Archive for the 'Essays' Category

Chile: 7 days in Santiago, 1 day in Valparaíso

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

During the month of March I was invited by R.I.C. (Residencias de Investigación Curatorial, a project initiated by curator Alexia Tala and collector Pedro Montes) to visit Santiago, Chile for one week to research the city’s cultural scene, including artists, alternative spaces, and museums. Although well aware of the perils of the flash visit and the impressions that this kind of format can produce, I nonetheless felt compelled to write a brief account of my experience in Santiago (and Valparaíso) and the conversations that ensued there. I have always been suspicious of the brief curatorial research trip and its subsequent text -a format now common among the transnational curatorial elite- fearing its inevitable becoming into a travelogue of superficial accounts and glib first impressions.

Havana Part 1: Some Shows and a Studio Visit

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

View of Havana from the roof of Espacio Tercer Piso. It’s so easy to fall into a cliché when trying to describe a city such as Havana, but one cannot help but feel as if in a time warp; a time where technology had yet to replace physical interaction and where all the luxuries of [...]

Raquel Torres Arzola at AREA

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Installation View. The Thousand and One Nights.

There are times when unexpectedly an artist breaks away from a trend. Puerto Rico, an island with many creative minds but few institutional frameworks to support them, has been recently the site for works that either confront its ambiguous political situation, rather directly and simplistically, or limit themselves to trivial representations of tropical clichés and its derivative forms. It is precisely in these characteristics that this exhibition stands out. Currently an MFA candidate at the San Francisco Art Institute, Raquel Torres-Arzola, who has been working under the tutelage of her advisor artist Victor Vázquez, has put together a thought provoking and intelligent exhibition at AREA that addresses domestic as well as dogmatic power structures, but also posits sculpture as a formal and conceptual language of materials by which the intangible is materialized.[...]

Busy Bees: An essay by Deborah Cullen, Chief Curator, 2012 Trienal Poli/Gráfica de San Juan

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Charles Juhász-Alvarado

Sometimes artists do it better than curators. Oftentimes, in fact, they get right to the heart of the matter without our didactic curatorial worries. The project at Casa de los Contrafuertes, convened by Charles Juhász-Alvarado (with Néstor Barreto), shows rather than tells. It is a must-see event. Inspired by the theme set forth for this year’s Trienal Poli/gráfica de San Juan, “El Panal/The Hive,” these busy bees have enacted a hive of their own, thus affirming the curatorial premise that artists working with other artists remains a powerful and productive creative force.[...]

The Dialectic City: Document | Context at Laboratorio de Artes Binarios

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Hey there! Below you can find the catalogue essay for the exhibition The Dialectic City: Document | Context that closed last November at Laboratorio de Artes Binarios. Enjoy! -Carla Acevedo-Yates “To capture a city in an image means following its movement.” Nicolas Bourriaud, The Radicant The city is comprised of colliding elements; conflicting mechanisms that through [...]

Quintín Rivera Toro at METRO

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Quintín Rivera Toro’s most recent exhibition titled Allafuera, currently on view at METRO:plataformaorganizada in San Juan, is comprised of a general survey of new works and a presentation of several ongoing series that the artist has been working on for several years. Although the works are presented devoid of curatorial strategies, through them, the viewer can sense a personal approach consequent to the artist’s immediate environment, that combined with political proclamations seems to evoke a sense of agitation and unrest. Ideas related to hopelessness, desire and futility prevail as relevant themes to explore within the context of Rivera Toro’s recent artistic production.[...]

Manolo Rodríguez: Concerning Methods of Propulsion

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

  Ingenious Displacements: Hope and Failure in the Works of Manolo Rodríguez Flight has been the dream of mankind for centuries. A lofty desire inspired by nature, present in most mythologies, ancient cultures and religions, from Greek mythology to Persian literature and Christianism. In these, flying suggests divinity, winged flight a province of the gods [...]

Jason Kraus – Moments of Suspended Disbelief

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Jason Kraus, 3 Gas Tanks. Courtesy of Redling Fine Art.

Jason Kraus (1983, New York) is a young promising artist who recently graduated from the California Institute of the Arts. Since then, he has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles and New York, and recently collaborated with Martin Kersels in a one-night performance at the Whitney Museum titled Jason Martin wants to be a DJ. Demonstrating an interdisciplinary approach, Kraus’ artistic practice is often the result of a private performance, where the final object produced proposes narratives meant for the viewer to construe. The experience of viewing his work invokes instances of what the artist defines as suspended disbelief, where he keeps the viewer thinking if what he sees is found or fabricated. But with so much talk lately of the hyperreal and the simulated in our visual landscape, does it really even matter anymore?[...]

Readings of the Apparently Invisible. An essay on Spectroscopies: Memory and History at the MUAC Mexico City

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Video Still from Untitled, Juan Pablo Macías. Courtesy of the artist.

Spectroscopies was conceived as a critical response to the commemorative furor that pervaded the cultural production and consumption in Mexico (because it was imposed) during the years 2009 and 2010. Whether it was because they were included in the corresponding exhibitions of the official celebrations for the start of the struggle for Independence of Mexico (1810) and the beginning of the revolutionary struggle for the establishment of a representative democratic government (1910), participating in the institutional activities associated with it, or because their labor was required for the realization of mass entertainment, very few members of the diverse artistic communities of the country were indifferent to the “centennial fever.”[...]

Habacuc and the imperatives of beauty, kindness and truth

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

habacuc 1 Habacuc and the imperatives of beauty, kindness and truth

The article we are featuring today as a part of our week-long 1 year celebration is on an extremely controversial work that made worldwide headlines in the arts and human rights communities. I am talking about Guillermo Vargas “Habacuc,” the infamous Costa Rican artist who tied up a stray dog during a show and left him to starve to prove a point. Adán Vallecillo’s essay eloquently explains not just the ethical problems the work poses, but the economic and political reasons that motivated the work; ideas that are seemingly completely obscured by the shocking nature of the work.[...]


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