“No existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican art in the wake of Hurricane Maria” is on display until the end of April with the participation of twenty Puerto Rican and diaspora artists.
New York City, January 30th, 2023 – The Whitney Museum of American Art brings together more than fifty artworks made by an intergenerational group of twenty artists from Puerto Rico and the diaspora. The exhibition, “No existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican art in the wake of Hurricane Maria,” shows how their art has responded to the transformational years since the catastrophic Category 4 storm hit the island on September 20th, 2017.
Through paintings, videos, installations, performances, poetry and newly commissioned works created for this art show, the exhibition examines the last five years since Hurricane Maria occured to highlight urgent concerns in Puerto Rico: trauma created by collapsed infrastructure, devastation of historical and ecological landscapes, loss, reflection and grieving, resistance, protest and immigration to the United States.
Among the twenty artists exhibiting their works at the Whitney Museum is Danielle De Jesús, a painter whose work deals with themes such as displacement and class difference in the Puerto Rican diaspora. De Jesús paints on US currency to illustrate the history of her family’s displacement from Bushwick, their Brooklyn neighborhood.
Likewise, there is Sofía Gallisá Muriente, a visual artist who works mainly in video, film and photography, with a focus on colonial themes. She founded the Spanish collective ‘IndigNación’ in 2011, and ‘Restore the Rock’ the following year, a non-profit relief fund for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Her video collage, B-Roll (2017), is a parody of promotional videos aimed at foreign investors, inviting them to speculate in real estate and cryptocurrencies in Puerto Rico. Reappropriating actual videos produced by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and the Department of Economic and Trade Development, the “B-Roll” (or additional footage) of the videos is remixed to highlight common symbols in these advertising campaigns. The electronic music in the piece, composed by Daniel Montes Carro, combines audio taken from these videos with field recordings from the 2016 Puerto Rico Investors Forum.
Meanwhile, artist Sofía Córdova presents her work in the exhibition with an exploration of the conditions of capitalism, colonialism, and climate change through dance, music, the Internet, and science fiction. She has exhibited her art work both nationally and internationally.
Miguel Luciano is a multimedia artist and a teacher, whose work explores topics like migration, pop culture, and social justice. His recent work addresses the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico. His work ‘Shields’ (2020) is a sculptural installation of ten “shields” made of sheet metal reclaimed from decommissioned school buses, vehicles that once protected children as they made their way to school. Each piece showcases a Puerto Rican flag painted in black and white on its interior as a symbol of dissent, along with a handle allowing for them to be used literally as shields. In response to the school closures in recent years due to hurricanes, earthquakes, debt crisis, austerity measures and corruption, these works evoke the defense of the island’s youth who have seen their schools closed and their right to self-determination frustrated.
The exhibit, whose title has been borrowed from a poem by Puerto Rican poet Raquel Salas Rivera, features the talents of Candida Álvarez, Gabriella N. Báez, Rogelio Báez Vega, Sofía Córdova, Danielle De Jesús, Frances Gallardo, Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Miguel Luciano, Javier Orfón, Elle Pérez, Gamaliel Rodríguez, Raquel Salas Rivera, Gabriela Salazar, Armig Santos, Garvin Sierra Vega, Edra Soto, Awilda Sterling-Duprey, Yiyo Tirado Rivera, Gabriella Torres-Ferrer and Lulu Varona.
“No existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican art in the wake of Hurricane Maria” is defined by the historical events that preceded and followed this momentous storm. This is the first scholarly exhibition of contemporary Puerto Rican art at a major U.S. museum in nearly half a century.
On September 7, 2017, Hurricane Irma bordered Puerto Rico followed by Hurricane Maria, which made landfall less than two weeks later. The island is still recovering more than five years later.
ABOUT THE WHITNEY MUSEUM
The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942), houses the foremost collection of American art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Mrs. Whitney, an early and ardent supporter of American modern art, nurtured groundbreaking artists when audiences were still largely interested in classical masters. From her vision emerged the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for ninety years. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebrating the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this, and with a steadfast commitment to artists, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art, and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today.
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