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Puerto Rico Rising—Resisting Paradise

February 24th, 2021

In the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the struggle to survive is real. Natural disasters, a failing economy, corrupt leadership, and the legacy of colonialism in the Caribbean are among forces that challenge sustainability and sovereignty. Outside investments in tourism have had the effect of disenfranchising locals and fragmenting the island’s creative community. San Juan born and based, curator Marina Reyes Franco has a lot to say on this subject. Her research, writing, and curating illuminate the powerful impact of the burgeoning visitor economy.

 

In 2019, three years after Hurricane Maria, we venture to Puerto Rico for the opening of Resisting Paradise, an exhibition Reyes Franco organized with the support of Apex Art, New York. Jamaica born artists Leasho Johnson and Deborah Anzinger, and artist Joiri Minaya, from the Dominican Republic, show work engaging at the intersection of tourism, sexuality, gender, music and the internet. We record this episode inside Espacio Pública, a newly established culture space, in San Juan’s Santurce district. 

 

This segment of our Puerto Rico Rising series revolves around creative resistance to foreign fantasies of ‘paradise.’ The conversation exposes a few of the complex histories and current conditions that inform contemporary art in Puerto Rico and the greater Caribbean. 

 

Voices in the episode: Naima Rodriguez, Marina Reyes Franco, Leasho Johnson, and Joiri Minaya

 

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio

 

Related Episodes: Puerto Rico Rising—Radical LeadersPuerto Rico Rising—Resilient Artists, The Awakening, Juan Botta Makes One-Minute Movies in Puerto Rico, Edra Soto on the Architecture of Connecting Communities, Mapping Caribbean Cultural Ecologies

 

Related Links: Resisting Paradise exhibition, Espacio Pública, Deborah Anzinger, Leasho Johnson, Joiri Minaya, apex art, Marina Reyes Franco, ATLAS SAN JUAN: TROPICAL DEPRESSION, Art in America, Oct 1, 2018.

Puerto Rico Rising—Resilient Artists

February 17th, 2021

In 2018, two years after Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico, Dominica and St. Croix, Art in America published an exposé by San Juan born and based curator Marina Reyes Franco. Journalists were “comparing Puerto Rico to Greece, Detroit, and New York of the 1970s,” she wrote, “prompting myriad articles about its economic woes and the population’s resilience.” Central to many of these stories were inspiring narratives about artists and entrepreneurs responding to the crisis. In 2019, we journey to the island to record voices from the cultural scene. 

 

The artists we meet in San Juan convey the promise and pathos of this Caribbean island. In this segment of our Puerto Rico Rising series, four Puerto Rican creatives offer insight into how art can join forces with the strength of community to contemplate beauty and the paradoxes of everyday life. 

 

Voices in the episode: Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Michael Linares, Chemi Rosado-Seijo, Llaima Sanfiorenzo

 

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio in Order of Appearance: Fabián Wilkins Vélez, Listening Session, 2019; Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Celaje (2020); Florian Dombois, Triple Instrument, 2019; Llaima Sanfiorenzo, Let the Beast Breathe, 2020 and 1 sq foot of freedom, 2007

Related Episodes: Puerto Rico Rising—Resisting Paradise, Puerto Rico Rising—Radical Leaders, The Awakening, Juan Botta Makes One-Minute Movies in Puerto Rico, Edra Soto on the Architecture of Connecting Communities, Mapping Caribbean Cultural Ecologies

Related Links: Beta-Local, Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Michael Linares, Chemi Rosado-Seijo, Llaima Sanfiorenzo/Self Portrait Factory, Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, Marina Reyes Franco, ATLAS SAN JUAN: TROPICAL DEPRESSION, Art in America, Oct 1, 2018.

Puerto Rico Rising—Radical Leaders

February 10th, 2021

Puerto Rico is an island steeped in contradictions—the idyllic tourist mecca is where unpredictable forces of nature, a stagnant economy, and a corrupt government complicate everyday life for locals.

 

After Hurricane Maria devastated Dominica, St. Croix and Puerto Rico in 2016, journalists compared Puerto Rico to Greece, Detroit, and New York of the 1970s, prompting myriad articles about its economic woes and the population’s resilience. The art scene became more visible as Puerto Rican artists stepped into the frey with their creative projects. Some institutions stepped up, too. Notably, El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (MAC).

