For the first time in over 15 years, Ruben Ochoa is exhibiting his mobile gallery, CLASS: C, to the public. Presented alongside CLASS: C will be a suite of street vendor carts (by Revolution Carts) with Ochoa-designed graphics. Street vendors will sell tamales and refreshing fruits from the vendor carts during Frieze LA.
Influenced by his family's history in tortilla vending and his advocacy for invisible labor, Ochoa spotlights the LA street vendor community. The artist's installation builds a dialog around the harassment, citations, and violence endured by vendors, a situation exacerbated by COVID-19 as small business owners faced confusion, anger, and fear in the climate of a worldwide pandemic. These carts effectively function as social sculptures, championing the rights of vendors as entrepreneurs operating carts central to the communal culture of LA.
Ochoa's inclusion of rainbow umbrellas, a wayfinder icon for street food, holds symbolic and historical value to the vendor community. Used during policy reform protests in Southern California, the rainbow umbrella is an extended celebration of unity, acceptance, small business support, and immigrant rights.
Through this site activation, the artist is redefining and expanding the functions of an art fair. The artist offers space for vendors to develop their businesses and facilitates an opportunity for the art community to show support by purchasing food or sponsoring Ochoa-designed street vendor carts to be donated to vendors in need.
This project is supported by Maestro Dobel Tequila.