John Burstein

John Burstein is founder-director of the Galería MUY, an independent arts space in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, devoted to the promotion of contemporary art of the Maya and Zoque peoples of Chiapas. Having studied semiotics and cultural anthropology at Harvard College in the 1970s, and social development and international relations at Columbia University in the 1980s, Burstein affiliated with and founded several civil society organizations in Chiapas and Mexico City devoted to  issues of Indigenous collective rights, sustainable development in Indigenous communities, and binational Mayan migrations. Burstein specialized in native literatures (working in Tsotsil-Maya) early in his career and since 2014 his has been an activist curatorial practice in the visual arts, exploring areas such as art and politics and art and Indigenous epistemologies.  

Galería MUY is a cultural project in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, dedicated to the production and promotion of the contemporary art of the Maya and Zoque people. Our exhibition space allows us to share with the public both temporary shows as well as a selection from the permanent collection, featuring 20 emerging and established artists working in media including painting, sculpture, photography and video, installation and performance. Creators collaborate in monthly meetings with other Maya- and Zoque-speaking intellectuals and other attendees, in which they reflect on the changes associated with globalization, decoloniality, gender relations and the resistance and spirituality of native people. The Galería has the objective of bringing in audiences from the communities of Chiapas through exhibitions, film showings and social media. The MUY also values dialog between indigenous artists and the global contemporary art world. Galería MUY was awarded the Hennessey Prize for “best project” at the Material Art Fair in Mexico City in February of 2020.

A book on Maya and Zoque art

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Email: (John Burstein, Director)