On first encountering Guadalupe Rosales’s Untitled (all works 2018), a wall-based sculpture of a pager dangling from a string of pastel plastic raver beads, I felt the strange urge to look up the artist’s birth year. Here’s what I found: Rosales was born in 1980, two years before I was. While an artist’s age is often of trivial concern, it’s important here: As rough contemporaries, we have both seen telecommunications technologies shape and reshape our lived worlds, especially the experience of being a teenager in the 1990s. When we were in elementary school—she in Los Angeles, I in Austin—the only people who regularly used pagers seemed to be doctors, or maybe principals and drug dealers. But by middle school and high school, pagers were de rigueur (I remember arguing with my parents for one—they prevailed). Untitled struck me, then, as an earnest object. No post-internet irony here. Rosales takes a different, more rigorous tack with this installation, investing in the lush lifeways associated with objects such as pagers, party flyers, and glossy photographs. In short, she took me back—as much as she could take a white Jewish kid from Texas back to the Latinx communities of Los Angeles.
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