Real Art Ways
NONE OF THE ABOVE
Contemporary Work by
Puerto Rican Artists
May 1 – October 3, 2004
Real Art Ways
Hartford, Connecticut www.realartways.org
Image: Allora & Calzadilla,
“Returning a Sound”, 2004, video. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel,
Featuring Manuel Acevedo, Allora & Calzadilla, Javier Cambre, Nayda Collazo-Llorens, Dzine, Cari Gonzalez-Casanova, Ivelisse Jimenez, Charles Juhasz-Alvarado, Ignacio Lang, Malika, Arnaldo Morales, Bea Santiago Muñoz, Enoc Perez, Carlos Rivera and Chemi Rosado Seijo.
Curated by Silvia Karman Cubina, Deborah Cullen and Steven Holmes.
NONE OF THE ABOVE: Contemporary Work by Puerto Rican Artists proposes a new way of seeing and thinking about Puerto Rican art, re-shaping the standard curatorial frameworks that have tended to privilege nationalism, identity politics and/or geography in their treatment of Puerto Rican contemporary art.
This exhibition and its accompanying catalogue identify a strong critical and aesthetic strain within contemporary Puerto Rican art practice that is best described as a kind of Neo-Conceptualism, interacting with and responding to a wide array of global concerns and interests, broad topics such as gender, consumerism, world history, film and literature. While the works negotiate location, politics, and identity on certain levels, these are not primary topics. The artists in None of the Above are somewhat distinct from artists who have been popularly selected to represent Puerto Rico – and whose agendas are decidedly more personal or nationalistic explorations of identity, including well-known artists such as Antonio Martorell, Pepon Osorio and Juan Sanchez. One of the premises of this project is that despite conceptual art, minimal art, interactions and performative “body” art (among others) having been pioneered since the 1960s by Puerto Rican artists of the period, these contributions have been under recognized due to the overriding problematic of Puerto Rico’s – and Puerto Ricans’ – status.
The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Frances Negron Muntaner’s forthcoming book of the same name. Politically, Puerto Rico is considered an “Estado Libre Associado,” literally, a “free associated state,” or a commonwealth, of the United States. While its residents carry U.S. passports, are locally autonomous and receive Federal benefits, they are unable to vote in U.S. Presidential elections. A plebiscite held on December 13, 1998 in Puerto Rico asked the 71.3% who turned out their opinion on the geopolitical position of the Island. While 46.5% opted for statehood, only 2.5% chose independence, and even less (0.4%) wished to maintain the status of territorial commonwealth – the so-called “Free Association.” Interestingly, a majority of votes (50.3%) were cast for “none of the above,” perhaps in a bid to reject political machinations and either-or polarities, and to bring the question to a new way of conceiving status.
While the exhibition is not an historical survey, a critical catalogue will address to some degree will the antecedents of current practice by looking at the earlier practices of artists such as Rafael Montanez Ortiz, Carlos Irizarry, Rafael Ferrer, Papo Colo, Nestor Otero, Felix Gonzalez Torres, Edin Velez and others.
For more information please call 860.232.1006 or visit www.realartways.org/nota