Archive for the 'Artes Visuales' Category

The Boom Is Over. Long Live the Art!

febrero 16, 2009


Damien Hirst’s “Golden Calf” sold for $18.6 million last year, but the art climate has changed.


LAST year Artforum magazine, one of the country’s leading contemporary art monthlies, felt as fat as a phone book, with issues running to 500 pages, most of them gallery advertisements. The current issue has just over 200 pages. Many ads have disappeared.

The contemporary art market, with its abiding reputation for foggy deals and puffy values, is a vulnerable organism, traditionally hit early and hard by economic malaise. That’s what’s happening now. Sales are vaporizing. Careers are leaking air. Chelsea rents are due. The boom that was is no more.

Anyone with memories of recessions in the early 1970s and late ’80s knows that we’ve been here before, though not exactly here. There are reasons to think that the present crisis is of a different magnitude: broader and deeper, a global black hole. Yet the same memories will lend a hopeful spin to that thought: as has been true before, a financial scouring can only be good for American art, which during the present decade has become a diminished thing.

The diminishment has not, God knows, been quantitative. Never has there been so much product. Never has the American art world functioned so efficiently as a full-service marketing industry on the corporate model.

Every year art schools across the country spit out thousands of groomed-for-success graduates, whose job it is to supply galleries and auction houses with desirable retail. They are backed up by cadres of public relations specialists — otherwise known as critics, curators, editors, publishers and career theorists — who provide timely updates on what desirable means.

Many of those specialists are, directly or indirectly, on the industry payroll, which is controlled by another set of personnel: the dealers, brokers, advisers, financiers, lawyers and — crucial in the era of art fairs — event planners who represent the industry’s marketing and sales division. They are the people who scan school rosters, pick off fresh talent, direct careers and, by some inscrutable calculus, determine what will sell for what.

Not that these departments are in any way separated; ethical firewalls are not this industry’s style. Despite the professionalization of the past decade, the art world still likes to think of itself as one big Love Boat. Night after night critics and collectors scarf down meals paid for by dealers promoting artists, or museums promoting shows, with everyone together at the table, schmoozing, stroking, prodding, weighing the vibes.

And where is art in all of this? Proliferating but languishing. “Quality,” primarily defined as formal skill, is back in vogue, part and parcel of a conservative, some would say retrogressive, painting and drawing revival. And it has given us a flood of well-schooled pictures, ingenious sculptures, fastidious photographs and carefully staged spectacles, each based on the same basic elements: a single idea, embedded in the work and expounded in an artist’s statement, and a look or style geared to be as catchy as the hook in a rock song.

The ideas don’t vary much. For a while we heard a lot about the radicalism of Beauty; lately about the subversive politics of aestheticized Ambiguity. Whatever, it is all market fodder. The trend reached some kind of nadir on the eve of the presidential election, when the New Museum trotted out, with triumphalist fanfare, an Elizabeth Peyton painting of Michelle Obama and added it to the artist’s retrospective. The promotional plug for the show was obvious. And the big political statement? That the art establishment voted Democratic.

Art in New York has not, of course, always been so anodyne an affair, and will not continue to be if a recession sweeps away such collectibles and clears space for other things. This has happened more than once in the recent past. Art has changed as a result. And in every case it has been artists who have reshaped the game.

The first real contemporary boom was in the early 1960s, when art decisively stopped being a coterie interest and briefly became an adjunct to the entertainment industry. Cash was abundant. Pop was hot. And the White House was culture conscious enough to create the National Endowment for the Arts so Americans wouldn’t keeping looking, in the words of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., like “money-grubbing materialists.”

The boom was short. The Vietnam War and racism were ripping the country apart. The economy tanked. In the early ’70s New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy, bleeding money and jobs. With virtually no commercial infrastructure for experimental art in place, artists had to create their own marginal, bootstrap model.

They moved, often illegally, into the derelict industrial area now called SoHo, and made art from what they found there. Trisha Brown choreographed dances for factory rooftops; Gordon Matta-Clark turned architecture into sculpture by slicing out pieces of walls. Everyone treated the city as a found object.

