contemporary art

Dr. Lakra /   Jerónimo López Ramírez

Mexico 1972

Installation, Painting, Collage, Drawing

Dr. Lakra
Jerónimo López Ramírez
March 2, 2015

Dr. Lakra is a renowned Mexican tattooist and artist. Apart of skin, the tattoo artist prefers to embellish images from past decades – glamourous photos of Mexican beauties, dolls, and magazine covers, with macabre or tattoo-style designs.

Born in Mexico City as Jerónimo López Ramírez, Dr. Lakra is the eldest son of the anthropologist and poet Elisa Ramírez Castañeda and the painter Francisco Toledo, one of Mexico’s towering cultural figures. Among today’s young Mexican avant-garde, he is the one who has best incorporated Mexico’s tradition of illustration and printmaking and graphic design and pre-Colombian art.

The turning point in his career was meeting fellow tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy, who advocated for Lakra, exhibiting his work at show named Pierced Hearts and True Love, which he organized with the Drawing Center in 1995. Mr. Hardy, impressed by Dr. Lakra’s drawings, traded him professional tattoo equipment for a painting and took the younger artist under his wing.

He renamed himself Dr. Lakra (Dr. Scar) in reference to the medical briefcase in which he carries his equipment. Under his pseudonym he draws over vintage printed materials and found objects rather than skin, manipulating images of pin-up girls, 1940s Mexican businessmen, luchadores, and Japanese sumo wrestlers.

Main themes of his art include vulgarity, religion, evil, repression, sex, and violence, focusing on the juxtaposition of new and old. Using traditional tattoo iconography as well as a free hand drawing style, Dr. Lakra brings energy to every page, canvas, or object that he floods with paint and ink. His gallery installations are cabinets of curiosities featuring intricate wall paintings of beautiful women, indigenous statues and deities, collages crafted from vintage magazines penned and inked by the artist, human-like insect heads encased in vitrines, dolls that have been transformed into gang members, and images of pin-up girls with full tattoo sleeves.

Dr. Lakra has works in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Hammer Museum. He is represented by kurimanzutto, New Mexico, and Kate MacGarry, London. He has exhibited widely throughout Mexico, the United States, and Europe at venues such as the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO), Oaxaca, Mexico, Tate Modern, London, England, Matthew Marks Gallery in New York, NY, Galerie Chantel Crousel in Paris, France, and Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York, NY.