 

Sitting in the heart of the Santurce district of San Juan, the Museum of Contemporary Art became a beacon of hope for the surrounding community in the wake of the storm, serving as an educational resource and offering space for the performing arts, and channeling life-sustaining resources to residents.

 

In 2019, when we venture to Puerto Rico, we head to the Museum to meet Director Marianne Ramirez Aponte. She led MAC’s pro-active role following the hurricane. Early in 2021, the Museum’s contemporary art curator Marina Reyes Franco shares an update—revealing MAC’s sustained commitment to generate cultural opportunities for local artists and residents of all ages.

 

In this segment of our Puerto Rico Rising series, two community leaders share a few of the creative projects they generate to enable others to rise—both emotionally and physically—above the challenging everyday circumstances that limit opportunities for Puerto Ricans to survive and thrive.

 

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Sound:  Live Performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art, September 27, 2019

Related Episodes: Puerto Rico Rising—Radical LeadersPuerto Rico Rising—Resilient Artists, The Awakening, Juan Botta Makes One-Minute Movies in Puerto Rico, Edra Soto on the Architecture of Connecting Communities, Mapping Caribbean Cultural Ecologies

Related Links: El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (MAC), Marina Reyes Franco, ATLAS SAN JUAN: TROPICAL DEPRESSION, Art in America, Oct 1, 2018.

The Awakening

January 27th, 2021

Today is January 27, 2021. One week ago, we inaugurated new leaders in the United States. Many hope that President Joseph. Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris will cultivate an era of unity, democracy, and truth in this country. 

Multiple flashpoints complicated the year 2020. The relentless coronavirus pandemic, accelerating discrimination against people of color, heightened climate emergencies, and the imploding global economy had a intense polarizing effect on the electorate.

Kamala Harris, the first African-American and Asian American to become Vice President, is also the first woman to be given this tremendous opportunity. As she steps into a crucial role of responsibility, Harris inspires this episode. 

What part can creativity play in such turbulent times? 

We speak to six women artists and curators responding to the challenges of the past year with renewed resolve. Strengthening their engagement with vital issues and ideas, each one positions herself in service to social justice. Future episodes will reveal more about their individual awakenings.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio: When We Gather, courtesy Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and collaborators; Whitewash, courtesy artist Nadine Valcin; Celaje, courtesy artist Sofía Gallisá Muriente; All water has a perfect memory, courtesy artist Bahar Behbahani; Drip in water tunnel, New York City, courtesy artist Mary Mattingly; "This Earth,” by Susan Griffin, courtesy Andrea Bowers and performance participants 

Related Episodes: International Curators Champion Creative Resilience, Mapping Caribbean Cultural Ecologies, Where Art Meets Activism, Creative Time Summit Miami 2018, Bahar Behbahani on Politics and Persian Gardens, New Point of View at Venice Art Biennale, Mary Mattingly on the Art of Human Relationships, Andrea Bowers on Art and Activism

Related Links: Bahar Behbahani, Andrea Bowers, This Earth, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, When We Gather, Mary Mattingly, Public Water, Andrea Fatona, The State of Blackness, Marina Reyes Franco, Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, Sofía Gallisá Muriente

Featured Voices in Order of Appearance

 

Born in Cuba and based in Nashville, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons teaches at Vanderbilt University. A dream led her to invite collaborators to celebrate all that Kamala Harris represents. Performance and poetry in the new art film When We Gather embody their collective hope and imagination.

 

Dr. Andrea Fatona is a Toronto-based curator and scholar who teaches in the graduate program at Ontario College of Art and Design University. For decades, she has sought to remedy the absence of Black visual art from critical writing, art archives and other avenues of representation. Whitewash, Nadine Valcin’s performance video about the history of slavery in Canada, is featured on Fatona's website: The State of Blackness.

 

Born and based in San Juan, Marina Reyes Franco is curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art. She talks about the Museum’s powerful new partner and introduces the metaphoric exhibition she will present this spring. In 2020, Reyes Franco took the time to support artist friend Sofía Gallisá Muriente in her creation of a new film. Sited on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico, Celaje is an elegy to the death of the Puerto Rican colonial project and the sedimentation of disasters on the island.

 

Water channels, fountains, roses and pools are elemental to the legendary Persian garden. Iranian-American artist Bahar Behbahani has been investigating the garden’s histories for years. In 2019, she created her first garden-inspired public art project at Wave Hill in the Bronx. In 2021, the artist aims to break ground on a purposeful Persian garden in Manhattan.