An artist named Jeffrey Lew turned the ground floor of his building at 112 Greene Street into a first-come-first-served studio and exhibition space. People came, working with scrap metal, cast-off wood and cloth, industrial paint, rope, string, dirt, lights, mirrors, video. New genres — installation, performance — were invented. Most of the work was made on site and ephemeral: there one day, gone the next.

White Columns, as 112 Greene Street came to called, became a prototype for a crop of nonprofit alternative spaces that sprang up across the country. Recessions are murder on such spaces, but White Columns is still alive and settled in Chelsea with an exhibition, through the end of the month, documenting, among other things, its 112 Greene Street years.

The ’70s economy, though stagnant, stabilized, and SoHo real estate prices rose. A younger generation of artists couldn’t afford to live there and landed on the Lower East Side and in South Bronx tenements. Again the energy was collective, but the mix was different: young art-school graduates (the country’s first major wave ), street artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Fab Five Freddy Braithwaite, assorted punk-rebel types like Richard Hell and plain rebels like David Wojnarowicz.

Here too the aesthetic was improvisatory. Everybody did everything — painting, writing, performing, filming, photocopying zines, playing in bands — and new forms arrived, including hip-hop, graffiti, No Wave cinema, appropriation art and the first definable body of “out” queer art. So did unusual ways of exhibiting work: in cars, in bathrooms, in subways.

The best art was subversive, but in very un-’60s, nonideological ways. When, at midnight, you heard Klaus Nomi, with his bee-stung black lips and robot hair, channeling Maria Callas at the Mudd Club, you knew you were in the presence of a genius deviant whose very life was a political act.

But again the moment was brief. The Reagan economy was creating vast supplies of expendable wealth, and the East Village became a brand name. Suddenly galleries were filled with expensive, tasty little paintings and objects similar in variety and finesse to those in Chelsea now. They sold. Limousines lined up outside storefront galleries. Careers soared. But the originating spark was long gone.

After Black Monday in October 1987 the art was gone too, and with the market in disarray and gatekeepers confused, entrenched barriers came down. Black, Latino and Asian-American artists finally took center stage and fundamentally redefined American art. Gay and lesbian artists, bonded by the AIDS crisis and the culture wars, inspired by feminism, commanded visibility with sophisticated updates on protest art.

And thanks to multiculturalism and to the global reach of the digital revolution, the American art world in the ’90s was in touch with developments in Africa, Asia and South America. For the first time contemporary art was acknowledged to be not just a Euro-American but an international phenomenon and, as it soon turned out, a readily marketable one.

Which brings us to the present decade, held aloft on a wealth-at-the-top balloon, threatening to end in a drawn-out collapse. Students who entered art school a few years ago will probably have to emerge with drastically altered expectations. They will have to consider themselves lucky to get career breaks now taken for granted: the out-of-the-gate solo show, the early sales, the possibility of being able to live on the their art.

It’s day-job time again in America, and that’s O.K. Artists have always had them — van Gogh the preacher, Pollock the busboy, Henry Darger the janitor — and will again. The trick is to try to make them an energy source, not a chore.

At the same time, if the example of past crises holds true, artists can also take over the factory, make the art industry their own. Collectively and individually they can customize the machinery, alter the modes of distribution, adjust the rate of production to allow for organic growth, for shifts in purpose and direction. They can daydream and concentrate. They can make nothing for a while, or make something and make it wrong, and fail in peace, and start again.

Art schools can change too. The present goal of studio programs (and of ever more specialized art history programs) seems to be to narrow talent to a sharp point that can push its way aggressively into the competitive arena. But with markets uncertain, possibly nonexistent, why not relax this mode, open up education?

Why not make studio training an interdisciplinary experience, crossing over into sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, poetry and theology?

