Rigo 23 (also known as Rigo <year>, for example, Rigo 95; born Ricardo Gouveia, 1966) is a Portuguese muralist, painter, and political artist residing in San Francisco, California. He is known in the San Francisco community for having painted a number of large, graphic "sign" murals including: One Tree next to the U.S. Route 101 on-ramp at 10th and Bryant Street, Innercity Home on a large public housing structure, Sky/Ground on a tall abandoned building at 3rd and Mission Street, and Extinct over a Shell gas station.
Rigo was born and raised on the island of Madeira. He later established himself as an artist in San Francisco, earning a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 1991 and an MFA from Stanford University in 1997. From 1984-2002, Rigo used the last two digits of the current year as part of his name, finally settling upon "23" in 2003.
The bulk of Rigo's work more literally highlights world politics and political prisoners from the Black Panthers and the Angola Three to Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose conviction for the murder of a policeman is contested, and the American Indian Movement's Leonard Peltier. In 2005 he created Victory Salute, a twenty-two foot tall monument of two men: Tommie Smith and John Carlos. In the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City these men each raised a black-gloved fist for human rights. Their simple gesture of the hand is considered as one of the most controversial statements of political and social activism in Olympic history. Victory Salute is a monument of that moment which was specifically built on the San Jose State University campus because Smith and Carlos were both student- athletes at the college.
Rigo is one of the founding members of Clarion Alley Mural Project collective and is still an active member as of 2006 as well as an occasional professor at The San Francisco Art Institute. He has also designed several installations as part of the 2006 Liverpool Biennial. He is considered by some art critics and curators to be part of the first generation of the San Francisco Mission School art movement.
1991 Chauncey McKeever Award, San Francisco Art Institute
1994 WESTF/NEA Regional Fellowshipfor Visual Arts
1996 One Tree, Best Public Art Project of the Year, San Francisco Bay Guardian
1997 Stoli, San Francisco Arts Achievement Award Secession Gallery, Visual Art Residency Fellowship Award, Taiwan
1998 SECA Art Award, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
1999 Biennal Award, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, New York, NY
2006 Eureka Fellowship, Fleishhacker Foundation, CA
2007 Howard Fellowship, Brown University, Providence, RI;
Creative Work Fund, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, SF, CA with Luggage Store Gallery, SF
- Fleming, Siobhan. "Walls with Tongues: Muralist RIGO 02 Speaks".
- "Walls with Tongues: Muralist RIGO 02 Speaks" by Siobhan Fleming, Comet Magazine 3, 2002.
- Calendar item for 'Jam Sessions: Rigo 84–23', "Another World is Possible" (radio show) website, KPFK.com, January 23, 2006.
- "Clarion Alley Mural Project" by Megan Wilson, MeganWilson.com, 2006.
- "Rigo 23". Liverpool Biennnial 2006 artists directory.
- "The Mission school" by Glen Helfand, San Francisco Bay Guardian, October 28, 2002.
- Reader responses to "Marketing the Mission", Stretcher.org, January 17, 2005.
- "Rigo 23", is represented by Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco.
- "Rigo 90-something" by Timothy W Drescher, Shaping San Francisco Digital Library.
- "Hide and SECA" by Apollinaire Scherr, Metroactive, December 21, 1998. (Scroll down to section "This Space for 'Huh?'")
- "Underexposed Artists in the Spotlight", Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, February 28, 1999.
- "In Full Site - Rigo 99", Loud Paper 3(2), 1999.
- "New and Venerable Institutions: Rigo" by Hank Donat, MisterSF.com, 2002.
- "Rigo Artwork", Interesting Thing of the Day, October 25, 2004.
- "Rigo 23: New Work", San Francisco Bay Guardian, July 5, 2006.
- Works in the collection of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.