 

New York-based artist Mary Mattingly has always been concerned with sustainability, creating lyric environments that meet the basic needs of water, food, and shelter. Her latest project concerns the invisible infrastructure of public water in the city she calls home. Mattingly is diving deep—her urban case study exposes inequities that limit access to clean drinking water everywhere. 

 

Early 2020 found Los Angeles based artist Andrea Bowers joining other women to read and record the poem “This Earth,” by Susan Griffin. Studying the spiritual origins of eco-feminism was among her solitary pursuits last year. When the pandemic slowed her activist projects, Bowers turned to re-examine how and why she makes art. 

Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith Take a Stand

January 13th, 2021

Today’s story unfolds at the intersection of art, sports, and activism.

 

In 1968, Black American athlete Tommie Smith set a new world record. He became a gold medalist when he raced to win the 200-meter event at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

 

Yet Tommie Smith was only inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2019. Why did it take half a century for the international sports organization to recognize his record-breaking performance? 

 

Because in 1968, at the height of the civil rights struggle in America, Tommie Smith took a stand on racism and human rights at the awards ceremony in Mexico City. As he stood on the podium to accept his medal, he bowed his head and raised his fist in a silent salute. That year, the Olympics were broadcast on television live and in color for the first time ever. The whole world witnessed his gesture. 

 

Tommie Smith’s respectful protest marked his life in the years that followed, while motivating generations to stand up for equality. He continues to inspire us, encouraging everyone to take part in the ongoing quest for global human rights and racial justice. 

 

In this episode, you’ll hear from the athlete and two creatives he inspired: Japanese-American artist Glenn Kaino and Iranian-born cinematographer Afshin Shahidi. They came together to create an exhibition, public programs and a documentary film to tell Tommie Smith’s story.

 

When artist Glenn Kaino sought out the legendary Olympic runner as a creative collaborator, he recognized the enduring value of art as a means to preserve a noble act. With Drawn Arms amplifies Smith’s courage, bringing history to reckon with our contemporary moment. 

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio

Related Episodes: Black in America, Franklin Sirmans on the Art of Futbol, Athi-Patra Ruga on Global Human Rights

Related Links: Tommie Smith, Glenn Kaino, Afshin Shahidi, Mexico 1968 Summer Olympics, Olympic Project for Human Rights, High Museum of Art, San José Museum of Art, Colin Kaepernick, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Fresh Art International at Untitled Art Fair

Watch the Film: With Drawn Arms

 

Our Current Moment

Since early 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has held our planet in its grip. We have reckoned with isolation and the loss of friends and loved ones, and with the strange new normal of everyday life. The public health crisis has meant the delay or cancellation of cherished cultural and sports events. The 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and the Japan 2020 Summer Olympics, where the film With Drawn Arms was to be screened, were among thousands of casualties. 

In 2020, racial equity became a flashpoint on two fronts. The virus has been taking a greater toll on Blacks and people of color. Police violence against Blacks sparked a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, triggering massive protests across the U.S. and abroad. The quest for racial equity and human rights continues.

Making Good Time in Miami

August 28th, 2020

In this episode of Fresh Art’s Fall 2020 Student Edition, University of Miami student Kristian Kranz heads to Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida, for a conversation with Lynne Barrett, editor of the book Making Good Time, and two of the book’s contributors: author Les Standiford and poet-engineer Richard Blanco. Listen to hear a few ‘only-in-Miami’ stories about getting around South Florida.

Producers: Kristian Kranz/Miami Moves Me, Giselle Heraux/FreshArtINTL

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio

Related Episodes: Miami Moves Me/Making Good Time, Fresh Art Student Edition, Fresh Voices Miami

Related Links: Miami Moves Me Podcast, Fresh Art Distance Learning Guide, Making Good Time in South Florida, Lynne Barrett, Les Standiford, Richard Blanco, Jai-Alai Books

Making Good Time: True Stories of How We Do and Don’t Get Around South Florida —The city of Miami is renowned for her beauty and often imagined as paradise. Yet many locals and visitors find South Florida’s highways and byways a challenge to navigate. In the 2019 anthology Making Good Time, editor Lynne Barrett brings together thirty-one true tales inspired by transportation adventures in the southern realm of the Sunshine State.

