New Book: No existe un mundo poshuracan: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria, Marcela Guerrero

Point to a historical trauma and aesthetic shifts are not far behind. Hurricane Maria and the botched U.S. response in Puerto Rico checks all the contemporary preoccupations: xenophobia, the question of nation-states, and the disproportionate impact of climate inaction. No existe is a collection of Puerto Rican art that was made in response to Maria — and as Marcela Guerrero, an assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, writes in the book’s introduction, Maria is merely the tide that swept away any pretense that America’s relationship with the island is a tenable situation. Take Gamaliel Rodríguez’s Collapsed Soul, one of the pieces included in the book: It renders ships, surrounded by serene blue clouds, getting swallowed by a gray abyss — an acknowledgement of the island’s colonial past as well as its first reported COVID-19 death: a tourist on a cruise ship on the way to the island.

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