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b. 1972, Mexico

Dr. Lakra Biography

Jerónimo López Ramírez—a.k.a. Dr Lakra—is a Mexican artist and tattooist who is bets known for his irreverent and provocative drawings and paintings on appropriated posters, erotic magazines and postcards . His practice however also encompasses mural painting, collage and sculpture.

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Dr Lakra is also a prolific collector, producing 3D 'readymade' sculptures with 'tattooed' dolls and toys and bronze 'indigenous' statues.

Early Years

Born to artist and activist Francisco Toledo and anthropologist and poet Elisa Ramírez Castañeda, Dr Lakra was raised in a stimulating environment, surrounded by artworks and museological items. Attracted to tattooing and steeped in Chicano culture, he took on the name Dr Lakra to ironically call himself a 'scar' or delinquent.

The artist has no academic training but he was raised in Oaxaca, where he regularly exhibited as part of the city's art community. At a workshop, he met and befriended the internationally famous artist Gabriel Orozco, with whom he often collaborates.

In the early 1990s Dr Lakra lived in Berlin, where he taught himself tattooing, and in San Francisco, where he befriended 'skin-trade' members of the local hippie community, including tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy. In 1995, Hardy organised Pierced Hearts and True Love: A Century of Drawings for Tattoos with the Drawing Center in New York, and Dr Lakra was a participant with nearly 80 other artists.

Back in Oaxaca, Dr Lakra now lives in El Ojo Peludo, an artists' collective and studio complex he organised, where the group of artists work on silkscreening, ceramics, and painting, and have a small kimono shop.

Dr Lakra Artworks

Dr Lakra's blending of disparate graphic art material creates a streetwise surrealism that mixes Mexican folk art with a huge range of art historical material, such as head comix, medical diagrams, gang and military symbols, graffiti, sumo wrestlers, businessmen, and sculptures and skin motifs from African, Asian, and Pacific traditions.

The artist is unusual in the range of interests that his eclectic choice of images indicates, though he can be seen to ignore highly sensitive postcolonial issues of cultural ownership. In Untitled (1930) (2005) and Untitled (Renee Dumas) (2004), for example, Lakra mixes criminal underworld tattoos with traditional Māori moko in a way that could offend the original sources. In this sense, he reflects the 'anything goes' ethos of 1960s Haight-Ashbury.

However Dr Lakra, like his father, is a passionate fighter for indigenous rights, particularly those of the Zapotec people of the Oaxaca region. He also advocates for incarcerated people who are illiterate, for whom he helps with correspondence.

Exhibitions

Dr Lakra has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.

Solo exhibitions include Diario de Viaje, Instituto de Artes Graficas de Oaxaca (IAGO) (2019); Dr Lakra, White Columns, New York (2018); Dr. Lakra, kurimanzutto, Mexico City (2018); Dr. Lakra, Kate MacGarry, London (2017); Dr. Lakra, MATE, Lima (2016); Dr. Lakra, Akvarelle Museet, Skarhamm, Sweden (2015); Monomito, kurimanzutto, Mexico City (2015).

Group exhibitions include El tiempo en las cosas, Salas de Arte Contemporáneo, Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico (2021); Out east, kurimanzutto New York, East Hampton (2021); Siembra, kurimanzuto, Mexico City (2020); L'art du tatouage derrière les barreaux, Musée Du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac, Paris (2018); Yurugu, Dr. Lakra en diálogo con René Bustamante, Museo de la Ciudad, Querétaro, Mexico (2018); Fifteen, Kate MacGarry, London (2017).

Collections

Dr Lakra's work in included in major institutional collections, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis; and Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles.

Instagram

Dr Lakra's Instagram can be found here.

John Hurrell | Ocula | 2021

Dr. Lakra
featured artworks

Untitled by Dr. Lakra contemporary artwork works on paper
Dr. Lakra Untitled, 2019 Drawing ink on paper
56 x 43.5 cm
Kate MacGarry Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Dr. Lakra contemporary artwork works on paper
Dr. Lakra Untitled, 2019 Drawing ink on paper
56 x 43.5 cm
Kate MacGarry Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Dr. Lakra contemporary artwork works on paper
Dr. Lakra Untitled, 2019 Drawing ink on paper
56 x 43.5 cm
Kate MacGarry Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Dr. Lakra contemporary artwork sculpture
Dr. Lakra Untitled, 2017 Bronze
50 x 9 x 6 cm
Kate MacGarry Request Price & Availability

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