Why not build into your graduate program a work-study semester that takes students out of the art world entirely and places them in hospitals, schools and prisons, sometimes in-extremis environments, i.e. real life? My guess is that if you did, American art would look very different than it does today.

Such changes would require new ways of thinking and writing about art, so critics will need to go back to school, miss a few parties and hit the books and the Internet. Debate about a “crisis in criticism” gets batted around the art world periodically, suggesting nostalgia for old-style traffic-cop tastemakers like Clement Greenberg who invented movements and managed careers. But if there is a crisis, it is not a crisis of power; it’s a crisis of knowledge. Simply put, we don’t know enough, about the past or about any cultures other than our own.

A globally minded learning curve that started to grow in the 1980s and ’90s seems to have withered away once multiculturalism fell out of fashion. Some New York critics, with a sigh of relief one sensed, have gone back to following every twitch of the cozy local scene, which also happens to constitute their social life.

The subject is not without interest, but it’s small. In the 21st century New York is just one more art town among many, and no longer a particularly influential one. Contemporary art belongs to the world. And names of artists only half-familiar to us — Uzo Egonu, Bhupen Khakhar, Iba Ndiaye, Montien Boonma, Amrita Sher-Gil, Graciela Carnevale, Madiha Omar, Shakir Hassan Al Said — have as much chance of being important to history as many we know.

But there will be many, many changes for art and artists in the years ahead. Trying to predict them is like trying to forecast the economy. You can only ask questions. The 21st century will almost certainly see consciousness-altering changes in digital access to knowledge and in the shaping of visual culture. What will artists do with this?

Will the art industry continue to cling to art’s traditional analog status, to insist that the material, buyable object is the only truly legitimate form of art, which is what the painting revival of the last few years has really been about? Will contemporary art continue to be, as it is now, a fancyish Fortunoff’s, a party supply shop for the Love Boat crew? Or will artists — and teachers, and critics — jump ship, swim for land that is still hard to locate on existing maps and make it their home and workplace?

I’m not talking about creating ’60s-style utopias; all those notions are dead and gone and weren’t so great to begin with. I’m talking about carving out a place in the larger culture where a condition of abnormality can be sustained, where imagining the unknown and the unknowable — impossible to buy or sell — is the primary enterprise. Crazy! says anyone with an ounce of business sense.

Right. Exactly. Crazy.

Fuente: NYT


José Alejandro Alvarez con tres premios en LAUPS 2008

noviembre 24, 2008


“Blacktips” by José Alejandro Alvarez

Una buena noticia para compartir con mis amigos, especialmente los buzos, fotógrafos, amantes de la naturaleza y protectores del medio ambiente.

Acaban de publicar los resultados del concurso  anual internacional de fotosub  de Los Angeles Underwater Photograhic Society  (LAUPS ) en su edicion 46 ,   donde gané 2do lugar en la categoria ” wide angle ”  y  4to, 5to y mencion de honor en la categoria  “marine related scenics”.    Muy contento con los resultados, ya que este es el concurso más antiguo de fotografia submarina  y uno de los más importantes a nivel internacional .

Pueden ver las fotos en esta galeria . Todas estan buenísimas; les recomiendo que elijan la opción full size, porque algunas en el formato pequeño no se ven muy bien los colores.


José Alejandro Alvarez


Barack Obama Art Exhibit in Dominican Republic

noviembre 21, 2008

Art as politics: phenomenon Obama.

A private collector art exhibit of Barack Obama posters in Dominican Republic. Location Barna Business School. November 18th until January 31st, 2009.

El arte como política—la política como


Tony Capellán: Techo Jardín y Estudio

octubre 3, 2008

Todas las ciudades del mundo que se respetan como tales, para la salud de los negocios y la revalorización del tejido urbano degradado; promueven, protegen y financian las residencias-estudios de artistas.

Las experiencias indican que este vector revitaliza las economías locales, la calidad de vida de los ciudadanos y ayuda a construir marca-ciudad(es) más fuertes, amables, diversas, ricas e inteligentes.

