Frye Art Museum

"For a fully transformative experience, you have to see Dario Robleto's jaw-dropping exhibition at the Frye Art Museum. And you do have to see this show, now."

Tim Appelo, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Dario Robleto: Alloy of Love

May 17 – September 1, 2008

Alloy of Love, by San Antonio artist Dario Robleto, chronicles a decade of work and includes pivotal examples of the artist’s sculptures and collages. Robleto is well known for intricately hand-crafted objects that reflect the artist’s passionate investigations into a wide range of subjects, including music, popular culture, science, philosophy, war, and American history. The artist spins new narratives out of the vast inventory of our past, utilizing such diverse and unusual materials as melted and pulverized vinyl records, artifacts gleaned from battlefields or related to war, rare herbs and minerals, and even prehistoric fossils and human bones. Inspired by DJ culture’s practice of mixing and sampling, Robleto combines and refashions his materials into poetic artworks that reveal much about history and nostalgia.

Along the way, the artist pays homage to many important figures (such as singers Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin and the Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts) as well as anonymous individuals, including soldiers and widows, who have contributed to the legacy of our nation, and whose stories, resurrected through art, reinforce the relevance of the past on the present and to our future. The resulting artworks are much more than just the sum of their constituent parts or factual interpretations of particular events and personalities; rather, they are sincere and emotional meditations on love, loss, spirituality, and ultimately, healing.

Born in 1972, Robleto received his BFA in 1997 from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Solo exhibitions include those at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina; the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria; and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. His artwork has been collected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.

Alloy of Love is curated by Elizabeth Dunbar, Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin, Tex., and organized by the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in collaboration with the Frye Art Museum. It is coordinated for the Frye by Robin Held, chief curator and director of exhibitions and collections.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 256-page catalogue copublished by the Tang and the Frye in association with University of Washington Press. Visit the Publications page for more information.

Image credits:
Dario Robleto. Dario’s Shredded Love Letters, 1997. Pill bottle, pill capsules, shredded love letters from 7th through 9th grade years, homemade labels with text front and back. 4 1/2 x 2 x 1 1/2 in. Collection of Gregory Higgins, Dallas, Texas.
Dario Robleto. Untitled, 1998-99. Vinyl record, iron pyrite (fool’s gold), glue. Patsy Cline’s “I Fall To Pieces” 45 rpm vinyl record was slowly sliced along outer rim until reaching center then connected into one long thread and spooled. 1 1/2 x 1 in. Collections of Peter Norton and Eileen Harris Norton, Santa Monica, California.
Dario Robleto. The Diva Surgery, 2000-2001. Various antique laboratory glassware (beakers, rods, test tubes, bottles, funnels, mortars and pestles, pipettes), magnifying glass, lab burner, glass breast pump, glass syringe, antique milk glass, antique powder box, vintage surgical equipment, tracheal extractor, scalpels, tweezers, scissors, glass beads, porcelain mortars and funnels, 45 rpm records, ground, spliced, and melted vinyl records of various Diva vocals, audiotape, dissolved magnetic audio tape, various laboratory chemicals, sulfur, carbon, amino acids, crushed cubic zirconium, homemade crystals (monoammonium phosphate, water, dye), Novocain, sugar, honey, ocean water, oil, hummingbird and butterfly nectar, beeswax, polyester resin, mirrors, lights, wood, Plexiglas, typeset, vinyl lettering, paint. 80 x 60 x 48 in. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Museum Purchase, International and Contemporary Collectors Funds.
Dario Robleto. A Century Of November, 2005. Child’s mourning dress made with homemade paper (pulp made from sweetheart letters written by soldiers who did not return from various wars, ink retrieved from letters, sepia, bone dust from every bone in the body), carved bone buttons, hair flowers braided by a Civil War widow, mourning dress fabric and lace, silk, velvet, ribbon, WWII surgical suture thread, mahogany, glass. 38 x 38 inches. Collection of Nancy and Stanley Singer.
Dario Robleto. Daughters Of Wounds And Relics (detail), 2006. Hair braid made of stretched and curled audio tape recordings of the last known Union Civil War soldier’s voice and the last known Confederate Civil War widow’s voice, homemade paper (pulp made from sweetheart letters written by soldiers who did not return from various wars, sepia, bone dust from every bone in the body), lace and fabric from mourning dresses, hair flower braided by a Civil War widow, colored paper, silk, milk paint, ink stained ash, glass, typeset. 30 x 19 x 3 1?4 in. Collection of Jeannie and Mickey Klein, Austin, Texas. Promised gift to the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin.