez liked the insincerity of it, especially in a city like Las Vegas where people come to have a good time but don't think about the people who keep it all going.
“The idea that somebody can just casually say, ‘I’m going to mess everything up,’ but there is always going to be someone who’s going to clean it.”
Favela said the show takes the idea of hiding the mess and the people who clean it up and turning it around.
“So, our show kind of flips that around," he explained, "All of the things that you are not supposed to see, the cardboard on the ground, the drywall, the stucco laying around, things in process, those are going to be highly visible in our show.”
There is also a child-like element to the show, Favela said.
He said they created sets like what you might see in a children's TV show.
Gomez said he tapped into his childhood memories.
“This is my source. It has always been memories and childhood ideas and child-like execution also in some ways,” he said.
Beyond that, he also used his experience as a nanny in Los Angeles to create his works. He said when he was a nanny he created a child-like version of the grueling and difficult work that he and the other laborers in the house were doing. That interpretation has made it into this current show.
"Sorry for the Mess" opens on April 12.
Justin Favela, artist, co-host of the podcast "Latinos Who Lunch," and host of "The Art People" podcast; Ramiro Gomez, Los Angele-based visual artist
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