Rafa Esparza

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Rafa Esparza (born in 1981) is an American artist who lives in Los Angeles.[1] His work often takes the form of physically exhaustive performances and installations constructed out of adobe bricks. Esparza also frequently works with collaborators, including members of his family.[2][3] Esparza has exhibited in several public parks, nightclubs, sidewalks, galleries, and museums in Los Angeles and internationally.[4][5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Esparza was born in Los Angeles, California to Mexican parents.[7] [8][9] He attended East Los Angeles College, in his early twenties, followed by UCLA.[10] [11]

Work and Career[edit]

For his participation in the 2016 Made in LA Biennial at the Hammer Museum Esparza created "Tierra," a field of adobe bricks created from the dirt from Los Angeles. The artist's sculptures and objects were buried and unearthed in Elysian Park a historical site of displacement of early Latinx communities, Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bushop awhile creating the bricks were exhibited on the expanse of adobe bricks.[12][13][14]

Esparza performed in Dorian Wood's "O" video.[15] The two artist's have performed together several times including at the Sepulveda Wildlife Basin.[16][17]

In 2014 Esparza received an Art Matters grant and a California Community Fund Artist Fellowship.[18][19]

Esparza was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial.[20] For the exhibition he created "Figure Ground: Beyond the White Field"; a gallery made of adobe bricks inside the museum.[21] The adobe room, which was made with dirt from Los Angeles River, was used as an exhibition space by other LA-based Latino artists that Esparza invited to participate. [22]


  1. ^ "Artist Rafa Esparza is using 5,000 adobe bricks to make a building-inside-a-building in Hollywood". LA Times. 2015-07-23. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  2. ^ Solis, Nathan (2015-03-04). "Con/Safos: Rafa Esparza's Outdoor Art Space | Los Angeles | Artbound". KCET. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  3. ^ https://manpodcast.com/portfolio/no-247-rafa-esparza-william-pope-l/
  4. ^ http://www.laweekly.com/arts/performance-artist-rafa-esparza-is-fighting-invisibility-one-brick-at-a-time-8177561
  5. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/28/entertainment/la-et-cm-0129-mexicali-biennial-review-20130129
  6. ^ https://whitney.org/WatchAndListen/1491?series=51
  7. ^ "Sound file" (MP3). Archive.kchungradfio.org. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  8. ^ http://nativestrategiesla.com/3_Rituals%20and%20Congregations.pdf
  9. ^ http://nativestrategiesla.com/3_Rituals%20and%20Congregations.pdf
  10. ^ Steve Saldivar. "Boyle Heights Beat – Artist Rafael Esparza finds home for performance under Boyle Heights bridge [VIDEO]". Boyleheightsbeat.com. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  11. ^ "Native Strategies" (PDF). Nativestrategiesla.com. 2012. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  12. ^ http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-knight-hammer-biennial-review-20160622-snap-htmlstory.html
  13. ^ http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2016/06/09/49512/artist-rafa-esparza-moves-apprehension-and-earth-t/
  14. ^ http://www.brooklynrail.org/2016/07/criticspage/things-left-behind-black-screen-169
  15. ^ Dorian Wood, Queer Artist, Premieres 'O' (VIDEO), The Huffington Post.
  16. ^ https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/rafa-esparza-transforms-audiences-into-communities
  17. ^ http://lacarchive.com/item/performance-now-5
  18. ^ http://artforum.com/news/id=49491
  19. ^ http://my.calfund.org/artist-gallery/gallery/year-2014/rafael-esparza/
  20. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/arts/design/here-comes-the-whitney-biennial-reflecting-the-tumult-of-the-times.html
  21. ^ http://www.laweekly.com/arts/performance-artist-rafa-esparza-is-fighting-invisibility-one-brick-at-a-time-8177561
  22. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/t-magazine/art/contemporary-latino-art.html?mcubz=0

External links[edit]