Medium: Fiberglass with urethane finish
Dimensions: 127 x 34 x 54 in. (322.6 x 86.4 x 137.2 cm)
Credit Line: Purchased by the College of Consumer and Family Sciences. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Iowa State University, MacKay Hall, South courtyard
Border Crossing, a totem-like sculpture, is one of Luis Jiménez's signature works of art. The sculpture is of a man crossing the border carrying a woman on his shoulders. The woman holds an infant in her arms, sheltering the child from the elements. The sculpture commemorates the hundreds of thousands of Mexicans who have travelled across the southwestern border from Mexico into the United States in search of a better life. The sculpture is a celebration of the immigrant and is dedicated to Jiménez's father.
The style of Border Crossing is typical of Jiménez's other works of art with larger-than-life figures. These figures are depicted in motion to give the feeling of movement towards a goal and a will to survive. At the same time the figures appear fixed in time, exposed and in peril. The sculpture is made of fiberglass, a medium which Jiménez prefered over glass, metal or wood sculpture. Crafting in fiberglass allows the illusion of a flawless finish and gives a look of mass production. The color is a jet aircraft acrylic urethane which is applied to the fiberglass. Once the sculpture is finished, an extraordinarily tactile surface is left, which is a hallmark of Jiménez's style.
Luis Jiménez was born in El Paso, Texas in 1940. After high school he attended the University of Texas and Cuidad Universritaria, Mexico City. Upon completion of his studies he moved to New York City in 1966 where he assisted Seymour Lipton, an accomplished artist whose artwork can also be seen at Iowa State). Jiménez is known for his large polychrome fiberglass sculptures of Southwestern and Hispanic themes that capture the everyday person as a hero. Fiberglass is a medium which Jiménez preferred and crafting in fiberglass allowed the illusion of a flawless finish. As an artist, Jiménez was fascinated with popular culture, relating his art to everyday experiences. The art he produces is very personal and he has established himself as a role model for people both inside and outside of the Latino community. Jiménez was named a Goodwill Ambassador by the City of Houston and was awarded the Governor's Award in New Mexico in 1993. In 1998, Jiménez became a Distinguished Alumni of the University of Texas for his influential art. He died in June 2006 at his studio in Hondo, New Mexico.