Santo Domingo podría perder un espacio de belleza rotunda, albergue una de las bibliotecas y colecciones de arte más importantes de la ciudad, una azotea verde habitáculo de uno de los más importantes artistas del Caribe, ergo, hogar de un ser humano de fineza y calidad extraordinarias.

Así nos respetamos.

Es una verguenza, como un parque canquiña o las intervenciones al sistema de parques de Santiago.

Foto: Alex Guerrero

Foto: Alex Guerrero

Foto: Alex Guerrero

Foto: Alex Guerrero

Julio Piña

septiembre 21, 2008

Dentro de los eventos de celebración del 150 aniversario de la fundación del Municipio de Jarabacoa, se presenta la muestra “Memoria Fotográfica“, una colección de fotografías del 1947 al 1977 provenientes del archivo del autor.

Julio Piña, Jarabacoa (1910-1997).

Por más de 50 años fue el fotógrafo del pueblo y del campo. Maestro de escuela, horticultor. Hombre de familia, de comunidad, conciliador y respetado.

Ocupó diferentes posiciones en el servicio público municipal, llegando a ser secretario, presidente y síndico del Ayuntamiento de Jarabacoa. También fue diputado ante el Congreso Nacional por la provincia de La Vega.

En 1946, junto a Gerard Loewe fundó el estudio Foto Paris en Santiago, en 1950 regresa a Jarabacoa para abrir al público Foto Olimpia, desde donde ofreció servicios hasta 1996.

Los archivos de Julio Piña contienen cerca de 80,000 negativos. Es un gran honor para sus sucesores mostrar una pequeña parte del legado que hoy compartimos.

A medida que avanzan los trabajos de restauración, conservación y digitalización, no dejan de sorprender los retratos, paisajes y documentos que contiene este patrimonio.

Encontramos un importante valor documental histórico en los archivos, pero igualmente un valioso aporte al arte fotográfico, donde se desvela una obra de oficio depurado y exquisito.

En lo personal, también recordamos al hombre ejemplar, de hablar pausado, formalísimo y cordial.

David Byrne’s New Band, With Architectural Solos

mayo 30, 2008

THE symphony of Manhattan Island, composed and performed fortissimo daily by garbage trucks, car speakers, I-beam bolters, bus brakes, warped manhole covers, knocking radiators, people yelling from high windows and the blaring television that now greets you in the back of a taxi, is the kind of music people would pay good money to be able to silence, if only there were a switch.

The other day, in a paint-peeling hangar of a room at the foot of the island, David Byrne, the artist and musician, placed his finger on a switch that did exactly the opposite: it made such music on purpose. The switch was a white key on the bass end of a beat-up Weaver pump organ that was practically the only thing sitting inside the old Great Hall of the Battery Maritime Building, a 99-year-old former ferry terminal at the end of Whitehall Street that has sat mostly dormant for more than a half-century.


The organ’s innards had been replaced with relays and wires and light blue air hoses. And when the key was pressed, a 110-volt motor strapped to a girder high up in the room’s ceiling began to vibrate, essentially playing the girder and producing a deafening low hum — like one of the tuba tones played by the mother ship in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Or, if you were less charitably inclined, like a truck on Canal Street with a loose muffler. Mr. Byrne ran his fingers up the keyboard, causing more hums and whines, moans and plunks and clinks until he came to a key that seemed to do nothing.

“We’re not getting any register on that bottom one anymore,” he said, sending two artist-technicians up onto a scaffold to figure out why a certain magnetic knocker was not turning one of the room’s giant Corinthian columns — topped by upended, gaping dolphins — into a kind of architectural castanet.

The project Mr. Byrne has created with support from the public-art organization Creative Time is a kind of twist on the projects Creative Time has brought into being since it started helping artists use the city as a canvas in 1974. Often the organization finds dilapidated, neglected, historically rich buildings, and artists create installations inside, as the British artist Mike Nelson did last year when he turned a wing of the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side into a dimly lighted labyrinth. The ferry-terminal project, called, appropriately enough, “Playing the Building,” opens at noon on Saturday.

