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Modern artists: José Miguel González Casanova

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José Miguel González Casanova is an interdisciplinary multi-media artist working in conceptual art and experimental pedagogy. González Casanova began drawing and attending art workshops in his adolescence; as the son of a filmmaker, his entire family exposed him to the arts at a young age.

He attended Guillermo Santamarina’s seminar on contemporary art theory alongside Eduardo Abaroa, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Rosario García Crespo, Ulises Garcia Ponce de Léon, Daniel Guzmán, Sofía Táboas, and Pablo Vargas-Lugo. After a residence in Spain in 1991, González Casanova taught at ENAP. His Taller de dibujo had a profound influence on his students, among whom were Abraham Cruzvillegas, Luis Felipe Ortega, Daniel Guzmán, and Gabriel Kuri. González Casanova transformed a required course, which at the time was taught as academic drawing, into an experimental forum for two-dimensional representation and discussion about art. Leading up to the opening of Temístocles 44, with students from his course, González Casanova participated in exhibitions including Juventud, divino tesoro, 1987 and In Situ (6 instalaciones) (1991).

He played founding role in Temístocles 44, and exhibited in the opening show, Temístocles 44-I (Decoración para el hogar) (1993), as well as Temístocles 44-II Seis instalaciones y una exposición individual de Daniel Guzmán (1993); Calma (1993); La Lengua (1994); and Terror en la montaña rusa, Sensurround (1994), which he organized with Eduardo Abaroa and Sofía Táboas. González Casanova’s work introduced what would be a continued interest in elements of parody, remake, and appropriation in the conceptual art exhibited at Temístocles 44. It was also indicative of the experimental forms of education espoused by Temístocles 44 artists, many of whom met for discussion and critique in González Casanova’s Taller de dibujo. González Casanova also contributed artwork to the publications Alegría (1992-1993) and Casper (1998-1999).

While closely involved in Temístocles 44 from the beginning, González Casanova became less involved in the space after a falling out with fellow members of the project. The conflict arose when the artists had the opportunity to either spend money on holding a juried show or using it to take a trip, and González Casanova dismissed both options as frivolous and elitist. After the closure of Temístocles 44, he did not participate in future collaborative projects in which other Temístocles 44 artists would participate. However, he did take part in the exhibition Ummagumma: especies de indeterminación (1995) and in the Art & Idea gallery. After Temístocles 44, González Casanova began to focus again on teaching and working on community-centered projects.

Making use of public spaces such as markets and open access platforms on the web, his projects include Jardín de Academus, a laboratory for art education, Banco Intersubjetivo de Deseos (Intersubjective Wish Bank) a project of documenting desire for the future, and C.A.C.A.O. (Cooperativa Autónoma de Comercio Artístico de Obras, Autonomous Cooperative of Artwork Trade).

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