In Mexico and the Southwestern United States, the carpa (Spanish for "tent") theater flourished during the 1920s and 30s. The carpas, groups of itinerant performers, moved their collapsible stages from town to town, setting up in the main square or the middle of a street and presenting a program that spoke directly to their mixed-class audience. The material presented in the carpas was highly satirical and frequently political in nature. The central character, the pelado, is the Mexican national clown. A penniless underdog, he brought the popular concerns and spirit ignored by official society into performance, improvising comic routines on such topics as the high cost of living, political scandals, and treacherous political leaders.
Hugo Crosthwaite's CARPAS installation will be presented at the forthcoming inaugural California-Pacific Triennial,curated by Dan Cameron, at the Orange County Museum of Art, June 30 - November 17, 2013. He created twenty six studies (sketches) in preparation for this exhibition that will be presented in the gallery Project Space.