But in the case of Mr. Byrne — a founder of the Talking Heads who has been a visual artist as long as he has been a musician and producer — the Beaux-Arts terminal itself has become the installation, or at least a stunning, 9,000-square-foot part of it that once served as a soaring waiting room for passengers who came there to board ferries bound for South Brooklyn. The building has been one of those glorious Manhattan antiques caught in a decades-long time warp, not used for major ferry service since 1938. Plans to have it house everything from a children’s museum to a dance troupe to even Creative Time’s offices have fallen through over the years, and now a developer has been chosen to rehabilitate the terminal and build a hotel atop it.

At least for the next two and a half months, though, the building will simply serve as a gargantuan cast-iron orchestra. Besides being fitted with several motors, which produce the bass sounds by vibrating a set of girders that once supported a stained-glass skylight in the 40-foot-high ceiling, the organ is attached to a pump that blows air through a tangle of hoses. These hoses snake into the huge room’s old water and heating pipes and conduits, making primitive flute sounds. And then there are more than a dozen spring-loaded solenoids, attached like woodpeckers to the columns and even to a linebacker-size radiator that emits a surprisingly sonorous tone when struck in just the right place with a metal rod.

When you get both hands busy on the keyboard — as anyone who comes to see the work will be allowed to do — the room roars and clatters to life, seeming to harbor an invisible band playing something written by Philip Glass in collaboration with the Stooges, a Japanese sho virtuoso and a kitchen full of 3-year-olds with pots and ladles.

Working on the project recently in his SoHo studio, Mr. Byrne said he had generally avoided music-related art projects because he did not want his reputation as a musician to become confused with such work.

But when he was invited several years ago to propose a piece for Fargfabriken, a gallery space in a former factory in Stockholm, he began thinking about how to turn a building into an instrument. (One of his ideas for the Swedish project was to build a huge microwave oven inside the hall.) He had inherited the out-of-tune pump organ from a friend who was moving out of his print studio in the meatpacking district. And so Mr. Byrne used the organ to create the first version of “Playing the Building” in 2005.

Because he generally likes to distance his art from his music, Mr. Byrne has not composed pieces for the building-organ and does not plan to play it publicly. But he said he hoped the project would say something about the direction of popular music.

“I’m not suggesting people abandon musical instruments and start playing their cars and apartments, but I do think the reign of music as a commodity made only by professionals might be winding down,” he said in a discussion about the piece with Anne Pasternak, the project’s curator and Creative Time’s president. “The imminent demise of the large record companies as gatekeepers of the world’s popular music is a good thing, for the most part.”

The music that will soon be heard from the maritime building’s infrastructure and the organ, with assistance from a stream of visitors over the summer, is essentially “authorless,” but “strongly directed,” he said.

With only four days left before the doors opened, Mr. Byrne and two people who helped build the piece, Mark McNamara and Justin Downs, were working hard one recent afternoon to arrange the organ’s keyboard so that it played the building roughly from low notes to high — very roughly. (“Nobody’s going to be able to play Bach on it,” Mr. Byrne said.)

A white rubber mallet, useful early on for determining the lyrical quality of rusty steam pipes and girders, lay atop the organ. And even with the sun streaming through the room’s expansive skylight, there was an element of gothic ghostliness about the setup, a prim-looking church organ commanding an empty waiting room. (By way of unintentional back story, to add a little extra eeriness, in 1885 The New York Times reported that J. O. Weaver, a member of the family that owned the Weaver Organ Manufacturing Company of York, Pa., became “violently deranged” in a Dallas hotel room and committed suicide by cutting his throat “from ear to ear” with a razor.)

Mr. Byrne, wearing a straw fedora with a feather stuck in the band, seemed to grow momentarily bored with architectural harmonies and took a visitor through a doorway into a shadowy hall that led to a seemingly darker history for the building: two empty meat lockers and a tiled room with a drain that might have been an abattoir, perhaps once used for supplying meat to Governors Island, whose ferry leaves from the slips below.

