And the Badass Gallery of the Year Award Goes to…

The Santa Monica Museum of Art, which this week launches The Donkey Show—a menagerie of odds, ends and kitsch revolving around the myth of Tijuana’s most notorious (and incidentally, false) claim to fame.

Per the Museum’s website:

For over a century, millions of Americans have put on sombreros and posed for tourist photographs on top of donkeys in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico. For almost as long, one of the greatest urban legends in all of California history has been the Tijuana donkey show, the much-rumored, often-referenced, but never proven south of the border sex show that is perpetually re-invented in American high school locker rooms. The Donkey Show explores the border’s intersection of myth and reality through a blend of over 200 rare tourist photographs, vintage nightlife ephemera, and pop songs born of American myths of Tijuana.

The best part? A high-brow nod to God’s favorite creation, the Zonkey

The other donkey is the one that the millions of tourists who’ve visited Tijuana actually get to know. That donkey is the one they sit on top of wearing sombreros lettered with “Just Married,” “On My Ass,” and “Still Drunk” in front of a painted backdrop of “Old Mexico,” posing for souvenir photographs snapped by the Mexican entrepreneurs who’ve been putting smiling Americans atop donkeys-day in, day out-since the turn of the 20th century. That donkey is a source of local business; that donkey is a local joke on American tourists looking for “the real thing” and getting Mexican make-believe.

¡Sign us up!

The SMMOA is located at 2525 Michigan Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90404 The Donkey Show will be up till April 16.

Featured image: Guillermo Arias/AP

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