El Museo del Barrio’s Urban Martyrs and Latter-Day Santos is the first museum survey of the Nuyorican artist Rodríguez Calero and the second in a series of five women-artist retrospectives in El Museo’s current five-year plan
Guest-curated by Alejandro Anreus, the installation includes 29 large acrollage canvases, 19 smaller collages, 13 fotacrolés (altered photography) on canvas board, and 3 works of mixed media on paper focusing on the artist’s figurative investigations as well as a fusion of popular urban/hip hop cultural figures, Renaissance and religious motifs and iconography.
Rodríguez Calero creates vibrant and multilayered collages, a style of painting she calls ‘acrollage’, building layered images that strike a form of visual balance between spirituality and urbanity.
“Everything is evolving, everyday we’re evolving, and it’s part of the process. What I do, what is created next, it depends what’s happening. I’m really an intuitive painter, it’s not that I don’t have a sense of technique, but really it’s best to know how to push your pieces, always. I don’t want to be satisfied because you can be satisfied with something simple,” said Calero. “I’m very honoured that Alejandro Anreus, the curator, just invited me. It’s home. It’s the community, I’ve worked in this community, and really it’s a great honour to be here, and to be a Puerto Rican woman is a honour because there is a tendency to show Puerto Rican men. But, it’s really the work that stands out, if I say so myself.”
“The survey includes portrayals of men and women of colour, bearing the urban experience in the pose of their bodies, while giving witness to the sacredness of life, sometimes in the midst of trial and alienation,” explains show’s press release.
Urban Martyrs and Latter Day Santos is the second instalment in El Museo’s now-annual series of women-artist retrospectives. It is the first museum survey, however, of Calero’s work—a fact which El Museo’s executive director Jorge Daniel Veneciano responded to with, “Greater recognition for the hip-hop and Byzantine work of Rodríguez Calero is long overdue. No one in contemporary art makes a clearer case for collage as the natural medium for hip-hop culture.”
To see more works by Rodriguez go to: www.rodzcalero.com
Where: El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104 St, New York City www.elmuseo.org/roca
When: July 22 until October 17 2015
* All images courtesy of the artist.
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