Mexico’s drug wars, rendered in art

06/17/2016 The Economist

ciudad juarezIN REACTION to the destruction of a city, Picasso painted “Guernica”, depicting the bombing of the Spanish town in 1937. Though the painting was widely celebrated, Jean-Paul Sartre later expressed scepticism that it had ever “won over a single heart to the Spanish cause”. For Sartre the painting sidestepped political reality by turning “cruelty into abstract figures”. This same question, of art’s usefulness in the face of massive human suffering, provides the animating force behind an exhibition by the Belgian-born artist Francis Alÿs, at the David Zwirner Gallery in London, about life in the once prosperous U.S.-Mexico border town of Ciudad Juárez.

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