Miguel Luciano in “Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond”


Ken Johnson writes (not too flatteringly) about the ongoing exhibition “Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond” in his article “‘Crossing Brooklyn,’ Local Talent at Brooklyn Museum” (The New York Times, 2 October 2014). One of the featured participants is Brooklyn-based Puerto Rican artist Miguel Luciano [see previous posts Tonight: Screening of the smARTpower Documentaries at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and Charles Juhász-Alvarado, Miguel Luciano, and Guerra de la Paz at Exit Art].

All conceivable kinds of artists live and work in Brooklyn. They come from all over the United States and the world. Many of them exhibit regularly in high-profile galleries. Tons more — veterans as well as up-and-comers — are not well known but worthy of notice. So “Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond,” an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum billed as a “major survey” of Brooklyn-based artists, should be exciting and revelatory.

Disappointingly, it’s not. Organized by Eugenie Tsai, the museum’s contemporary-art curator, and Rujeko Hockley, an assistant curator, this anodyne, 35-artist show favors a particular type of artist: one who engages in the sorts of activities associated with Relational Aesthetics or, more broadly, social practice.

[. . .] The curators focused mainly on artists who venture outside their workshops to try to involve other people in participatory and interactive events. What’s striking about the works selected is how mild they are. There’s little that risks offending or alienating anyone.

In their introduction to the exhibition catalog, Ms. Tsai and Ms. Hockley observe that “artists today seem less interested in ambitious structures and organized movements and more interested in personal response and reaction.” They speak of an “ethos of individual impact and the powerful accretion of microresponses.” They conclude, “We are responsible for our own behavior; through our actions and interactions, we can make a difference in or neighbors’, and our own, lives.” The ideal artist, they seem to think, is a creative, benevolent teacher who helps people learn to share, care and be nicer to one another.

Miguel Luciano, for example, helped children in Kenya make vinyl kites imprinted with their own, life-size photograph portraits. A selection of these is suspended in the museum. Mr. Luciano also created a movable sculpture called “Pimp My Piragua”: a tricycle with a fancy ice box in front that is fashioned like a customized car with a built-in sound system and embedded video screens. With bottles of colored syrups and a block of ice on top, he pedals around town, stopping to serve the Puerto Rican shaved ice confection called piragua. Mr. Luciano will ride the tricycle and offer piraguas to visitors at various times during the exhibition. [. . .]


[Many thanks to Yrsa Dávila for bringing this item to our attention.]

For full article, see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/03/arts/design/crossing-brooklyn-local-talent-at-brooklyn-museum.html

Also see Luciano’s artist’s page at http://www.miguelluciano.com/

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