“There’s some really weird stuff back here,” he said.

Then he grabbed his backpack and headed out to another appointment uptown, by means of that weirdest and most musical New York City instrument of all, the subway.

“Playing the Building” opens on Saturday at noon and will continue on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from noon to 6 p.m., through Aug. 10 at the Battery Maritime Building, 10 South Street, Lower Manhattan; (212) 206-6674 or Admission is free.

Fuente: NYT

Bob the Builder

mayo 17, 2008

Collage by Robert Rauschenberg; courtesy David Byrne

I APPROACHED Bob Rauschenberg in the mid-’80s to design a cover for the Talking Heads record “Speaking in Tongues.” I had recently seen some of his black-and-white photo collages at Leo Castelli’s gallery on West Broadway and thought they were amazing, and I wondered what he would do with an LP cover.

It was not unusual for a pop musician to approach a fine artist in those days; other contemporary artists had collaborated with pop bands in the late ’60s and early ’70s. I was pleasantly surprised, though, when Bob, who died this week, eschewed simply reproducing a work on the album jacket in favor of re-envisioning what the whole LP package could be.

His package consisted of a conceptual collage piece in which the color separation layers — the cyan, magenta and yellow images that combined to make one full-color image — were, well, deconstructed. Only by rotating the LP and the separate plastic disc could one see — and then only intermittently — the three-color images included in the collage. It was a transparent explication of how the three-color process works, yet in this case, one could never see all the full-color images at the same time, as Bob had perversely scrambled the separations.

Needless to say, the design posed some production problems for Warner Bros. Records, so it ended up a limited, but very large, 50,000-copy edition, released in addition to the regular, mass-produced version. Luckily, everyone shared in the crazy idea of making radical art that could also be popular. Nowadays there might be concerns about the return on investment, but at that time the label let these matters slide.

I later became friends with Bob and his collaborators, and it was an incredible world to enter. I sensed immediately that Bob had never become cynical about his work. Even after he found success, he continued to see the world as a work of art that simply hadn’t been framed yet.

Bob’s way of talking was a challenge to many — he spoke in constant puns and metaphors, like a stream-of-consciousness poet, and one had to suspend traditional forms of speech, understanding and discourse and go with the flow. It was liberating, if you could hang in there, and never mundane. Conversation was like one of his pieces: a crazy mishmash of images, multiple layers and references, and a spray of allusions that were simultaneously silly, profound and beautiful — he was the Neal Cassady of the art world. His life, and his relation to those around him, was just like his work; there was no separation and he never went out of character. The love of the world that was in the work was also in the man.

Bob drank heavily. In the ’80s, I discovered him once at his studio on Lafayette Street, in mid-afternoon, with a glass of Jack in his hand. I, rock ’n’ roll guy, was amazed to see an established artist living one aspect of the rock ’n’ roll life much more intensely than I ever dared. I did wonder if some of the beautiful jumps and leaps in his conversation were partly alcohol-related, but his output remained transcendent, so I figured he was managing it.

Being around Bob was often like being on some kind of ecstatic drug — he inspired those around him to not only think outside of the box, but to question the box’s very existence. He was driven to challenge himself. For his globe-spanning project, Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange, Bob collaborated with artisans and small factories in Chile, China, Cuba, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Soviet Union, Tibet and Venezuela over many years. In pre-“it is glorious to be rich” China, Bob worked with the oldest paper manufacturer in the world, while in India he worked with mud-manure straw clay. Suspicious of Bob’s motives, some countries forced him to wade through red tape, and his open attitude toward materials and creativity occasionally confounded his traditional artisan collaborators. The results, though, were sometimes wonderful, especially when he managed to break his own mold.

Bob was extraordinarily generous. I don’t mean he gave away art — though he did that, too — but he was generous with his time and with his ideas and spirit. He started Change Inc., a foundation that awards grants to emerging artists who can’t pay their rent, utility or medical bills. No questions asked.

