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Cristóbal Gracia: 'A Money Laundering Pond, Which Is Also A Painting...'

  • WHEN Ongoing from now until August 14, 2021[days & times]
  • WHERE Best Practice, 1955 Julian Ave., San Diego, CA 92113
    Map | Website
  • AGES Not available
  • COST Free

From '5 Works Of Art To See In San Diego In July':
We really should get this out of the way first: This installation is made from hot sauce. In fact, it's an actual pond of hot sauce. Valentina hot sauce, to be specific.

Mexico City-based artist Cristóbal Gracia will build a wishing well on-site at Best Practice, newly moved into the Bread and Salt complex. It's a variation of a work previously installed in Mexico City. The work uses whitened stones and gravel to build the landscape that contains the pond, then Valentina sauce. An air pump circulates and bubbles it like a real fountain. Yes, you're supposed to toss your coins in.

Some superstitions say that a coin must land face-up for a wish to come true, but in a pond of thick, opaque sauce, a wisher will never know how the coin lands. It's also inspired by the cleaning of statues with hot sauce, seen by the artist in a news story in 2013 — specifically how the hot sauce dripped off the statue like blood. The acids in hot sauce, though, eat away at tarnish and other dirt on statues, as well as your coins. Hence, "money laundering."

I asked gallery cofounder Joe Yorty about the, uh, olfactory reality of a gallery filled with hot sauce. "Intense" was a word he used.
--Julia Dixon Evans, KPBS

From the gallery:
Cristóbal Gracia | 'A Money Laundering Pond, Which Is Also A Painting, But It Is Not A Painting Of A Pond'
July 10 – August 14, 2021

Opening Reception On Saturday, July 10th 5 - 8 p.m.

BEST PRACTICE is pleased to announce the opening of A money laundering pond, which is also a painting, but it is not a painting of a pond, a participatory installation by Mexico City-based artist Cristóbal Gracia. For this exhibition, the artist will build a large wishing pond in the gallery filled with Valentina hot sauce. Gallery visitors will be invited to make their own wishes by tossing coins into the pond.

About the artist:
Cristóbal Gracia is an artist who lives and works between Mexico City and New Haven, Connecticut. Through his studio practice, Gracia reshapes historical milestones and social and cultural phenomena through the investigation, connection and reconstruction of official chronicles, microhistories and urban myths. Using tools such as humor, fiction, violence, desire and failure, his work challenges the ideological and power systems, which govern and have constructed the conception of the western contemporary civilization.

Gracia holds a BFA from the E.N.P.E.G Esmeralda and attended the Programa Educativo SOMA, both in Mexico City. He has been awarded several grants by a number of institutions including Fulbright, Fundación Jumex, BBVA-MACG Arte Actual, and Jóvenes Creadores FONCA in the field of alternative media. Gracia spent over 10 years as a member of Biquini Wax EPS, an artist run space and platform for production, discussion, and exhibition of art located in Mexico City. His work has been shown in Mexico, the United States, England, Italy, Germany, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, India, the Philippines, and New Zealand, in venues such as Museo Universitario del Chopo, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Museo Tamayo, Casa del Lago, Human Resources, The BOX gallery L.A, the Biennial of the Americas, Palais de Tokyo, Blain/Southern, the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, La Ene, the M100 Matucana and in Clark House Initiative among many others. He has been a resident artist at Bikini Art Residency, Lago di Como, Viafarini, Milan, Biennial of the Americas, Denver, CO, Galveston Artist Residency, Galveston, TX, Grand Union, Birmingham, AL, Casa Wabi, Puerto Escondido, Casa Nano, Tokyo, The Art House, Wakefield and Lugar Común, Monterrey. Gracia's work is included in public and private collections such as ASU Art Museum, Colección Fundación Alumnos 47, Murderme Collection, and Guadalupe Phillips Collection.

His work has been published in CULTURED, Artforum, Código, Caín, Art Review, Excelsior, Frente, Westword, Denver Post, Palais Magazine, Terremoto, Utopía, Letras Libres, Gas TV, La Tempestad among others.

Gracia is currently enrolled in the Sculpture MFA program at Yale School of Art.

For more on Cristobal’s work please visit

This exhibition is made possible by a loan from Fundación M in Mexico City.

Dates and times of events are subject to change without notice. Always check the event organizer's website for the most updated schedule before attending. Check local COVID-19 restrictions and updates.

Promotional photo of Cristóbal Gracia's installation, cou...

Above: Promotional photo of Cristóbal Gracia's installation, courtesy of Best Practice


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