Miguel Calderón explores themes that range from falconry to violence and corruption in Mexico, from youth and family dynamics, to the supernatural. Although his work covers a broad range, it is unified by an ever-present sense of theatricality, the macabre, and a touch of the fantastical. He creates works from a mashup of vernacular references, employing a variety of medium, including video, photography, sculpture and painting. His pieces often combine a dark sense of humor with a certain playfulness and Pop culture references, such as music videos, tabloids, and rock music. These influences are absorbed and reconfigured into works that explore deep social and personal territories. For Calderón, it is important that art be accessible; he came of age as an artist in Mexico during the 1990s, when he was a key figure in the development of a young alternative art scene in Mexico, associated with the non-commercial art space he co-founded called La Panadería. In his practice he considers the divide between the rarified world of “high art” and the day-to-day, deftly weaving together a combination of mockery, foolishness, social critique and sincerity of emotion to create an image that resonates on many levels.
Calderón received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1994. He has been the recipient of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation Grant & Commissions program (2013), The MacArthur Fellowship for Film and New Media (2000), and the Bancomer/Rockefeller Fellowship (1995).
His most important solo exhibitions include: Miguel Calderón: Color Bleed, Rochester Art Center, Rochester, New York (2012); Miguel Calderón, solo project, Casa América, Madrid, Spain (2010); Conversations with a Tropical Vulture, with George Kuchar, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2010); Bestseller, Panorámica, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2009); Ridiculum Vitae, La Panadería, Mexico City, Mexico (1998). Additionally, he has participated in group shows at the following institutions: Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico (2014); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California (2014); The Foundation Cartier, Paris, France (2013); Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo (MUAC), Mexico City, Mexico (2011); The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California (2011); Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico (2010); Museum Moderner Kunst (MUMOK), Vienna, Austria (2009); National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, United States (2007), PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, United States (2002), among others.
Calderón has participated in various biennials, including: 7th Internationale Photo-Triennial, Esslingen, Germany (2007); Bussan Biennale, Bussan, Korea (2006); Sharja Biennial 7, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2005), Yokohama Triennale of Contemporary Art, Yokohama, Japan (2005); ARCO, Madrid, Spain (1998).
Calderón currently lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico.