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U.S. Department of Illegal Superheroes (ICE DISH) San Francisco Field Office || Artist In Residency: Neil Rivas (Clavo)

A REGEN-funded program

Saturday, November 16, 2013 - Saturday, February 22, 2014

Galería de la Raza is proud to present the Grand Opening for the U.S. Department of Illegal Superheroes (ICE DISH) San Francisco Field Office inside the main gallery at 2857 24th Street in San Francisco. Created by Neil Rivas (Clavo), the facility at Galería is the regional headquarters for ICE DISH, a law enforcement agency that was first introduced to the public through a series of posters called Illegal Superheroes. The posters (as covered by the Huffington Post) “addressed immigration issues by applying current U.S. policies to characters seen as pinnacles of good and advocates of law, order and justice.”

Opening reception Saturday, November 16 at 7pm  |  Free and open to the public

ICE DISH is responsible for identifying, investigating, and dismantling vulnerabilities regarding the nation's border, economic, transportation, and infrastructure security. If undocumented people can be declared “illegal” due to our government’s current immigration policies, then it is ICE DISH’s view that the same must be applied to undocumented superheroes. ICE DISH’s mission is to enforce this idea by raising awareness about pertinent issues, conducting further investigations, and working towards the detainment and deportation of illegal superheroes.


Preview of the grand opening

- SF Weekly pick for the weekend

- Flavorpill hot weekend pick

- El Tecolote calendar


About the project:

Having made its first public appearances in the summer and fall of 2012, ICE DISH is in the process of expanding its operations, with recent highlights including the creation of ICE DISH UFOs (Undisclosed Facility in Oakland), the opening of ICE DISH Temporary Transfer Centers, and the re-commissioning of the Immigration Station at Angel Island, where current-day “paper son” Superman was detained for an undisclosed period of time in 2012 and 2013. ICE DISH now also counts on Field Offices in different cities that exist as local headquarters of operations, along with assistance and endorsements from legal superheroes in its operations, such as Batgirl, Storm, and Captain America, the first-ever legal superhero endorser of ICE DISH. The San Francisco Field Office’s area of responsibility covers Northern California, Hawaii, and Guam. ICE DISH recently began to conduct operations out of the facility while under construction and illegal superheroes are currently detained there, including famed superhero from the X-Men, Wolverine.

The Grand Opening for the ICE DISH San Francisco Field Office will be on Saturday, November 16, 2013, from 7pm-10pm. That evening, the agency’s director, Tanner White, will be joined by several ICE DISH Agents to welcome the public, including agents Alanna Haight, Will D. Port, Ray Jin, Juana Wrights, and Eugene Hicks. Legal Superhero Endorsers will also be present, including Batgirl.

While in operation, the ICE DISH San Francisco Field Office is open to the public for viewing during gallery hours. The public is invited to come into the space on Saturdays and meet the artist on-site for firsthand accounts and updates about the project.


ICE DISH in the press so far:

- Colorlines - “Artist Encourages People to Report ‘Illegal’ Comic Heroes to ICE

- ArtInfo International – “Deport Wolverine? Bay Area Artist's Poster Campaign Uses Superheroes to Advocate for Immigrant Rights

- Huffington Post – “Neil Rivas' 'Illegal Superheroes' Addresses Undocumented Immigration Issues (PHOTOS)

- NCB Latino – “Artist portrays superheroes as ‘illegal’ immigrants in exhibit


Connect with the agency:

Personal tours of the San Francisco Field Office led by ICE DISH agents are available by appointment by contacting director Tanner White at The ICE DISH agent-led tours are donation-based, with proceeds going towards forthcoming ICE DISH operations and new programs such as the UAV & Space Program. For contributions, the public has the option of using U.S. dollars or comic book donations to assist ICE DISH with intelligence gathering.        

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About the artist:

As Galería de la Raza’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence, Neil Rivas (Clavo) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work intersects with his roles as educator, activist, journalist, and documentarian. Using his own photography, found objects, and appropriated pop culture iconography, he is invested in aesthetic politics and creating tactical interventions within social, cultural, and political contexts. His projects have come in the form of billboards, life size cardboard cut-outs, performances, and multimedia installations. He also makes work that has dual-use: having a presence within both art and non-art spaces. His work has been used as legal evidence, archive, journalism, and for community arts initiatives.

Rivas recently graduated with his MFA in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts and he received his BFA in Art Photography from California State University, Long Beach. His work has been featured in the Huffington Post, NBC Latino, CNN Español, ArtInfo, ArtsHub, MTV tr3s, Univision, Colorlines Magazine, and various international blogs. His documentary photography has been published by The Guardian (UK), NPR, Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and The New York Times blog. He has worked and exhibited internationally, and has been a recipient of several scholarships, grants, and awards.


About the REGEN Artist Fund:

Neil Rivas (Clavo) is a recipient of Galería de la Raza’s 2012/2013 ReGen Artist Fund, a small grants/commission program that provides Latino artists with technical assistance and capacity building support to develop grant writing and artistic program planning skills. The ReGen Artist Fund encourages artists to explore strategies to make artistic projects compelling, to design projects that address the funders’ priorities, to target and develop an audience, to develop a project/program budget, and to create a biographical summary, thus creating opportunities for artists to create competitive proposals to access government and foundation arts funding.


About the Artist-In-Residency Program:

Galería de la Raza is pleased to announce its inaugural Artist-In-Residency (AIR) Program, featuring artist Neil Rivas and the ICE DISH San Francisco Field Office project. In keeping with our mission to serve as a laboratory where artists can both explore contemporary issues in art, culture and civic society, as well as advance intercultural dialogue, the AIR Program will provide a dedicated space within our gallery walls where artist can explore artistic concepts, thoughts, and ideas, and present their findings in a public forum. By engaging the public in the creative process, we hope to deepen the relationship between the art creator and the viewer, and expand the dialogue of socially committed art.

Galería de la Raza’s programs are made possible with the generous support of: The California Arts Council, a state agency; Grants For the Arts - San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund; the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture - NALAC Fund for the Arts/Nescafé Clásico; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; San Francisco Arts Commission; San Francisco Public Utilities Commission; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The James Irvine Foundation; The San Francisco Foundation; Zellerbach Family Foundation and Galería members.

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Associated public programs:

Kearny Street Workshop proudly presents

APATURE ‘13: Comix & Zines Expo at Cartoon Art Museum

Saturday, October 19, 2013 | 11am-5pm

655 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Featuring a full lineup of artist tables, workshops, screenings, and a ton of interactive fun. With featured artist Eddie H. Ahn and participants Aklasan Records, Wahab Algarmi, Jeff Bostic, Susan Calvillo, Edwin Chang, Ka Yan Cheung, Sam Coaass, Robin David, Christina Douk, Marti Dulalas, Trinidad Escobar, ICE DISH (Department of Illegal Superheroes), Scott Longo, Anthony Mata, Dylan Mckeever, Erin Meadows, Maria Fatima Urbi

For more information >>


Galería de la Raza: an Interdisciplinary Chicano/Latino Space for Art, Thought and Activism
2857 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 click here for directions to galería