Sometimes you follow your heart and end up in the right place. When visual artist José Vargas was invited to curate the first El Corazón Exhibition in Deep Ellum in 1993, he had had little curatorial experience. But as he explains, “Somehow, organizing exhibitions felt like a natural thing for me to do.” That successful show led to an invitation from Terri Aguilar, then-manager of the Bath House Cultural Center, to curate the exhibition the following year at the Center. Two decades later, the right place to be this weekend is the Bath House Cultural Center for the Artists’ Opening Reception of the 20th Anniversary El Corazón Exhibition, Saturday, February 1, 6:30-8:30 PM.
The basic idea for the show, according to Vargas, came from a picture of a heart (El Corazón) pierced by an arrow on one of the cards of the Mexican board game, Lotería. He adds, “El Corazón is one of my favorite exhibitions! Curating every year requires a lot of hard work, but the end result is always great. I feel fortunate to have such great professional and emerging artists participating in the exhibitions.”
Praised as being one of the most popular exhibitions of the year at the Center, the twentieth El Corazón show marks an important milestone in the cultural life of the Center in 2014. The anniversary show features new works of art created for the occasion as well as a collection of artwork from previous Corazón exhibitions. This is a special exhibition in another way, too. Typically, professional curatorial practice excludes the curator of a show from presenting his or her own artwork. But in recognition of Vargas’s contributions to the El Corazón exhibition over the years, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs allowed a concession that includes Vargas as an artist in the show.
Vargas concludes, “I thank the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the staff at the Bath House for their assistance. And thanks to all of you who come out to see the art and show your support!
About José Vargas: José Vargas is an independent exhibition curator and a visual artist from Dallas. He has displayed his photographs and mixed media art extensively in local and regional art venues. Mr. Vargas is known for starting the annual tradition of the El Corazón and Virgen de Guadalupe exhibitions, two popular gallery shows in Dallas. He has organized both shows for the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs since 1993 and has received praise for his curatorial work.