Latinx Abstract is a groundbreaking exhibition, focusing on the work of ten contemporary artists who work with varied media and approaches, and are united by their dedication to abstract languages. The exhibition includes work by figures who are relatively young and whose careers span little more than a decade, to those who have been active for a half century or more. This cross-generational representation is central to the exhibition, demonstrating that abstraction is an enduring, if overlooked, tendency among Latinx artists. These artists produce work that falls outside expected notions of “Latinx art” — if such a category even exists. Their bodies of work are neither figurative nor culturally specific nor political in the traditional or overt sense. Nevertheless, their allegiance to this mode can be viewed as a form of political expression when art that embodies race and ethnicity, or that displays emblems of culture, are seen by many as the legible, acceptable norm. Exhibition artists include Candida Alvarez, Karlos Cárcamo, Maria Chávez, Alejandro Guzmán, Glendalys Medina, Freddy Rodríguez, Fanny Sanín, Mary Valverde, Vargas-Suarez Universal, and Sarah Zapata.
The history of abstract art in the United States is predicated on a long established narrative, one that champions certain voices, movements and regions, and that promulgates this narrative through major museum exhibitions and permanent collections, academic courses, and in the writings of scholars and critics. Efforts by many art historians and curators over the last two decades have worked to rewrite this view of art history, bringing to the forefront much that had been excluded, especially the oeuvres of such African American artists as Norman Lewis, Alma Thomas, and Howardena Pindell. An even more comprehensive history, one that would consider numerous, diverse artists whose oeuvres should be contextualized on their own terms as well as within the history of American art, would include many Latinx artists, who remain largely absent from the critical discourse on abstraction.
Significantly, the artwork in this exhibition reveals an unusually broad range of sources and influences, not only the oeuvres of canonical abstract artists from the last century, but also, more individual and idiosyncratic sources — Indigenous cultures in the Americas; mathematics, astronomy, and computer science; and aspects of popular culture like graffiti and hip hop. These bodies of work express, on the one hand, a desire to push against limitations and stereotypical expectations imposed upon Latinx artists and on the other, the need to reassess the scope and history of abstract art itself.
CURATED BY ELIZABETH FERRER
Exhibition Date: January 21, 2021 - August 31, 2021
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