The exhibition title references the original Tijuana bibles which were small, cheaply made pornographic books showing popular cartoon characters such as Popeye and Mickey Mouse having sex. They were produced and sold in the USA and were called Tijuana bibles, although they were not created in Mexico or Tijuana. They were an entirely American invention and were given this moniker to evoke the exotic notion of having come from the lawless border city of Tijuana (the city where Crosthwaite was born and raised).
“For my project I wanted to play with the notion of the Tijuana bible by creating my own book of hand drawn images as a kind of Sacred/Profane book. The narratives deal with issues of the border, immigration, narco culture, and idiosyncrasies of the city of Tijuana, playing with old stereotypes of how Americans see Mexico and Mexicans, especially with the current rhetoric from political figures…” (Crosthwaite)
This exhibition will consist of two of Crosthwaite’s “Tijuana Bible” videos together with their respective books of original drawings, as well as new large to mid-size drawings on paper from his “Chingollywood” series. The installation will comprise a screening room housing projections of the “Tijuana Bible” videos with its exterior walls covered with murals that Crosthwaite will paint on site, and vitrines holding the original books of ink and wash drawings.
The videos show a stop-motion animation of the creation of Crosthwaite’s “Tijuana Bibles,” where the images begin appearing mysteriously on the page “as if they were drawn by God, the common notion of a sacred book.” Crosthwaite’s hand appears only when he turns the page.