April 22–June 4, 2017

Club Americano

Pablo Helguera cordially invites you to “Club Americano”

In this intimate one-room exhibition and shared space, New York–based artist and educator Pablo Helguera (born 1971, Mexico City) explores the historic formation and contemporary definitions of American identity. Here, the term “American” is understood in the Pan-American sense: its Spanish translation, americano, can refer to anyone or anything from North or South America. Helguera takes aesthetic inspiration from 19th-century university clubs and gentlemen’s lounges—exclusive gathering spaces for elite groups of one gender and race—but breaks with tradition by welcoming people of all backgrounds.

At the center of the gallery is a 19th-century dining table, surrounded by paintings, photographs, prints, textiles, and decorative arts from the Museum’s world-renowned collection of art from the Americas. Selected by Helguera in collaboration with MFA curators, these artworks serve as the subject of three performances that examine their histories through a present-day lens. We welcome you to gather, lounge, read, experience the performances and participate in additional community-organized events held over the course of this exhibition.

Performance Series

What Is a Club?
Friday, April 21, 6:30 pm

Worldly and Otherworldly Perspectives
Friday, May 19, 6:30 pm

Inventing América
Friday, June 2, 6:30 pm

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, socially engaged art and performance. His most renowned projects include “The School of Panamerican Unrest” (2003–2006), a nomadic think tank that traveled from Alaska to Patagonia making 40 stops in between, and “Librería Donceles” (2013–2017) an itinerant Spanish-language secondhand bookstore addressing the lack of outlets that serve Latino communities. Drawing from his experience as educator, his artistic projects often incorporate pedagogical devices such as the classroom setting and lecture format. Since 1991 he has worked in a variety of contemporary art museums and currently serves as director of Adult and Academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2008 he was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and also was the recipient of a 2005 Creative Capital Grant. Helguera is the author of Education for Socially Engaged Art (2011) and The Pablo Helguera Manual of Contemporary Art Style (2007), among numerous other publications, and is the maker of Artoons, a series of cartoons poking fun of the art world.

Community Events in “Club Americano”

All events begin at 6:30

May 17 Sociedad Latina: Open Mic
May 24 Intelligent Mischief’s “Lime”: The Fine Arts Edition
May 31 Beyond Conflict’s New American Identities: Experiences of Subjective Belonging
Jun 1 UMass Boston Tertulia at the MFA: Translating Immigrant Experiences

  • Bernard and Barbara Stern Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 231)


Performance Art at the MFA is supported by Lorraine Bressler.