New Space at Museo de Arte

Tomorrow, Thursday 23, the Museo de Arte in Juarez is opening a new space dedicated to promoting local, national and international artists who deal in new media. Called Antecamara de proyectos it will be inaugurated by a film called Reflexiones en Torno al Cielo by Mexico City based artist Alexandra German who will be attending the opening, and curated by Victoria Vinamaragui.
Here is the description in Spanish from the museum. Looks like a wonderful new addition.
Antecámara de Proyectos del Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez tiene el enfoque de promover y difundir la producción y consumo de arte actual y nuevos medios. A partir de curadurías y diseños de exhibición que nazcan desde el museo. Antecámara es una sala alternativa que se logra dentro de una dinámica de rotación de artistas locales, nacionales e internacionales, para así lograr alcanzar mayores públicos.
the opening is set for 6 pm.-david sokolec

Carla Rippey- Resguardia y Resistencia

I am really looking forward to the opening of Carla Rippey’s retrospective  at the Museo de Arte here in Juarez this Friday night. Rippey is the current director of “La Esmeralda”(La Escuela Nacional de Pintura,Escultura y Grabado) and the first woman to hold that position. Although born in Kansas City, she has lived in Mexico since 1973, having fled Chile after the fall of Salvador Allende.
The exposition, covering the years 1976-2016, recently opened at the Museo de Arte Carillo Gil and from all I can gather  it seems a magnificent show which not only demonstrates her extraordinary skill at interweaving photography and printmaking among other artistic talents, but also, and more importantly, shows her interest in preserving her personal memory, exploring the female and cultural cross-currents.
Should be an incredible show ,particularly for those interested in print making and drawing  but also anyone interested in seeing the workl of this important and involved artist.
The opening is set for Friday 17th at 7 pm.
I also want to mention there is still time to see the show Encuentro de Mujeres Artistas at Alianza Francesa. Thirteen local artists combined forces to show 30 pieces in various media. The work shows just some of the remarkable talent here in Juarez, and the wide range of subject matter and media used. It includes a video, and a wonderful installation in a nook just inside the entry which combines music with shell forms hanging from the ceiling into each one of which is delicately inserted a drawing.
The show continues through April 10. -david sokolec

 

 

 

Exceptional African American prints at EPMA

San Antonio art collectors Harmon and Harriet Kelly have put together an extremely impressive collection of African-American art. If they had collected nothing more than the works on view at the El Paso Museum of Art, they would have still made an impressive accomplishment. These works on paper  can be viewed in any number of ways, all of them satisfying.
The exhibit ranges from the late 1800’s to 2002 and does a pretty good job of providing a cross-section of important artists during that time. Most of these artists studied at prestigious art schools in the US and abroad, and many travelled extensively . One question raised by the exhibit is why aren’t these artists better known?
The early works by artists like Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918) who spent most of his life in Canada  or Lois Maillou Jones (1905-1998) or Henry Ossawa Tanner(1859-1937) who studied with Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy and then went on to spend most of his life in France generally focus on purely aesthetic concerns whether a shipwreck off the coast of Brittany or a ranch in western Canada. These are   highly skilled and well trained artists.
There is a shift a bit later with the rise of the Harlem Renaissance and with a general trend by many artists to focus on the society and social conditions around them. Although white artists like George Bellows and photographers like Walker Evans or Dorothea Lange have long been much better known, the skill and perception of an artist like Aaron Douglas (1899-1979) known as the Dean of the Harlem Renaissance among others makes us want to see more.
Although Europe was often a favorite place for these artists to live and study, a few also went to Mexico. Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) and Hale Aspacio Woodruff  (1900-1980) were among those who found inspiration in that country. Woodruff in fact  worked with Diego Rivera on murals.
The newer pieces in the show are generally far more overtly political, some using humor others straight-forward.
The Kelleys apparently started collecting this art when they saw a show and were somewhat embarrassed they were not very familiar with many of the artists. Their gain is also our gain in this excellent exhibition which can be seen purely from the point  of view of aesthetics as there are a wide variety of printing techniques employed and a wide variety of artistic skill at play, or  it can be seen as a socially relevant show documenting African -American life and concerns over a century or it can be seen as at long last bringing to view some extremely talented artists who are not nearly as well known as they should be at least to much of the general public. This show helps to rectify that situation.
It is free and on view until April 16.-david sokolec

 

 

 

 

Reimagining the City

The informative (Re)imaginando el Ciudad desde el borde (reimagining the city from the edge) conference last week here in Juarez gave us a chance to learn about the intensive work so many artists, writers, architects and culture workers were doing to actively engage the community in an attempt to reconnect us all with the strength and beauty found here in the city whether that meant through the strength of its people, or through the beauty of some of its old buildings or through preserving its literary history.

