Championing the unseen in museums
SFX: guitar music
My name is Christo Oropeza and I’m born and raised in San Francisco and I am an artist, curator, gallery owner, family member here in San Francisco, and I’m also an employee at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I’m an Operations Technician. Before that, I was the Information Desk Clerk as well as before that, a Coat Checker. We’re directly in front of the mural that I just completed here in the Koret Center titled Whatever the Work May Be.
What we have is behind the scenes, often unseen objects used by people that work here, mostly in the Operations staff, Warehouse staff, as well as people that upkeep the building itself, like janitors, people that paint the white walls white. The intent is that these objects, when created larger than life, begin to take on their own characters and their own flair.
I arrived at the subject matter just naturally, because these are the objects that I particularly work with here in Operations staff as a Technician. But I started to try to zoom out on my mundane every day and sort of get a different perspective about what this is that I wish I could tell my parents about when I describe work or I wish I could show people how amazing some of these behind-the-scenes moments are.
I gave myself to this wall. I think I lasted about seventy-plus hours. It challenged me and it helped me grow and inform future work as well. I do feel seen because what I am showing up with is genuinely myself. I threw it down. I threw it down for the co-workers here at SFMOMA. I threw it down for Paul Clipson. I threw it down for people in the community that have always supported me.
I threw it out for San Francisco as somebody born and raised here. I threw it down for a time in the past and I’m throwing it down for in the future to.