Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo

Border Cantos | Sonic Border

Border Cantos | Sonic Border

This exhibition brings together the sights and the sounds of the Mexican-American border through a transformative and multi-sensory experience.

Photographer Richard Misrach and composer/artist Guillermo Galindo began collaborating in 2011, after both artists had created bodies of work inspired by the Mexican-American border region and its human impact. In today’s political climate, art surrounding this border is more relevant than ever, compelling us to put ourselves in the shoes of these migrants — to envision their journey.

Misrach’s large-scale photographs beautifully capture the various types of landscapes, textures, and experiences found across the almost 2,000-mile dividing line. But, by showing moments of disruption on the land, they also introduce a complicated look at policing the boundary. Galindo’s installation Sonic Borders is an original score for eight instruments, created out of discarded objects found and collected at the border. The composition embraces the pre-Columbian belief that there was an intimate connection between an instrument and the material from which it was made, with no separation between spiritual and physical worlds.

Based on the Mesoamerican “Venus calendar,” Sonic Borders plays for a total of 260 minutes and is separated into 13 cycles of 20 minutes. Within these cycles, the instruments play in small groups of two or more, or all together as an orchestra. When experienced as a whole, the images, instruments, and emanating sounds create an immersive space in which to look, listen, and learn about the complicated issues surrounding the Mexican-American border.

While the artists do not seek to provide solutions to these issues, they do provide insight into a place where most people have never ventured, creating a poignant connection that draws on our humanity.


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Space Requirements

Approx 3,000 sq ft

Loan Duration

5-6 months


    Artwork Gallery


    Partner Story

    Using evaluation to inform exhibition marketing and programming, and measure impact

    For The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, the Border Cantos exhibition was an opportunity to connect with and learn from individuals in the Greensburg, Pennsylvania community. Art Bridges funding enabled The Westmoreland to contract the Center for Audience Research & Evaluation at Crystal Bridges to conduct evaluation spanning from a front-end study in fall 2019 and summative evaluation during summer 2021. Across these two studies The Westmoreland gathered critical insights which guided exhibition interpretation, measured visitor impact, and informed future installations about social issues.

    Guillermo Galindo  Sonic Border

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