In some cases that specifically means going to the oldest colonia in Juarez and working with the local residents to teach them about the value of the adobe homes which are still (barely) standing, as well as giving workshops on helping kids make their own adobe. It’s interesting how highly valued adobe homes are in say Sante Fe, NM and how little valued they seem to be here. In other cases it means making a literary cartography of the city and taking a large group of us on a tour of sites used in the work of well-known authors as well as making sure their wroks are preserved. Sometimes it means holding weekly seminars on skills such as phtography where people can exchange info and learn techniques which can then be used in documenting daily life in ever-changing Juarez, and above qall it means honoring and celebrating all of the diverse groups of people who live here.

This was the second year of the conference and perhaps it should better be called (Re)descubriendo el ciudad… (Rediscovering the city) because in many ways it was as much about discovering what has been here all along as it was about reinventing the city, but in either case it was a wonderful event and congratulations are due the Coordinacion de Artes Visual de UACJ and coordinators like Brenda Ceniceros and everyone else who worked so hard to make this happen.-david sokolec

Active arts week on the border

This is a busy week for arts and cultural enthusiasts on both sides of the border. This Wednesday begins a 3 day event in Juarez called 2ndo encuentro(re) imaginando la ciudad desde el borde. This amazing event brings together artists, architects, writers, photographers etc to make presentations and interchange ideas on reimagining the city, and on the events and activities they are currently providing. There are a large number of individuals who tirelessly work to help the city and those of us who live in it, and this is a great opportunity to become acquainted with some of them. This is the second year for this event which is sponsored by coordinacion artes visual UACJ and organized by my frind Brenda Ceniceros and others. Info and schedule can be found on their facebook page.

Thursday night in El Paso brings a night of prints.

Christian Casteneda who has been the featured artist at Proyecto Impala, and therefore been touring various locations and schools in Juarez to show his work, will be holding a print demonstration sponsored by Proper print shop at 601 N. Oregon. (note the address; this is in the new Artspace lofts building). The event is at 7 pm.

Finally, but certainly not least, there is the opening of an exhibition of prints at the Purple pop-up gallery. These have been curated by the tireless Karl Whittaker, who has selected new prints from some of the artists he recently showed a the El Paso Museum of Art as well as some additional artists working in Mexico. -david sokolec

Plans for a Nuevo Siglo

The folks at Los Paisanos de la Chamizal have an ambitious plan for a new huge Hispanic themed festival designed to bring artists and performers from all over the world as well as the inclusion of local talent in what sounds like a wonderful proposition. They have the support of the City and County of El Paso as well as the National Park Service and are looking for local talent, businesses and people in general to join in. Their website is  at Nuevo Siglo-elpaso.org.

I have to say that one of the things I found exciting when I moved here was the Siglo de Oro theater festival at the Chamizal. Under the leadership of the indefatigable Virginia Ness, theater groups and academics from all over the world came to both sides of the border to perform widely varying interpretations of plays from the Golden Age of Spain. I could never figure out why the city and various arts organizations didn’t use this as an opportunity to join hands and create a citywide, or binational wide, festival which would attract theatergoers from all over a la Spoleto festival in Charleston or the Santa Fe Opera. At last there  seems to be a recognition that a festival bringing together local and national talent to the region would be an enormous boost for the region.I’m not sure the new plan is designed to include the Siglo de Oro festival, which has unfortunately been allowed to dwindle to a pale shadow of its former self, or if , as it appears to be, an entirely new type of festival. In either case, it sounds wonderful and good luck to them.-david sokolec

Berlin Juarez- Gut Fiesta

Before too much time elapses, I wanted to just say what a great opportunity we had last week to have an exchange with the team of artists from Project Space Festival Berlin. Thanks to Gabriela Duran Barraza who arranged this and to Nora Mayr, Stine Marie Jacobsen and others who made the trip over here.
This was not about object oriented art, but rather about active exchanges between participants, and learning about different ways that interchange was happening in Germany. It was also about having a party and the lucha libre at the Bazaar de la Monumento or the Hard Pop concert provided a huge amount of fun.
Stine talked about her work with at-risk teens as well as with immigrants. She does something really interesting. They take specific laws and court cases in which they demystify the language and then she has the teens write their own law and give their opinions on how a court case should have been decided. Both of these things helps give them a handle on what the law is really saying in the midst of all the legalise and gives them an opportunity to own it in the sense that once they understand what the law is really saying, they can have a better judgementof it and feel more comfortable discussing it.
Nora also showed a wonderful presentation of the widely varied spaces in Berlin which have been converted to use for art presentation-the spaces often informing the art being shown.
I believe there was also ample interchanges between students here in Juarez and the team from Berlin. This was simply a great time for everyone, and a reminder of something of which I think many people north of the border are unaware, and that is that there really is a huge amount of exchange between artists here in Juarez and artists from various European countries as well as those from South America and it gives everyone a much broader perspective. -david sokolec