Oral history interview with Franco Mondini-Ruiz, 2004 July 7-8
Mondini-Ruiz, Franco, 1961-
Herzberg, Julia P.
Judd, Donald C. (Donald Clarence)
Recuerdos Orales: Interviews of the Latino Art Community in Texas
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 93 p.
Originally recorded on 5 sound discs. Reformated in 2010 as 9 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hrs., 12 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Franco Mondini-Ruiz conducted 2004 July 7-8, by Cary Cordova, for the Archives of American Art, in Alameda and San Antonio, Tex.
Mondini speaks of his parents' disparate backgrounds; his repressed childhood in Boerne, Tex.; his family's electronics store; discovering that his brother was actually his half-brother; attending undergrad and law school at St. Mary's in San Antonio, Tex.; his Catholic rearing; raising his Latino consciousness during and after law school; his life as a successful lawyer; his ingratiation into both rich white and Latino cultures; his partying and coming-out as a gay man; his making of art as a counterpoint to his office work; advice for young Latino artists; the importance of cheap art; exoticizing of Mexican culture by Anglos; quitting law and his experience living in Mexico City; and being diagnosed with HIV. Mondini-Ruiz also speaks of opening his Infinito Botanica and how he operated it; American drug culture; San Antonio's cityscape and his "utopic" hope for it; his "Blue Star on Houston" exhibition; drug use; his show at Bard College as his big break; living with Alejandro Diaz; homosexual and Mexican rococo aesthetics; his exhibit at the 2000 Whitney Biennial and moving to New York City; the importance of found art; the universality of class and race struggles; the problems with over-materialization of artwork; his "Ballroom" show in Marfa, Tex. and the issues confronting that city's arts patronage; his making of the "Spurs Installation"; his new anti-materialistic mindset; and the patterns within his career. Mondini-Ruiz also recalls Michael Tracy, Ito Romo, Rolando Briseno, Sandra Cisneros, Jesse Amado, Donald Judd, Frederieke Taylor, Julia Herzberg, Danny Lozano, Maaretta Jaukkuri, Tracey Moffat, Mike Casey, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Franco Mondini-Ruiz, 2004 July 7-8. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
This interview is part of the series "Recuerdos Orales: Interviews of the Latino Art Community in Texas," supported by Federal funds for Latino programming, administered by the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives. The digital preservation of this interview received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.
Franco Mondini-Ruiz (1961- ) is an artist in New York. Legal name is Gino Francisco Mondini. Interviewer Cary Cordova (1970-) is an art historian from Austin, Tex.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001