The exhibition Mario Ybarra Jr.: The Tío Collection is a museological tribute to the artist's family (tío means uncle in Spanish) featuring objects and artifacts collected by Ybarra Jr.'s five paternal uncles, one maternal uncle, and several uncles-in-law. Considering institutional critique projects by Fred Wilson or the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Los Angeles, CA, and inspired by a recent trip to the archaeological Moesgård Museum in Højbjerg, Denmark, Ybarra Jr. deconstructs the traditional display of art and artifacts in museums and posits a space for the Chicano experience within the framework of California and US history. Using his uncles as a lens, Ybarra Jr. explores the ways his family shaped his style and outlook. The works displayed also sheds light on our innate desire to collect, create, and aestheticize the world around us.
Mario Ybarra Jr. received a MFA from University of California, Irvine and a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA. Ybarra has exhibited internationally in major museums and galleries from California to Cairo, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Tate Modern, London, England; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; and many more. In 2002, Ybarra and his wife Karla Diaz co-founded the artist-collective Slanguage, where Diaz now oversees exhibitions and programming.