Mario Ybarra Jr.’s project, Best in the West…Salad Stacking Competition 2019 is rooted in the idea that art is all around us and that we are all artists, even when we take a trip to the salad bar.

Inspired by his hometown pizza parlor in Wilmington, California, which has cultivated generations of community and nurtured the sculptural aspirations of the budget-conscious with its one-pass salad bar, he will stage a series of events over the course of the Festival at his own pop-up salad bar.

The competition will put aesthetic sensibilities and engineering skills to the test, expand our notions of what art can be and who can make it, one plate at a time.

Special thanks to Pamela Lange and Thomas Hildebrandt at Kesling’s Kitchen; Borrego Art Institute; and the salad stackers.

Mario Ybarra Jr. is a Mexican American conceptual artist born and raised in Los Angeles. His artwork operates as examinations of excluded social norms, often examining complete environments, histories and narratives. He received an MFA from the University of California Irvine and a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design.

He has shown at institutions around the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; MOCA, Los Angeles, The Art Institute, Chicago; and the Instituto Cervantes in Madrid, among others.

In 2002, in partnership with his wife Karla Diaz, he co-founded Slanguage (an artist-run space/collective in Los Angeles that hosted art exhibitions, residencies, and programming for youth and adults).

He has been featured as a speaker in many national and international venues including most notably at the Creative Summit in New York, Art Pace San Antonio and at the ICA in Boston.

Photo credit: Griff Lacey