Climent retrospective-Spaniard in Exile

Until  news of his  retrospective at the Museo de Arte in Juarez arrived, I confess I had never heard of Enrique Climent.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, he was born in 1897 in Valencia, Spain and died in 1980 in Mexico. So his life and his art pretty much covered the 20th century, and that work reveals a skilled craftsman whose work although sometimes seems reminiscent of that  of more widely known artists,  nevertheless shows someone with great skill and a continuing desire to explore varous artistic possibilities.
In the earlier part of the 20th century, he was, among other things, an illustrator, a cartoonist, and an instructor of art in Spain. He spent time with Picasso and others in the European avant- garde, and  then went into exile in Mexico when the Spanish Civil War erupted.

. As might be expected, Mexico was not an easy fit. He apparently was not enamored of the muralists and of course, missed Spain. We see in the early works of this time (early 1940’s) his exploration of the Mexican countryside. There are some really lovely landscapes, which more than anything else reveal his talent and skill.
Later on, in the 50’s and 60’s, we can see him becoming much more comfortable and returning to experimentation, reaching forward and in some cases drawing on the past, but nevertheless exploring his own artistic concerns, which seem to focus on form and volume and abstraction as well as revealing a sense of humor.

The show, co-curated by his daughter Pilar Climent and Brenda Luna Lobato focuses, on his years  in Mexico (1940-1980) with the rooms divided by decades. There are also a series of pen and ink drawings in one cabinet and another containing a hand written letter  in which he explains his method of creating his art and some other mementoes. It also reveals a multi-talented artist who has remained less well-known than he should be,  and which this retrospective, which showed in Mexico City last year,  goes a fair way to change..
Pilar  Climent, has suggested that the works from the 50’s and 60’s are perhaps his best, showing him at his most mature. I would agree, and I also want to point out that these were created when he himself was in his 50’s and 60’s, and it might be instructive in this age which always wants the youngest talent (so it can strangle it in its bed with dollar bills?) to see the worthiness of allowing an artist time to develop his craft and vision. We seem to have no problem allowing wine to age, perhaps we should allow the same for creativity.-david sokolec





Proyectos Impala Leaps Forward

After an incredible amount of work, Alejandro Luperca Morales and friends are taking their mobile art gallery, Proyectos Impala, on the road starting today (April 6). Designed as a means of helping inform the public about contemporary art, they will be traveling around the city parking at various locations for a few days at a time. Todaythey will be parking their movable visual feast (to shamelessly steal from Hemingway) at UACJ-Iada from 3 pm where it will be on exhibition until Friday at 8.
Their first exhibition features Kurt Hollander’s La Arquitectura de Sexo with a talk by the artist.
For more information check out their website at sokolec


MACJ offers Climent Retrospective

This Thursday, April 7, the Museo de Arte se Ciudad Juarez opens a retrospective of Enrique Climent. Climent (1870-1980) was born in Valencia, Spain and during the first part of his life was extremely involved with many of the avantgarde European artists of the early 20th century. He was a professor of art as well as an illustrator and political cartoonist. The Spanish Civil war put paid to that life and he went into exile in Mexico in 1939.
This was not an easy time for him either personally or artistically. He had a singular artistic vision and was extremely attached to Spain. When he had the chance he went back to Spain, but realized he had reached a point where he didn’t fit into Spain and really didn’t fit into Mexico, but nevertheless returned to Mexico where he lived and worked until his death in 1980. The 50’s and 60’s were generally considered some of his most productive times where he experimented with abstraction and other ideas while working to maintain his own distinctive vision.
This show opened at the Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico last year, and there the show consisted of an enormous quantity of drawings, cartoons and other works. Curated by his daughter Pilar Climent, the show fully revealed the full sweep and work of the painter through the decades from the early Spanish years to the productive Mexican ones of the 50’s and 60’s.
The opening is scheduled for 7 pm.-david sokolec

But Can He Tie a Bowtie?

Internationally renowned Mexican sculptor Sebastian, famous locally for his humungous X sculpture in Juarez and his Aguacero sculpture at the international bridge in El Paso  and the new Esfera Cuantica Tlahtolli on the UTEP campus, is showing  a something of a retrospective of 53 works at the El Paso Museum of Art .

Called Knot: The Art of Sebastian, it illustrates through a variety of  media his ongoing  exploration of meshing geometric formations, technology and physical science with sculptural forms. This exploration has been an integral part of his work. When he last gave a talk at EPMA, he demonstrated the importance of  geometric forms to work.  Obviously this has only deepened and developed over the years and he is now on to Quantic and parallel universe sculptures.
The show opens tomorrow (feb 23) and the next day Sebastian will give a talk open to the general public at 7 pm. On Saturday there will also be a family day with Sebastian.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Consulate General of Mexico in El Paso.-david sokolec

Art to sit on

Here are just a few of the benches put out over the weekend along the pedestrian mall from Juárez ave to the old Municipal palace.  According to an article in Diario, the benches were donated by a business in Tijuana and then painted by local Juárez artists.
I also see the painted horses have galloped back so the whole area is really bursting with color. – david Sokolec the





Prints of the desert

My friend Karl has been bouncing around the Southwest like a pinball for a number of years trying to create a conversation among artists in the area. Because he likes prints-they’re portable and generally more affordable than other media- one of his projects was to get prints from artists in Tucson and El Paso. He showed these at Chalk the Block a few years ago,  and a selection is opening tonight (Friday 29TH) at Juárez Contemporary 4105 November 20th at 6pm.
His current major project, opening. Sunday at the El Paso museum of art, is
“The Desert Triangle carpeta”. For this he commissioned 30 artists from Tucson,  Albuquerque and El Paso to each make a print in an edition of fifty on any theme. Some of these were printed in Mexico City at 75 grados,  and during a presentation on April 14th he is going to try to bring some of those printers up to make a live presentation. Another goal is to give local artists greater exposure, so in addition to shows all over the Southwest, and a few in Mexico, he is tqaking this up to a national print show in Portland , Oregon in March.-david sokolec

Latin American artists in Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston opens what looks like a great show this Sunday 22. Titled Contingent Beauty:contemporary art from Latin America it brings together 21 artists from different countries using a variety of different media including sculpture, video installation and mutimedia.. The works are drawn mainly from the museum’s permanent collection but he underlying concept for the show is that each piece presents the tension inherent in opposing ideas such as violence and beauty or seduction and repulsion. They also, as many Latin American artists do, comment on and offer critiques of contemporary Latin American society which although it might be country specific also I suspect cut across geographical boundaries.

Artists include Tania Bruegero and Los Carpintero both from Cuba, Miguel Angel Rojas from Colombia and Guillerma Kuitca from Argentina. Looks like a wonderful show and it will be up through Feb 28. -david sokolec



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