In August 2014 I was asked to do a piece at Bikini Wax Gallery in Mexico City as part of a small group show. There was going to be a band playing on the roof and there were a lot of people coming. I asked Daniel -- one of the guys who runs Bikini Wax -- if I could make a big mess in the gallery and he seemed excited about the idea.
I made three plant sculptures out of nopales from the market, terracotta pots, and pinata confetti. I placed them precariously around the gallery. I also made a huge, glittery sign that should have said "Happy Birthday!" but instead it said "Lo Siento". The first plant was knocked over by a little girl. Her dad was mortified and apologetic (Lo Siento). I promised them it was okay and tried my best to fix the pot with duct tape and hot glue.
A few weeks before I had been too drunk at a party in Mexico City sometime after 3 AM. I was out on the porch trying to light a cigarette. I put my foot out where I thought there was a step but I missed the step and fell. My knee slammed into a large terracotta pot with a plant growing in it. The pot shattered and the plant was broken into pieces. Here I was, a Mexican American living in Mexico City for the first time at age 25 and I was being the world's biggest gringo. Drunk, loud, wrecking stuff in nice people's homes.
At Bikini Wax during this show everyone got drunk and started pushing my sculptures over on purpose. After they saw that it was okay and that I'd come try to fix the damage people started really smashing the sculptures. They put their cigarettes out in the sculptures, breaking beer bottles on them. Someone grabbed my glue gun and covered a whole wall in glue drawings. Mud got everywhere. Someone threw limes all over the bathroom. The lights were super too bright and it was really loud. I cut myself on broken terracotta and my favorite pants got covered in mud.
I know that the nopales are for eating. I know that Lo Siento means I'm sorry. The guy at the market meticulously cleaned all the spines off the nopales for me. Daniel cleaned up all the mud before I came back to uninstall.