Rigo 23
Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves, Brazil


Rigo 23

Rigo 23 was born in 1966 in Madeira, Portugal; he lives and works in San Francisco and Portugal.

Rigo 23 (his nom de plume) moved to San Francisco to attend the San Francisco Art Institute, where he received his B.F.A. in 1991. In 1997, he received an M.F.A. from Stanford University. Associated with the vibrant San Francisco mural movement of the 1990s, Rigo is well known in the Bay Area for his eye-catching word murals painted in the highly graphic style of traffic symbols. In One Tree (1996), he placed the words within an oversized traffic arrow on the side of a building adjacent to a freeway entrance. The arrow points to a lone, frail-looking tree struggling to survive in a congested industrial setting, a reminder to the thousands who pass it every day of what is lost in the process of urbanization. Rigo is committed to working in the public sphere; he believes that by reaching the widest possible audience, art can send a powerful message. Issues Rigo has explored in his work range from the concern for the international worker in the new global economy to the incarceration of political prisoners to the treatment of Native Americans in the United States. An artist-in-residence in such disparate locations as Gotheborg, Sweden, and Taipei, Taiwan, Rigo has typically engaged local communities in his projects, a practice he will employ to great advantage with Human/Nature. The winner of many awards, including the 1999 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA Award, Rigo has shown internationally for the past decade at such venues as Artists’ Space and Deitch Projects in New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, Chile; Gallery 54 in Gotheborg, Sweden; and BAM/PFA in Berkeley, where he was featured in the museum’s acclaimed MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art.

“Maybe a small environmental organization, some art museums, and a bunch of artists can actually contribute to a much-needed dialogue on sustainability and thus make a difference in the long run—by impacting thousands of museum-goers in the U.S. and further alerting local authorities at the sites to the great interest the world has in the treasures they are safeguarding.”

—Rigo 23, on the Human/Nature project

Related Links

Rigo 23 Interview

Produced by Lidia Rossner and Alexander Rossner, http://dmovies.net/.