Erin Currier


Acrylic and mixed media on panel, 60"h x 72"w, Item No. 19089,


Born of exiles and immigrants, dockworkers and sexworkers, sailors and laborers; in the late 19th century barrios of Buenos Aires; Tango is pure poetry in motion. It is a melancholy and passionate dance that expresses at once a longing for motherland and deep sensual desire. It is the embodiment of beauty, and, more often than not, the pathos, poverty, and personal tragedies of the tango dancer or musician only add richness to the aesthetic quality of the dance — and the poignancy of the song. Tango originated amongst the People. Although it was adopted and popularized by a rebellious young jet setting elite in the early 1900s who brought it to Paris & Berlin, & beyond- to glamorous clubs worldwide; Tango to this day belongs to the people— as any visit to working class barrios in Buenos Aires or Medellin, and seedy ports in Montevideo or Sicily will reveal. Often the best orchestras are adolescents in bluejeans; the best dancers are elderly couples in herringbone tweed. It is not something that can be bought or mimicked— anymore than that of the Poetry of the Beats, or the Ballads of the Troubadours, or Mexican Ex Voto paintings, or the Flamenco of Sevilla… It is ineffable way of life.

In Tango!, I wanted to express the above by portraying tango dancers in street clothes in an outdoor Buenos Aires courtyard. I am also highlighting the growing intent among instructors within the Tango community to teach their students to both Lead and Follow. This idea is especially empowering to female dancers— as they no longer need wait to be asked by a male to dance: as women, we are now able to invite, lead, and follow one another, and dance together. 

In the piece, I have layered ephemera from all over the world: actual class and milonga schedules from Argentina, Mexico, and the US, — including New Mexico’s own 8th Style Tango, Double Time Dance Studio, and Casa Gallina; boot repair receipts from Jacob’s Shoe Repair; Honey Mama chocolate wrappers; an empty bag of World Cup coffee from Taos; Sweet Mate sugar packets from Cambodia; Lucky Eight scratch cards; an empanada menu from Villa Crespo; Jovial Gluten Free Pasta boxes; and so much more!