He was, of course, famous for making art out of everyday junk he found on the street. One summer I went down to Captiva Island, Fla., where Bob had his main studio. I stayed across the road in one of the houses he had “saved,” and I spent a week or so writing a few songs. When I returned to New York, I left behind a pair of worn-out tennis shoes. A ghostly image of them showed up in a painting not long after.

Bob’s generosity of vision was, it seemed to me, more profound than the financial kind. His openness and way of seeing was contagious and inspired others in their own work — not to imitate and make pseudo-Rauschenbergs, but to see the whole world as a work of art. As corny as that may sound, that’s what he sometimes did.

David Byrne is a musician and visual artist.

Fuente: NYT

Quisqueya en Nueva York

noviembre 15, 2007


Jugando con la adversidad (Playing with Adversity), 2001



A 2002 work by Quisqueya Henríquez, on view at the Bronx Museum.

Published: October 26, 2007
In a cryptic black-and-white photograph by Quisqueya Henríquez, the shadow of a woman lying on a Bauhaus-style recliner is cast on a blank wall. At the Bronx Museum of the Arts, where the picture is included in a lucid, compact survey of Ms. Henríquez’s wry, cerebral art, a label explains that the picture is a takeoff on a photograph of Charlotte Perriand on a chaise she designed with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. Ms. Henríquez’s work shows only the shadow — of herself, in a similar chair — and thereby, the label says, “makes a telling comment on the assumption that Modernism in Latin America was a mere shadow of European Modernism.”

In whatever form she works — sculpture, installations, collage, video — Ms. Henríquez tends to come up with ideologically suggestive one-liners generated by her preoccupation with the gap between international modern art and the local, vernacular arts and cultures of Latin America. Born in Cuba in 1966 and now living in the Dominican Republic, she has been included in numerous solo and international group exhibitions in North and South America, but is still not well known in New York.

A recent video called “On the Map (Yellow on Yellow)” presents a blank yellow screen with subtitles in yellow type displaying transcripts of sensational television news reports from Spanish-language television: stories about a kidnapping, the births of a deformed horse and a premature baby, and so on. While the color and the text refer to yellow journalism, the blank screen and the parenthetical title “Yellow on Yellow” refer to the famous Malevich painting “White on White” and to the Modernist dream of pure abstraction.

In a computer-animated work called “Bumpers,” high-definition flat screens present all-white images of tubular bus bumpers that become progressively filled in with vibrant colors. This refers to Dominican bus drivers’ practice of painting their front bumpers in beautiful decorator colors. At the same time the disembodied images call to mind abstract paintings of the 1960s by artists like Frank Stella and Kenneth Noland.

A video called “Intertextuality” that shows a chicken wandering around on a city street has been altered to give it the high-contrast darks and lights and the intense, fruity color of an Andy Warhol painting.

The effect of such works is to conflate in the viewer’s mind two habitually separated realms: that of rarefied high art and that of popular culture and ordinary life. The larger significance for Ms. Henríquez is in the perception that the world’s ruling cultures have tended to claim high art for themselves while granting to the Southern hemispheres the “lower” orders of vernacular, folk and tribal arts.

The problem is that academic discourse has made these themes familiar. Lately, legions of critics, art historians and curators have been rushing to analyze and redress the North’s historic devaluation of Latin American modern art. So her works tend to read not as challenging revelations of cultural blindness but as clever, formulaic affirmations of currently accepted truths.

There is, moreover, something too pat about many of her efforts. An early work consists of two piles of cotton thread produced by unraveling a piece of canvas. One pile is the warp, the other the weft, and thus the art of painting is deconstructed into its material essentials. A little too neatly, perhaps.

Recent sculptures consist of various balls produced by major sporting goods manufacturers that have been altered as if by indigenous folk artists. Tennis balls, footballs and basketballs have been cut up, turned inside out and otherwise manipulated and transformed into wallets, purses, hats and other useful or decorative commodities. Again, it’s about the intersection of international corporate culture and local folk culture, with an implied critique of deracinating global capitalism added.

