NONE OF THE ABOVE Contemporary
Work By Puerto Rican Artists
1 – October 3, 2004
Manuel Acevedo, Allora & Calzadilla, Javier Cambre,
Nayda Collazo-Llórens, Dzine, Cari González-Casanova, Ivelisse Jiménez,
Charles Juhász-Alvarado, Ignacio Lang, Malika, Arnaldo Morales,
Enoc Pérez, Chemi Rosado Seijo,
Carlos A. Rivera Villafañe
Curated by Silvia Karman Cubiñá, Deborah Cullen & Steven
Produced by Real Art Ways / Will K. Wilkins, Executive
NONE OF THE ABOVE: Contemporary Work
by Puerto Rican Artists proposes an alternative way of seeing and thinking about
Puerto Rican art, re-shaping the standard curatorial frameworks which
have included work from Puerto Rico based on nationalism, identity politics
This exhibition and its accompanying catalogue identify
a strong critical and aesthetic strain within contemporary Puerto Rican
art practice that
is best described as a kind of Neo-Conceptualism. The artists are informed
by personal and artistic issues. They interact with, and respond to,
a wide array of global concerns and interests, broad topics such as gender,
consumerism, world history, film and literature. While the works negotiate
location, politics and identity on certain levels, these are not their
primary topics. This group is distinct from artists who have been popularly
selected to represent Puerto Rico – and whose agendas are decidedly
more personal or nationalistic explorations of identity, including well
known artists such as Antonio Martorell, Pepón Osorio and Juan
In fact, one of the premises of this project is that while conceptual
art, minimal art, interactions and performative "body" art,
among others, have been pioneered since the 1960s by Puerto Rican artists
the period, these contributions have been under-recognized due to the
overriding problematic nature of Puerto Rico's – and Puerto
Ricans' – status.
The title of the exhibition, NONE OF THE ABOVE, is borrowed
from Frances Negrón Muntaner's forthcoming
book. This expression refers to the plebiscite held on December 13,
1998 in Puerto Rico asking voters
to voice their opinion on the geopolitical status of the Island. Puerto
Rico is considered an "Estado Libre Asociado," literally,
associated state," or a commonwealth, of the United States. Its
residents carry U.S. passports. While they are locally autonomous,
the Island receives
Federal assistance. However, Puerto Rican residents are unable to vote
in U.S. Presidential elections and they do not have any congressional
representation. In this plebiscite, an impressive 71.3% turned out
to vote. While 46.5%
opted for statehood, only 2.5% chose independence, and even less (0.4%)
wished to maintain the status of territorial commonwealth. Interestingly,
a majority of votes (50.3%) were cast for "none of the above," perhaps
in a bid to reject political machinations and either-or polarities,
and to bring the question to a new way of conceiving status.
exhibition is not an historical survey, the catalogue will further
explore this contemporary generation as well as analyze some
of its antecedents
through the groundbreaking work and writing of artists such as Rafael
Ortiz, Carlos Irizarry, Rafael Ferrer, Papo Colo, Néstor Otero,
Félix González Torres, Edín Vélez and others.
— Co-curators Silvia Karman Cubiñá, Deborah Cullen & Steven
OF THE ABOVE will travel to El Museo del Arte del Puerto Rico from
January 22 - August 28, 2005. For info, visit www.mapr.org.
To order the catalogue for NONE OF THE ABOVE, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail a note of request to NOTA Catalogue, c/o Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor
St, Hartford, CT 06106.
Manuel Acevedo creates photographic
projects articulating the latent possibilities of public places. His
ongoing series, Altered Sites, documents central and/or iconic
urban spaces that are currently abandoned or under-utilized. By drawing
on top of the photographs, he transforms bleak landscapes into visionary
architectural proposals. For NONE OF THE ABOVE, Acevedo has
photographed the corner of Park Street and Main Street in Hartford.
left: Manuel Acevedo, "Hartford
Revisions Plan: Park and Main I, II and III",
2004, 3 silver gelatin prints,
20" x 40" each.
Courtesy of the artist.
Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla combine artistic, scientific
and frequently humorous approaches to comment on specific urban, political,
economic and communication systems. The video Returning a Sound presents
a young man riding around the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, on a motorbike
re-tooled to incorporate a trumpet as its exhaust pipe. Thus, his journey
celebrates a reclaiming of the landscape recently vacated by the U.S.
left:Allora & Calzadilla, "Returning
2004, color video and sound, DVD, 5:42 min. Courtesy Galerie Chantal
Javier Cambre examines cinema and its frequent
relationship to architecture. In Glass Cinema House, Cambre
explores the "glass box" of modernism as he projects a looped
fragment of his video Paseante (2004), where a solitary woman
wanders inside the empty buildings of the Universidad de Puerto Rico
in San Juan. This
solitary walk takes place within buildings designed by Heinrich Klumb
(1905, Cologne – 1984, San Juan), whose architecture, created in
the '50s and '60s, was a response to the social and climatological conditions
his adopted homeland in the Caribbean.
left: Javier Cambre, "Glass Cinema House
(Casa de cinema de cristall)", 2004, plexiglass, video projection,
56" x 34" x 80". Courtesy of the Artist.
Nayda Collazo-Llórens creates digital
projections that employ repetition, variation, layering and sequencing.
These forge autobiographical, but disjunctive narratives. She frequently
uses double projections to offer a layering of diaristic imagery alluding
to passing time and subjective experience. Stream of consciousness text
constantly shifts between Spanish and English as the frames both synch
left: Nayda Collazo-Llórens,
"Channels V4" (still), 2004, two-channel video projection installation,
4:32 min. Courtesy
of the Artist.
Dzine (Carlos Rolón) is a painter
and record producer whose two forms of artistic expression have strong
relationships and effects on each other. Abstract biomorphic forms vibrate
with color and rhythm, unleashing a visual energy and lyricism. Recently,
he has begun to incorporate glass beads for the first time onto his surfaces
of his works. The tiny clear beads fuse with the colorful shapes beneath
a shimmering, vibrant, jewel-like effect.
left: Dzine, "Beautiful
2004, Acrylic and glass beads on canvas, 6' x 38', Fabricated in collaboration
Maya Romanoff. Courtesy of moniquemeloche gallery, Chicago.
Cari González-Casanova pursues
what she terms "pseudo-architectures." Using the forms and
visual languages of architecture (the model, the computer plan, scale
proposals, etc.) she creates fictional spaces that reveal much about
human temperament. In this case, her proposal Tree House is a rug that
serves as a portable environment, capable of instantly surrounding or camouflaging
Ivelisse Jiménez uses painting as
a point of departure. She creates structures that are both attractive and
protective, images that grapple with vision, composition and the viewer's
experience. Her works simultaneously reveal and conceal themselves; they
constantly shift between deconstructing and reconstructing themselves as
the spectator moves around them seeking to glimpse the whole.
left: Ivelisse Jiménez, "Ten con Ten #2",
2004, Mixed media installation, 104" x 82" x 32" (approx). Courtesy
of the artist and Galeria Punto Gris, Puerto Rico.
Charles Juhász-Alvarado creates
elaborate installations that compel viewers to investigate, piecing together
arrangements formed by ambitious, oversized, toy-like sculptural parts,
participatory processes and emblematic narratives. The work, I-scream
(resist!), refers to the legendary 1983 robbery of Wells-Fargo in
West Hartford by the Puerto Rican pro-independence group, Los Macheteros.
His work both references this event and transforms it, turning a felony
that serves as a point of pride for certain Puerto Ricans into an ice
cream truck that freezes resistance, and/or offers frozen treats as opposed
left: Charles Juhász-Alvarado, "I-scream:
(resist!)", 2003. (The anniversary of Albizu's birthday in Hartford,
CT. 1983 1500lbs. from Wells Fargo: $7,007,151.98), mixed media installation,
dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.
Ignacio (C.I.G.) Lang's conceptual photographs
and objects layer elements while defining his relationship to social
and physical space. The two photographs in this exhibition trace the
of an echo in the landscape by photographing the artist’s shadow,
which during the interval between the two images, has moved. It is an
attempt to map time and space through the cast of a voice.
left: Ignacio Lang, "Eco", 2002,
digital photograph, diptych, edition 1 of 3,
48" x 48".
Courtesy of the Artist.
Malika creates abstract and saturated prints,
surrounded by fleshy frames that form a loose visual narrative. She perceives
her photographic groupings as a form of non-verbal communication which
she likens to dream-time experience, understood with one's whole being,
rather than through linear or classic logic sequences. Her image juxtapositions
include glimpses of color, patterns and surreal images sliced from day-to-day
left: Malika, "Travel
photograph, 15.25" x 10.75". Courtesy of the artist.
