Artist Raelis Vasquez is among the 40-plus living artists featured in El Museo del Barrio’s vibrant new survey of contemporary Latinx art, Estamos Bien: La Trienal, which just received a nice write-up from artnet News.
Curated by El Museo’s chief curator Rodrigo Moura along with curator Susanna V. Temkin, and guest curator Elia Alba, the exhibition, which is the museum’s first national large-scale survey of contemporary Latinx art, sprawls across eight gallery spaces weaving together artists from different generations working in a variety of mediums from painting to video and employing a range of materials including one expansive mural made of Pinata-cut tissue paper by Justin Favela and rococo-inspired paintings that employ pastry techniques normally reserved for cakes by Yvette Mayorga. Most of the artist have never exhibited at the museum.
While the show’s curators have articulated that there is no singular aesthetic which defines Latinx art, the common theme across the works presented is to offer candid social critique, shedding light on those issues most pertinent and urgent to the Latin community. Vasquez features within the exhibition with several paintings, including ‘The Other Side of Tourism.’
On the show:
With a diverse crop of diasporic artists with backgrounds from all over Latin America, Guyana, and some that identify as Indigenous, La Trienal shatters a rigidity within the “Latino” label exemplified in previous gatherings. However, the political framing here that ties the artists to traumatic social issues isn’t necessarily novel. “Estamos Bien,” the museum’s first national survey, emphasizes strong convictions about the detrimental state of our environment, class and racial dynamics, and the forces powering displacement, but at times these convictions shine brighter than the works. Though the show spotlights artists who have been deserving of recognition for decades as well as many young artists demonstrating excellence early in their careers, the need to display the concerns of Latinx communities does take the front seat.
Representational painting also makes a few cameos here, notably with both the youngest and most senior artists in La Trienal. Born in 1995, New York-based painter Raelis Vasquez renders exquisite domestic table scenes of his family in the Dominican Republic.”
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