If there is a certain psychic shallowness about all this, it may be that Ms. Henríquez tends to favor a high-minded, programmatic intellectualism over more intuitive, imaginative possibilities. In her attractive color street photographs she seems to be searching for a deeper engagement with the world, but her pictures of juxtaposed objects that are like found sculptures are so much like photographs by Gabriel Orozco that you feel that she’s working not from life but from a kind of ready-made template.

There is one unusually poignant video in which you look out from a dark room through a rough hole in the wall near the floor. You see the feet of a man who is dancing to the sound of a merengue song. It creates a sad sense of longing to get out, to get free of the imprisoning cell and to join the dancer. It’s as if Ms. Henríquez herself were yearning to escape the strictures of her cool, formulaic conceptualism.

“The World Outside: A Survey Exhibition 1991-2007” continues through Jan. 27 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, at 165th Street, Morrisania; (718) 681-6000,

link: the bronx museum

Fuente: TheNewYorkTimes

Paul Klee

octubre 28, 2006


Paul Klee (18 de diciembre de 1879 – 29 de junio de 1940) pintor suizo . Su nombre se pronuncia /pául klée/ en alemán (y no /pol klíi/, como en inglés).
Klee nació en Münchenbuchsee, cerca de Berna, Suiza, en una familia de músicos. Estudió arte en Múnich con Heinrich Knirr y Franz von Stuck. Al regresar de un viaje a Italia, se asentó en Múnich, donde conoció a László Moholy-Nagy, Vassily Kandinsky, Hans Marc y otras figuras de vanguardia, y se asoció al Blaue Reiter.


Autorretrato, 1919, Oleo sobre yute.

En 1914, visitó Túnez y quedó impresionado con la calidad de la luz del lugar, por lo que escribió en su diario: “El color me posee, no tengo necesidad de perseguirlo, sé que me posee para siempre… el color y yo somos una sola cosa. Soy pintor.”

Klee trabajaba en óleo, acuarela, tinta y otros materiales, generalmente combinándolos en un solo trabajo. Sus cuadros frecuentemente aluden a la poesía, la música y los sueños, y a veces incluyen palabras o notas musicales.


“Il giardino del templo” Acuarela, 1920.

Luego de la Primera Guerra Mundial, Klee enseñó en la Bauhaus, y a partir de 1931, en la Academia Düsseldorf, antes de ser denunciado por los nazis por producir «arte degenerado».

Como profesor de la Bauhaus escribió un pequeño libro de texto de teoría del arte: “Paedagogisches Skizzenbuch”, o libro de apuntes pedagógico, se convertiría en el libro oficial de la escuela. Su influencia continúa hoy en las escuelas de arte de todo el mundo.


“Sinbad el marino” 1928. Oleo sobre yute.

En 1933 dejó la enseñanza y regresó a Berna, donde realizó una gran exposición en la Kunsthalle (1935). Al presentarse los primeros síntomas de una grave enfermedad, disminuyó su trabajo. En 1940 fue internado en una clínica de Muralto-Locarno, donde falleció el 29 de junio.


Centro Paul Klee de Berna, del arquitecto Renzo Piano.

– slideshow y música de Jimjimblund

Jardinería con Oscar Oiwa: nuevas pinturas

octubre 7, 2006


Oscar Oiwa

Black Snow (Neve Negra), 2004
Oleo sobre tela, 227 x 455 cm.
Colección de ASU Art Museum; comprador con fondos provenientes de the Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Foundation y la FUNd at Arizona State University.

El ASU Art Museum presenta la primera exposición en los Estados Unidos de pinturas de Oscar Oiwa, el artista nacido en Brasil, de ascendencia japonesa, se encuentra actualmente entre los pintores con más logros que plasman el impacto de la globalización en la sociedad. La exposición está acompañada de un catálogo.

Leer + >>>


Art Nexus