Duly Noted: 5 Signs Puerto Rico’s Artists are Finally Getting Their Dues

[Many thanks to Miguel Luciano for bringing this item to our attention.] Here are excerpts from an excellent review by Jacoba Urist focusing on art by Puerto Rican artists. From the MAC’s “Tropical is Political” to the upcoming exhibition by Daniel Lind-Ramos at MoMA PS1, Urist offers the readers reasons to engage with the Puerto Rican art scene. Please read full article at Cultured magazine.

Infinitely more than idyllic beaches and a Crypto haven, Puerto Rico has long been a hotbed of significant artists—though, like its citizenry, too often relegated—to second class status in the global sphere. On a personal note, the commonwealth has been a kind of second home to my family, a model of resilience over the last four decades, following Hurricane Hugo and Maria’s recovery, compounded by the pandemic’s public health inequities. For years, artists have generously opened their studios to me, and at last, the archipelago’s painters and sculptors are receiving their severely overdue flowers from the art world’s gatekeepers.

Tropical Is Political 

I’ve been eagerly awaiting “Tropical is Political: Caribbean Art Under the Visitor Economy Regime” at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (MAC) in Santurce. The institution, which is located in a former schoolhouse, is my favorite museum in the U.S., both for its architecture and its activist-cum-relief mission, which has made it a beacon for art institutions in the age of climate crisis. 

Inside the impeccable, Neoclassical building with a soaring, glass-canopied courtyard (a center for post-Maria aid residents in need), the show from curator-to-watch Marina Reyes Franco probes the burdens of tourism on Caribbean artists and the allure of paradise aesthetics. Confronting notions of the island as both a natural and a tax Eden, Franco gathers works from Allora & Calzadilla, Ricardo Cabret, Dalton Gata, Viveca Vázquez, Yiyo Tirado, among others beyond Puerto Rico. As the organizer writes in her essay, the show includes artists whose “diverse strategies and media to highlight the conditions of life and the works of art which emerge in a region besieged by commercialization of its people and land under the visitor economy regime.” 

The Most Exciting Space in San Juan

San Juan’s art scene has risen steadily since the aughts, but one locale emerges as a standout: Embajada. Established by husband-and-wife team Christopher Rivera and Manuela Paz in 2015, the Hato Ray gallery features a program of influential Latinx and diasporic artists thanks to their peerless eye and passion for local talent. [. . .]

Soft Portals” is on view through April 15, 2023, and “Radamés ‘Juni’ Figueroa” will be on view from April 29 through June 1, 2023 at Embajada in San Juan. [. . .]

The Not-to-Miss Nonprofit

Artist-run El Kilometro is another of the island’s must-visit art spaces. Opened last night and on view through early May is the gallery’s third edition of “Untitled III,” a set of exhibitions on the fundamentals of drawing, as defined by a conceptually expansive set of works in the medium. [. . .]

Untitled III” will be on view through May 6, 2023 at Km 0.2 at 802 Ave. Roberto H. Todd in San Juan, Puerto Rico. [. . .]

Because You’ll Regret if This Gets by You

For those of you still in New York, run—don’t walk—to the final days of the Whitney Museum’s “no existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria” before it closes next month. On September 20, 2017, the category four storm ravaged Puerto Rico, revealing the deep vulnerabilities of a broken system. The exhibition, whose opening last fall was timed with the fifth anniversary of the disaster, is the first major U.S. survey of Puerto Rican art in nearly half a century, and presents 20 artists from the island and the diaspora intoning the political, economic, and cultural web of Hurricane Maria. The event was an inflection point for the archipelago, and what better way to heed its collective emotional call than through the paintings, video, and photography of artists such as Edra Soto, Danielle De Jesus, Miguel Luciano, and Gamaliel Rodriguez. 

no existe un mundo poshuracán” is on view through April 23, 2023, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. [. . .]

In My Queue

The hotly-anticipated exhibition of acclaimed Puerto Rican artist Daniel Lind-Ramos opens at MoMA PS1 next month. The 10 striking sculptures and two videos in “El Viejo Griot—Una historia de todos nosotros” meld centuries of Afro-Caribbean identity with the spiritual perseverance of the Puerto Rican people. Lind-Ramos’s large-scale assemblages cut a ghostly, lyrical presence: the visual incarnation of Hurricane Maria’s protracted aftermath and Covid disparities on the island. [. . .]

El Viejo Griot—Una historia de todos nosotros” will be on view from April 20 through September 4, 2023 at MoMA PS1 in New York. [. . .]

Please read full article at https://www.culturedmag.com/article/2023/03/30/puerto-rico-san-juan-new-york-exhibitions

[Shown above: Carolina Caycedo, “Let Us Tell You About the Bonds of Puerto Rico,” 2020. Image courtesy of the artist and MAC.]

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