Art Exhibition: “Caribbean, Crossroads of the World”

Around the corner, we have the major exhibition “Caribbean: Crossroads of the World,” which will be on view to the public at three institutions in New York City: Queens Museum of Art, from June 17, 2012 to January 6, 2013; El Museo del Barrio, from June 12, 2012 to January 6, 2013; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, from June 14, 2012 to October 21, 2012 (see previous post Three museums partner on major Caribbean exhibition). [Visitors who purchase one full price admission at any of the above venues will be issued a CARIBBEAN PASSPORT, which grants its holder access to free admission at the other two venues during the duration of the exhibition.]

Description: Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, an ambitious and trailblazing exhibition, will highlight over two centuries of rarely-seen works from the Haitian Revolution (c. 1804) to the present. The show features more than 500 works—including painting, sculpture, prints, books, photography, film, video and historic artifacts from various Caribbean nations, Europe and the United States—illuminating changing aesthetics and ideologies and provoke meaningful conversations about topics ranging from commerce and cultural hybridity to politics and pop culture. The exhibitions examine the exchange of people, goods, ideas and information between the Caribbean basin and its diaspora.

Counterpoints reflects on the economic developments of the Caribbean, focusing on the shift from plantation systems and commodities such as sugar, tobacco, and banana to the energy and tourism industries, which have had tremendous aesthetic and social impact while proving to be a source of wealth and conflict.

Patriot Acts studies the central role that creole culture and notions of hybridity, supported by newly empowered local economic forces, play in the configuration of national and regional discourses of identity, and how artists and intellectuals often pitted traditional, academic aesthetics against the “authentic,” indigenous and African heritages of the Caribbean.

Fluid Motions examines the complexities of the geographical and geopolitical realities of a region made up of islands and coastal areas, connected and separated by bodies of water, where human and natural forces collide, and commercial routes has often camouflaged foreign imperial ambitions.

Kingdoms of this World considers the amazing variety of visual systems, languages, cultures and religions that co-exist in the Caribbean, and their role in the development of popular traditions such as syncretic religions, popular music genres, newly created languages, and the carnival.

Shades of History explores the significance of race and its relevance to the history and visual culture of the Caribbean, beginning with the pivotal moment of the Haitian Revolution in 1791. Race is analyzed as a trigger for discussions on human rights, social status, national identity, and beauty.

Land of the Outlaw addresses the dual images of the Caribbean as a Utopian place of pleasure and a land of deviance and illicit activity, and how they intertwine in a myriad foundational myths and mediatic stereotypes (from pirates and zombies to dictators and drug smugglers) that are now part of global popular culture.

[Image above: Puerto Rican artist Arnaldo Roche Rabell’s 1986 “We Have to Dream in Blue”]

For more information, see http://www.elmuseo.org/en/event/caribbean-crossroads-world

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