Artist Christina Fernandez explores Mexican American identity in a new Princeton University Art Museum retrospective

PRINCETON, NJ – Photographs by the renowned Los Angeles–based artist Christina Fernandez exploring migration, labor, and gender are on view at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art on Hulfish gallery in an exhibition that reveals the multiple senses of “exposure” at play in the artist’s work. 

Christina Fernandez: Multiple Exposures (February 10–April 28) brings together photographs from across the artist’s thirty-year career, illuminating the formal and conceptual threads connecting her most important bodies of work. 

Fernandez, who generally works in series and across various modes of photography—documentary, portraiture, performance—is especially interested in the experiences of Mexican Americans. Her photographs engage with the everyday realities of being an artist, teacher, and mother through photographs that acknowledge both the beauty and the precarity of a creative life. They also investigate and assert her identity, often framing her hometown of Los Angeles or figures from her family as a central focus. 

Fernandez’s photography has been celebrated throughout her career and her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others. 

“Princeton is delighted to host this retrospective for its only showing on the East Coast,” said Katherine A. Bussard, the Museum’s Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography. “We are excited to bring Christina Fernandez’s work, which displays both mastery of technique and bold artistic vision, to our visitors. Students of photography will appreciate her knowledge of the canon while all visitors are likely to be moved by the universal themes this artist explores.” 

The exhibition is organized chronologically by series, commencing with the project María’s Great Expedition (1995–96), an installation that imagines key moments in the life of Fernandez’s maternal great-grandmother, María Gonzales. The artist poses as the subject in 

photographs that invoke the history of photography, from Hollywood glamour to American Depression-era documentary to color snapshots. 

Also on view are the layered black-and-white works that inspired the title of the exhibition, Untitled Multiple Exposures (1999). In this series, Fernandez apropriates images taken by modernist photographers such as Manuel Álavarez Bravo and places her own body into them as a way of grappling with the legacy of her predecessors. 

Works from Fernandez’s most recognizable series, Lavanderia (2002–3), consist of carefully composed nighttime views into laundromats on Los Angeles’s Eastside. These cinematic color compositions explore labor and landscape, subjects that have long held the interest of photographers. Taking on both subejcts at once, Fernandez worked with a large format camera and long exposures, capturing patterns that trace the movements of the people inside. These photographs complement the nearby installation of works from the series Space Available (2004), which documents the artist’s own movement between rented LA studios. 

More recent photographs include American Trailer (2018) and those from Sereno (2006–10), a series created during the years when Fernandez was the mother of a young child. During this time she made photographs with a medium-format camera during daily walks with her son around El Sereno—their predominantly Latinx neighborhood—with her baby strapped to her in a carrier. 

Princeton’s installation is the first to feature Fernandez’s 2020 composite image Untitled Farmworkers, which presents images recording the deaths, injuries, and illnesses of farmworkers due to pesticides, labor disputes, altercations on the picket lines, and more. This powerful image draws visitors into the exhibition and calls attention to themes of labor echoed throughout the galleries. 

“Christina Fernandez has been unrivaled in her ability to use photography to investigate and assert the interlocking issues of labor, gender, immigration, and place,” said James Steward, the Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, Director of the Princeton University Art Museum. “This exhibition at Princeton provides a rare opportunity to see how the artist both draws on the history of art and moves it forward in very particular and powerful ways.” 

Christina Fernandez: Multiple Exposures comes to Princeton following its debut at UCR ARTS in Riverside, California, and stops at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona. After its presentation in Princeton, the exhibition travels to the San José Museum of Art in California and the DePaul Art Museum in Chicago, Illinois. 

Link to images


About Art on Hulfish 

Art on Hulfish showcases a roster of exhibitions led by photography and time-based media that consider issues of profound impact on twenty-first-century life. Located at 11 Hulfish Street in downtown Princeton, it encompasses some 5,500 square feet of space for exhibitions and public programming, ranging from drop-in activities to scheduled work with artists. Admission is free. Launched in December 2021, the gallery is presenting four exhibitions each year through late 2024, during the time when the Museum’s new facility, designed by Adjaye Associates, is under construction. 

Art on Hulfish is made possible by the leadership support of Annette Merle-Smith and Princeton University. Generous support is also provided by William S. Fisher, Class of 1979, and Sakurako Fisher; J. Bryan King, Class of 1993; the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; John Diekman, Class of 1965, and Susan Diekman; Christopher E. Olofson, Class of 1992; Barbara and Gerald Essig; Rachelle Belfer Malkin, Class of 1986, and Anthony E. Malkin; the Curtis W. McGraw Foundation; Jim and Valerie McKinney; Tom Tuttle, Class of 1988, and Mila Tuttle; Nancy A. Nasher, Class of 1976, and David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976; Gene Locks, Class of 1959, and Sueyun Locks; H. Vincent Poor, Graduate School Class of 1977; and Palmer Square Management. Additional support for this exhibition is provided by the Program in Latin American Studies and the Effron Center for the Study of America. 

About the Princeton University Art Museum 

With a collecting history that extends back to 1755, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country, featuring collections that have grown to include more than 115,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary art and spanning the globe. Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum also serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. 

The main Museum building is currently closed for the construction of a bold and welcoming new building, slated to open in 2025. 

Art on Hulfish, a gallery project of the Art Museum located at 11 Hulfish Street, is open daily. Art@Bainbridge, a gallery project at 158 Nassau Street, is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission to both galleries is free. 

Please visit the Museum’s website for digital access to the collections, a diverse portfolio of programs, and details on visiting our downtown galleries. The Museum Store in Palmer Square, located at 56 Nassau Street in downtown Princeton, is open daily, or shop online at 


Christina Fernandez: Multiple Exposures is curated by Joanna Szupinska, senior curator at the California Museum of Photography, and organized by UCR ARTS. Chon Noriega, Distinguished Professor of Film, Television, and Digital Media at the University of California, Los Angeles, is curatorial advisor. The exhibition design concept is by HvADesign, New York. The Spanish-language translations are by JD Pluecker and Carolina Villarroel. The exhibition is made possible by grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for the publication was provided by AltaMed Health Services, and Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund. 

Media Contact: Pac Pobric/Emma Gordon |