Dr. Lakra lives and works in Oaxaca, Mexico.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumGroup/Solo
2013Ukiyo-e: Imagenes del mundo flotanteMuseo de Arte Carrillo Gil (MACG), Mexico CityGroup
2013Futbol, Arte y PasionMuseo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey (MARCO), MonterreyGroup
2012Dr. LakraKate MacGarry, LondonSolo
2012Mexican Demons and Dancing Skeletons: Dr. Lakra in dialogue with PosadaHostelbro Kunstmuseum, HostelbroSolo
2012Dr. LakraNils Staerk Gallery, CopenhagenSolo
2012The Small Collections RoomNottingham Contemporary, NottinghamSolo
2012Poetry and Politics – Watercolours and AnimationsThe Nordic Watercolour Museum, Skärhamn, SwedenGroup
2011Dr. LakraMuseo de la ciudad de Mexico, Mexico CitySolo
2011Dr. LakraMarco Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, MonterreySolo
2011Dr. LakraThe Drawing Center, New YorkSolo
2011Dr. LakraMuseo Amparo, PueblaSolo
2011Viceversa, nuevos estados de animoMuseo de los pintores Oaxaqueños (MUPO), OaxacaGroup
2011MACO OaxacaCentro de la Artes San Agustin Etla, OaxacaGroup
2011MakeupA Palazzo Gallery, BresciaGroup
2011As Long As It Lasts…Arratia Beer Gallery, BerlinGroup
2010Dr. LakraICA BostonSolo
2009Dr. LakraKate MacGarry, LondonSolo
2009Dr. Lakrakurimanzutto, Mexico CitySolo
2009Corpus AeternumCentro Fotografico Manuel Alvarez Bravo, OaxacaGroup
2009La invenvion de lo cotidianoColeccion - Fundacion Jumex, Mexico CityGroup
2009Desenhos (drawings): a-zMuseau da cidade, LisbonGroup
20092nd Trienal PoliGrafica de San JuanSan Juan, Puerto RicoGroup
2009Modern RuinsKate MacGarryGroup
2009Strike a poseStephen Friedman Gallery, LondonGroup
2008Inaugural Exhibitionkurimanzutto, Mexico CityGroup
2008Martian Museum of Terrestrial ArtBarbican Art GalleryGroup
2008Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico CityThe Alameda National Center, San Antonio, USAGroup
2007Goth: Reality of The Departed WorldYokohama Museum of Art, JapanGroup
2007Wunderkammer: A Century of CuriositiesMuseum of Modern Art, New YorkGroup
2007La PlantaArte Contemporaneo Omnilife, Guadalajara, MexicoGroup
2007Feral KingdomCCA Center for Contemporary Art GlasgowGroup
2007Generational IssueCentro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, SpainGroup
2007Mad LoveMuseum of ModernArt, CopenhagenGroup
2007Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico CityMuseum of Contemporary art, ChicagoGroup
2007Hammer Contemporary CollectionHammer Museum, Los AngelesGroup
2006Dr. LakraKate MacGarrySolo
2006Spank The MonkeyBaltic Centre for Contemporary Art, GatesheadGroup
2006I’m SorryPilar Parra & Romero, MadridGroup
2006I Love My Country but I Think We Should Start Seeing Other PeopleJack Hanley Gallery, San FranciscoGroup
2005Los Dos Amigos, Dr. Lakra & Abraham CruzvillegasMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO), MexicoSolo
2005Words: The formal Presence of Text in Modern and Contemporary Works on PaperAndrea Rosen Gallery, New YorkGroup
2005Mexico 70Casa del Lago, Mexico CityGroup
2005The Urban Edge ShowMilanGroup
2005Girls on FilmZwirner & Wirth, New YorkGroup
2004Pin-Up: Contemporary Collage & Drawing (with Sebastian Bremer, Matt Bryans, Amie Dicke, Wangechi Mutu, Jochum Nordström, Steven Shearer, Godfried Donkor and Nicole Wermers)Tate Modern, LondonGroup
2004Equation du Solelil Noir, Peinture Contemporaine du MexiqueInstituto de México à Paris, ParisGroup
2004Deliver Us from Evil (with Honore Daumier, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Robert Crumb, Keegan McHargue)Matthew Marks Gallery, New YorkGroup
2003Dr. LakraKate MacGarry, LondonSolo
2003Elephant JuiceKurimanzutto, MexicoGroup
2000Group ShowGalerie Chantel Crousel, ParisGroup
2000Stolen BikeAndrew Kreps Gallery, New YorkGroup
1999Art and IdeaMexico CityGroup
1999La Luz de JesusThe Drawing Collective, Los AngelesGroup
1998Dr. LakraJuárez 65, Mexico CitySolo
1998Camuñas FamilyPurgatorio 2, Valencia, SpainGroup
1998FestimadCírculo de Bellas Artes, MadridGroup
1996La Feria del RebeldeLa Panadería, Mexico CityGroup
1996No Soy FotógrafoLa Panadería, Mexico CityGroup
1995Pierced Hearts and True Love; a Century of Drawings for TattoosThe Drawing Centre, New YorkGroup
1994Mutant MessengerAnn Nathan Gallery, ChicagoGroup
1994Grap a BagMuseum of Art ChicagoGroup
1993Dr. LakraKunsthaus Tacheles, BerlinSolo
1993Auslanders in BerlinKunsthaus Tachesles, BerlinGroup
1991Dr. LakraCafé Primo, BerlinSolo
1991Aire Fresco en el Verano del AmorDivisiónarte, Mexico CityGroup
1990Dr. LakraGalería Caracas, BerlinSolo
1990Ya, Juventud, YaLa Quiñonera, Mexico CityGroup
1990Euritmia en el TendereroPuente de Piedra 19, Mexico CityGroup
1989Dr. LakraGalería El Juglar, Mexico City, MexicoSolo