Arnaldo Morales' work’s bilingual
title, Vainilla (Vanilla Power) Power, refers to issues
of U.S. military and cultural dominance. The idea of a crossbow is monumentalized
and transformed by mechanical bricollage, and proposed by the artist as
a futile weapon. The work both implicates and thrills the participant who
must take physical and psychological responsibility of his/her interaction
with the object.
left: Arnaldo Morales, "Vainilla Power No.
04", 2004, industrial materials, 74" x 42" x 125". Courtesy of the artist.
Enoc Pérez uses a laborious handcrafted
process that, in essence, reproduces a mechanical color printing process.
Employing images reminiscent of 1960s postcards that depict hotels, his
work is thus about memory and nostalgia. The images are as much about personal
experience as they are homages to Puerto Rican modern architectural landmarks
carried forth as hotels that encouraged tourism.
left: Enoc Pérez, "Caribe Hilton, San Juan",
72.25" x 90.125". Courtesy Elizabeth Dee Gallery, NYC.
Chemi Rosado Seijo's project was originally
created as a commentary on the resurgence of painting in the 1990s. With
this multi-part work, the artist presents a display of varied objectified
paintings. He repetitively recreates the image of Malevich's cube, and
the idea of the 4th dimension, by transforming a grouping of Salon-style "paintings" into
a Claes-Oldenbergian soft sculptures.
left: Chemi Rosado Seijo, "Renacimiento
del Cubo Plano 2" (Renaissance of the Flat Cube 2), mixed media installation,
variable dimensions. Collection of Diana and Moises Berezdivin, Puerto
Rico. Courtesy of Galeria Viota, Puerto Rico.
Carlos A. Rivera Villafañe's paintings,
sculptures, installations and videos deals with themes of violence and
urban confrontation. In this project, he programs common highway construction
signs to flash unexpected slogans at the public. These sayings have to
do with the consumer, commercial aspects of weapons, problematizing the
contemporary attraction of armaments and violence.
Text by Co-Curators
Silvia Karman Cubiñá, Deborah Cullen and Steven Holmes.
Deborah Cullen has served as Curator
of El Museo del Barrio, in New York, since 1999. During that time she
initiated El Museo's Bienal: The S-Files/The Selected Files,
a showcase of NYC Latino artists, and curated Here & There/Aquí y
Allá: Six Artists from San Juan, which traveled to the University
of Houston's Blaffer Art Gallery, and Voces y Visiones: Highlights
from El Museo del Barrio's Permanent Collection, among other exhibitions.
Prior to working with El Museo del Barrio, Cullen was Project Director
and Curator at The Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Print Collection
in New York. She is the recipient of Faith Ringgold's Anyone Can
Fly Foundation Curatorial Award and the J. Paul Getty Curatorial Research
Silvia Karman Cubiñá is
currently the Director of the Moore Space in Miami and an independent
she has co-curated at the Moore Space are an exhibition of work by Yang
Fudong and Jim Lambie, and Interplay. From 2001-2003, Cubiñá was
Adjunct Curator of Institute of Visual Arts (inova) at the University
of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has curated exhibitions for many spaces
in the continental United States and Puerto Rico, including The Whitney
Museum of American Art, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto
Rico, the Museo de las Américas, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico,
and the Museo de San Juan; and multiple project room at ARCO and ArtMiami.
In 2000, she was Curator and Project Director for Pepón Osorio's
Door to Door, a collaborative multi-site exhibition project.
Steven Holmes has served
as Director of Visual Arts at Real Art Ways since
June 2000. Among his curatorial projects for Real Art Ways have included
Container (including work by Micah Lexier and Colleen Wolstenholme),
Then (including work by the Atlas Group), Electronic Models and Acquiring
Taste (including work by Mel Bochner, Tolland Grinnell, Panamarenko,
Sally Mann and Hanne Darboven). He was a founding member of The Khyber
Arts Society in Halifax, Canada, an internationally recognized multi-disciplinary
arts center, has published in the areas of critical theory and art criticism
(Rewire, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, MAIN), and has spent almost a decade
in education as an instructor of visual arts at numerous colleges, including
the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
NONE OF THE ABOVE was made possible by United
Technologies Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy
Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Travelers Foundation.
Additional support was provided by Aetna, the Ford Foundation
and the Wallace Foundation.
Major support for programs at Real Art Ways comes from Real
Art Ways Members, Greater Hartford Arts Council's United Arts Campaign,
United Technologies, Fleet Bank, Travelers Foundation, Hartford Foundation
for Public Giving, Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Ford Foundation,
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment
for the Arts and The Wallace Foundation.
Media sponsorship provided by The Hartford Courant