CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents Mexican artist Rodrigo Hernández’s first U.S. solo exhibition

Rodrigo Hernández, with what eyes #9, 2023.

Rodrigo Hernández, with what eyes #9, 2023.

with what eyes? will be on view December 14, 2023 through February 24, 2024

San Francisco, CA—November 20, 2023—California College of the Arts (CCA) and CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts proudly presents Rodrigo Hernández: with what eyes?, a new solo exhibition running from December 14, 2023 to February 24, 2024 by the acclaimed Mexican artist Rodrigo Hernández. This will be his first solo exhibition in the United States.

The exhibition begins with a simple question posed by the Mexican philosopher David M. Peña-Guzmán: Are humans the only dreamers on Earth? In following this query, Hernández presents a new body of work that weaves together artistic, philosophical, and scientific perspectives. The pieces reflect on the cognitive and emotional experiences of nonhuman animals, shedding light on our own relationship to the natural world.

His practice does not seek to clarify, but to muddy the lines of categorization: painting becomes sculpture, fact and fiction are intertwined, and sensible questions lead to nonsensical answers that lead to nonsensically sensible questions. With curiosity, his process draws inspiration from diverse sources like literary fiction, Mexican pre-Columbian imagery, European and Latin American Modernism, the natural sciences, and lived experiences.

Hernández is a lucid artist that dreams through materials. His studio practice involves a wide range of mediums and techniques, from papier-mâché sculpture, brass metal reliefs and large-scale murals, to intimate paintings and drawings. Hernández’s artworks come alive through complex installations, where he challenges traditional history and narratives have the potential to shift, overlap, and expand.

Rodrigo Hernández: with what eyes? is curated by Diego Villalobos. The exhibition is made possible thanks to the generous support from the Laurenz-Haus Foundation, Basel, and Collection Silvia Fiorucci, Monaco; additional thanks to Galeria Madragoa, Lisbon, and special thanks to the Wattis Leadership Circle.

About Rodrigo Hernández

Rodrigo Hernández (b. Mexico City, 1983) lives and works in Mexico City. He studied at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Masstricht (2014), and received a BA from the Staaliche Akademie der Bilden Künste in Karlsruhe (2013). Hernández has had solo and group exhibitions at Museo Jumex, Mexico City; Swiss Institute, New York; SCAD Museum of Art, Georgia; Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City; Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis; SALTS, Basel; Heidelberger Kunstverein; Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, Sala de Arte Santander, Madrid; Pinchuk Art Center, Kyiv; Kunst Raum, Riehen; ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe; 5th Moscow Biennale; Kunsthalle Basel; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; and Kunsthaus Baselland.

About CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts

Founded in 1998 at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and located a few blocks from its campus, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is a nonprofit exhibition venue and research institute dedicated to contemporary art and ideas. As an exhibition space, it commissions and shows new work by emerging and established artists from around the world. Recent solo exhibitions include Ana Jotta: Never the Less; Caitlin Cherry: The Regolith Was Boiling; Drum Listens to Heart; Hervé Guibert: This and More; Josh Faught: Look Across the Water Into the Darkness, Look for the Fog; Mirra Helen: Leaves 1992 2022; Maia Cruz Palileo: Long Kwento; Raven Chacon: Radio Coyote; Jeffrey Gibson: Nothing is Eternal; Lydia Ourahmane: شمسیة صرخة Solar Cry; Cinthia Marcelle: A morta; Vincent Fecteau; Abbas Akhavan: cast for a folly; Akosua Adoma Owusu: Welcome to the Jungle (which traveled to the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans); Diamond Stingily: Doing the Best I Can; Rosha Yaghmai: Miraclegrow; Adam Linder: Full Service (which traveled to Mudam Luxembourg); Ken Lum: What’s Old is Old for a Dog; Henrik Olesen: The Walk.

As a research institute, the Wattis dedicates an entire year to reflect on the work of a single artist, which informs a regular series of public programs and publications involving the field’s most prominent artists and thinkers. The 2023–2024 season is dedicated to artist Anicka Yi; past seasons featured Lorraine O’Grady, Cecilia Vicuña, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Dodie Bellamy, Joan Jonas, Andrea Fraser, David Hammons, Seth Price.

The Wattis also hosts an annual Capp Street Artist-in-Residence, one of the earliest and longest-running artist-in-residence programs in the country, founded in 1983 by Ann Hatch as Capp Street Project, and incorporated into the Wattis Institute in 1998. Each year, an artist comes to live and work in San Francisco for a semester, teaches a graduate seminar at CCA, and presents an exhibition. Recent participants include Helen Mirra (2021-2022), Raven Chacon (2023-2021), Hồng-Ân Trương (2019-2020), Abbas Akhavan (2018–2019), contemptorary (2017–2018), Melanie Gilligan (2016–2017), Carissa Rodriguez (2015–2016), Nairy Baghramian (2014–2015), Claire Fontaine (2013–2014). For more information, visit

About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and critical study of art, architecture, design, and writing. Benefitting from its San Francisco Bay Area location, the college prepares students for lifelong creative work by cultivating innovation, community engagement, and social and environmental responsibility.

CCA offers a rich curriculum of 22 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs in art, design, architecture, and writing taught by a faculty of expert practitioners. Attracting promising students from across the nation and around the world, CCA is among the 25 most diverse colleges in the U.S. Last year, U.S. News & World Report ranked CCA as one of the top 10 graduate schools for fine arts in the country.

Graduates are highly sought after by companies such as Pixar/Disney, Apple, Intel, Meta, Gensler, Google, IDEO, Autodesk, Mattel, and Nike, and many have launched their own successful businesses. Alumni and faculty are often recognized with the highest honors in their fields, including Academy Awards, AIGA Medals, Fulbright Scholarships, Guggenheim Fellowships, MacArthur Fellowships, National Medal of Arts, and the Rome Prize, among others.

CCA is creating a new, expanded college campus at its current site in San Francisco, spearheaded by the architectural firm Studio Gang. The new campus design will be a model of sustainable construction and practice; will unite the college’s programs in art, crafts, design, architecture, and writing in one location to create new adjacencies and interactions; and will provide more student housing than ever before.

Calendar editors, please note:
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents
Rodrigo Hernández: with what eyes?
December 14, 2023 – February 24, 2024
Location: 360 Kansas Street (between 16th and 17th streets), San Francisco
Gallery hours: Wednesday–Saturday, noon–6 pm; closed Sunday to Tuesday
Admission: Free

Information: or 415-355-9670
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Media contact

Donna Zeng

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