La Casa Del Tunel Tijuana opens another excellent show

“The Candy Store” (La dulcería): Dispensing Truth


October 13, 2009

An installation created by Artist/Collaborators, Debby and Larry Kline

For La Casa Del Túnel: Art Center, a new cultural center in Tijuana that formerly housed a smuggling tunnel.

Exhibition opening on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 7PM (PST)

Refreshments and music at “la terraza cafeEcoverde”

Round table Discussion Saturday, November 7,  4:00 PM. (The discussion will include the artists, a pharmacist, a physician and an advocate for medical marijuana)

Smuggling or snuggling?   Anything goes in “The Candy Store” (La dulcería):, an installation that simultaneously attracts and repels viewers, exposes the inherent conflicts in the international healthcare industry, and the legalities and illegalities in the world of pharmaceuticals    The Candy Store is a retail space that houses “inconsumable products” made out of controlled substances (e.g. tobacco Teddy bears and Vioxx ceramic candies) adding meaningful visual spectacle and humor to the dialogue surrounding healthcare issues and bridging boundaries between art, science, sociology and activism.    It continues what Warhol began by blurring the lines between art and commodity and builds on the notion of Claes Oldenburg’s store (1961) with the addition of a socially conscious message that can effect political change.

The pharmaceutical/health care industry system in America is dysfunctional.  While large segments of the population go without access, the privileged are over-medicated, sometimes relying on pharmaceuticals as treatment for conditions once held as normal variations in personality and temperament.  Those without medical access must seek alternative methods, crossing the borders of Mexico or Canada in search of affordable drugs.  Many on fixed incomes must choose between life-saving medications or food, shelter and clothing.

Americans are led to believe that pharmaceuticals in the US are superior to those made in neighboring countries.  The unfortunate truth is that the US has removed many medicines from the market that were supposedly tested for safety and efficacy.

“The Candy Store” (La dulcería): addresses this trend toward self-medication by allowing consumers to purchase inconsumable objects (talismans or placebos) made of their medications of choice.   As viewers become participants, each draws on their own experiences in the quest to remain healthy and productive.  Viewers will also identify with the quick fix society, the irony of talismans made of ceramic and medicine, placebos as metaphors and tobacco toys designed to entice young patrons.  Many of the medicinal ingredients are based on the artists’ own experiences.  Larry was prescribed two medications which were released for consumption and later found to be unsafe and sadly, Debby’s brother died from abusing prescribed drugs that were easily available and purchased through the internet.  The addiction occurred as a result of his back surgery and pain medicine that was initially ordered for him by his physician. Unfortunately, these family tragedies are reflective of larger societal ills.  Consider school children medicated to conform to acceptable standards who will likely find it difficult to cope without drugs/medication later in life.

The venue at La Casa Del Túnel: Art Center is an apropos location considering the hordes of US citizens who cross the border to save money on less expensive prescription medications.  The added facet of a drug-smuggling tunnel transformed into a cultural venue transformed into a drug store makes the project even more significant, meaningful, timely and edgy.

Saturday, November 7,  4:00 PM. A roundtable discussion will address the questions raised by the exhibition.  The discussion will include the artists, a pharmacist, a physician and an advocate for medical marijuana.  The discussion is free and open to all members of the bi-national community.

Contact: Artists, Debby and Larry Kline



Contact: La Casa Del Túnel: Art Center, Luis Ituarte in Tijuana 664 682-9596/231-9686 en los EE.UU. 323 574 9197



About Kinsee Morlan

Arts and web editor at San Diego CityBeat. Interested in art and the Tijuana/San Diego border.
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