 

Sacred Land Beneath The Skyscrapers

August 27th, 2020

In this episode of Fresh Art’s Fall 2020 Student Edition,  University of Miami students Diana Borras and Kurt Gessler discover sacred land hiding in plain sight at the heart of Miami’s business district. Carib Tribal Queen Catherine Hummingbird Ramirez has come to meet them at the  sacred Native American site known as the Miami Circle. Ramirez has come to share her concerns about the ongoing impact of urban development.

The Miami Circle: In 1998, an archaeological investigation at the mouth of the Miami River uncovered evidence of a 2,000 year-old Native American site on land once occupied by the Brickell Point Apartments.  Now known as the Miami Circle, the Tequesta site consists of a circle over 35 feet in diameter with about 20 basins and hundreds of smaller postholes. Many consider the Miami Circle a North American “Stonehenge.”

Producers: Diana Borras and Kurt Gessler/Miami Moves Me, Jahné King/FreshArtINTL

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio

Related Episodes: Miami Moves Me/Miami Circle, Fresh Art Student Edition, Fresh Voices Miami, Culture Making in Downtown Miami

Related Links: Miami Moves Me Podcast, Tequesta Artifacts, Miami Circle, Fresh Art Distance Learning Guide

New Caribbean Cinema

August 26th, 2020

In this episode of Fresh Art’s Fall 2020 Student Edition, University of Miami student Luz Estrella Cruz makes her way to the Third Horizon Film Festival at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex in Miami. She’s there to meet filmmakers Diana Peralta (De Lo Mio, 2019) and Michael Lees (Uncivilized, 2020), whose work she’s been researching. Interviewing them and watching their films, Cruz discovers the passion behind their stories and immerses herself in two diasporic experiences from the Caribbean. 

Producers: Luz Cruz/Miami Moves Me, Giselle Heraux and Jahné King/FreshArtINTL

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio

Related Episodes Miami Moves Me/Third Horizon, Fresh Art Student Edition, Fresh Voices Miami, Miami's Caribbean Arts Remix

Related Links Miami Moves Me Podcast, De Lo Mio, Uncivilized, Third Horizon Film Festival, Fresh Art Distance Learning Guide

 

At Home in Miami’s Little Haiti

August 25th, 2020

In this episode of Fresh Art’s Fall 2020 Student Edition, University of Miami students Gretchell Cano and Luz Estrella Cruz explore the work of Haitian-born artist Edouard Duval-Carrié. They, along with the rest of the Miami Moves Me team, visit Duval-Carrié’s studio in the Little Haiti district. Listen to find out why the artist chose to call Miami home, and hear his views on how the Caribbean influences the city’s art and culture.

Edouard Duval-Carrié was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1954. He was educated at the University of Loyola Montreal, Quebec, in Canada; and at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris in France. Duval-Carrié moved to Miami in 1992 and swiftly established himself as an integral factor in the city’s cultural fabric.

Duval-Carrié’s work explores the social and historical dimensions of Haitian culture. His imagery includes very often Voodoo gods combined with aspects of classical mythology and Haiti’s national heroes. His images are visual examples of Magic Realism, portraying a world in which reality and mythology are intertwined. (biographical source: panamericanprojects.com)

Producers: Gretchell Cano/Miami Moves Me, Giselle Heraux/FreshArtINTL

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio

Related Episodes: Miami Moves Me/Little Haiti, Fresh Art Student Edition, Fresh Voices Miami, Cultural Complexity in Little Haiti

Related Links: Miami Moves Me Podcast, Fresh Art Distance Learning Guide, Edouard Duval-Carrié, Little Haiti Cultural Complex, Little Haiti

Black in Miami—Then and Now

August 24th, 2020

In this episode of Fresh Art’s Fall 2020 Student Edition, University of Miami students Ben Vinarski and Reese McMichael venture to an abandoned hotel in Miami Beach to go behind the scenes of an immersive theater production. Inside a room designed as the well-equipped kitchen of an upper-class home, actress Maggie B. Maxwell has just rolled out a pie crust while introducing her visitors to the city’s Black history. 

Producers: Reese McMichael and Ben Vinarski/Miami Moves Me, Jahné King/FreshArtINTL

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio

Related Episodes: Miami Moves Me/Maggie Maxwell’s Motel Story, Fresh Art Student Edition, Fresh Voices Miami, Black in America

Related Links: Miami Moves Me Podcast, Fresh Art Distance Learning Guide, Juggerknot Theater Company, Miami Theater Review

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