Betsabée Romero


Betsabée Romero: Al reverso de la pista / On the Other Side of the Track

June 5, 2025
January 26, 2026

About the Exhibit

Mexican artist Betsabée Romero has risen to international renown for infusing an ordinary, everyday object with extraordinary symbolism: the car. The hallmarks of her practice are her artisanal transformation of industrial objects, and her fusion of ancient Indigenous and popular artforms with high art. Such richly symbolic juxtapositions culminate in this exhibition, which transforms the gallery into a twenty-first century Mesoamerican ritual ball court. 

Encompassing the territories of Mexico and Central America, Mesoamerica was inhabited before the 16th century by Indigenous communities for whom the ritual ball game had religious and political associations, often including human sacrifice. The goal hoops have here been crafted from Nascar racing tires incised with motifs drawn from the cultures of Original Peoples from across the Americas. Colorful, hand-embroidered rebozo shawls line the tires’ interior and are visible through these patterned incisions, their handicraft facture clashing with the exposed, rough industrial rubber. These tires may well have been produced by the talented Mexican artisans who have been lured to factories—“the other side of the track”— by better pay, abandoning centuries-old artisanal traditions that now face extinction.

At each end, this sacramental court culminates in a monumental, glowing silver “oculus” created from engraved and enameled hubcaps and car parts, reminiscent of the stained-glass rosettes above cathedral altars. Engaging both historic and contemporary Indigenous heritage, and evoking ancient ritual as well as Catholicism, Romero’s installation embodies a sense of the sacred. It also references Mexican American and Chicanx car culture as an expressive artform, thus splicing the ancient American past with the contemporary present. 

Organized by Vanessa Davidson, Curator of Latin American Art, Blanton Museum of Art

Members get free admission.

About the Artist

Betsabée Romero (Mexico City, Mexico, 1963–present)
Al reverso de la pista is part of Betsabée Romero’s long-term artistic project. Over the past twenty-five years, Romero has deconstructed the car, dissecting it like a living body and working with its constituent parts. She fuses elements of Mexican culture with universal symbolism, as well as themes relating to Mexican American and Chicanx culture, imbued into altered cars, tires, hoods, and hubcaps. Romero has also often connected the mobility of the car to the theme of immigration, considering tires themselves as “emblematic symbols of the theme of migration.” She affirmed, “I have taken up this iconography to speak about how migrants leave traces that surround us,” and also to show that they “have a place in our history, memory, and culture in Mexico.” Such themes are especially relevant in border states like Texas. 

Image Gallery

Rosetones de asfalto [Asphalt Rosettes], 2010, Pewter with enamel, 98 x 98 inches, Collection of the artist, Photograph courtesy of the artist.
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Feature Image Credit

Betsabée Romero, Al reverso de la pista [On the Other Side of the Track], 2025, (Installation Rendering), Courtesy of the artist.

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