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Entries from February 2021

Puerto Rico Rising—Resisting Paradise

February 24th, 2021 · Comments

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.

Tags: contemporary art · activism · painting · curator · community · portraiture · political art · exhibition

Puerto Rico Rising—Resilient Artists

February 17th, 2021 · Comments

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.

Tags: contemporary art · film · public art · activism · performance · community · political art · festival

Puerto Rico Rising—Radical Leaders

February 10th, 2021 · Comments

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.

Tags: contemporary art · activism · curator · museum · community · education

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