SHOWS 2008

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Portorican? Presente! is a photographic essay by four distinguished puertorican artists living and working in New York City: Luis Carle, Reyez Meléndez, Alfonso Muñoz Alma and Rafael Rosario Laguna. It is but a small sample of the Boricua talent in the big apple. Portorican? Presente! comments on the contact between two different cultures, one which still refers to us as Porto Rican. The exhibition speaks of a new rediscovery and more intense expression by these artist of their puertorican culture.

 


 

Luis Carle - Oreo (junk foods series) - digital photograph

  

 

Luis Carle - Cheetos (junk foods series) - digital photograph

 

 

 

Luis Carle

 

New York based artist-photographer Luis Carle was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and moved to New York City in 1984. Carle first studied photography at Parsons School of Design and worked as artist and photographer’s assistant to various well-known photographers. This was a particularly exciting moment in New York in which Carle found many outlets for his creativity. He met with many talented artists and personalities such as Antonio López, Felix Gonzales Torres, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring and credits the period as an intensely imaginative one. In 1992 the artist invited a group of highly gifted Puerto Rican artists and friends to form O.P. Art, Inc. (Organization of Puerto Rican Artists, Inc.). This non-for-profit organization supports the work and vision of emerging artists. Its mission is to promote their talents by providing guidance and direction on a local and international level through gallery and museum exhibitions. O.P.Art have been recognized as an important source of Latin American Art. In 2006 O.P.Art was accepted by NYFA's Fiscal Sponsorship program and was included in the Archives of Latino and Latin American Art of The Museum of Modern Art Library. In 1999 the New York Regional Center of the Smithsonian Institute also included O.P.Art in the Archives of American Art. The artists have also been showcased in galleries and institutions such as El Museo del Barrio, Museum of Modern Art and Taller Boricua, all in New York City. They have enjoyed critical reviews in publications such as The New York Times, Daily News and other art magazines and they have been covered extensively in television and radio programs.

 


 

Reyez Meléndez - Pride Flaggers 2 - digital photograph

  

Reyez Meléndez - Pride Flaggers 4 - digital photograph

 

Reyez Meléndez - Pride Flaggers 7 - digital photograph

 

 

 

 

Reyez Meléndez

 

Born in Camuy, Puero Rico, Reyez Meléndez discovered his love for art and color as a child. At just 13 years old, Reyez received a fellowship award to attend the San Juan At League where he obtained his first formal studies in painting, drawing, printmaking and photography. He continued his studies at the University of Puerto Rico where he graduated cum laude in 1984. After graduation Reyes moved to New York City where he was awarded a fellowship at he Blackburn Printmaking Workshop studying under the guidance of Bob Blackburn. Reyez also attended the Students Art League New York and earned his masters of Art Degree in Communication Design, from Pratt Institute in 1986. Reyez is a co-founder of OPART (Organization of Puertorican Artist, Inc.) This no profit organization supports the work and vision of emerging and established artists. OPART's mission is to promote Puertorican artist by providing guidance and direction on a local and international level through gallery and museum exhibitions. Since founded in 1993, OPART has organized numerous exhibitions to showcase the creativity and diversity of his talented group of artists. Most recently Reyez work has been documented un publication such as Images of Ambiente by Ruby c. Bleis, Body Type by Ina Saltz and the cover of POZ magazine December 2006. Reyez lives and works in NYC where he continues to share his knowledge of Art and Design through his work at The City University of New York where he serves as an Adjunct Professor.

 


 

Alfonso Muñoz - Mercury Boy - digital photograph

  

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Alfonso Muñoz

 

The New York-based visual artist Alfonso Muñoz started his career at the age of 13, as a studio assistant to Italian artist Antonio Loro. There he trained in various techniques ranging from woodcut to calligraphy. Afterwards, he attended the University of Puerto Rico and later transferred to the Art Institute of Chicago. Mr. Muñoz has spent the last 15 years working in New York, Paris and Barcelona as a visual artist. He lived in France for three years and worked as a visual specialist for the Basic Education Division of UNESCO. On his return to New York, he created Gueridon Gallery, where he organized and curates the first Roger Capron Retrospective in May of 2000. In the spring of 2002, Mr. Capron invited Muñoz to apprentice/study in Capron's unique style of ceramics, where he created a series of mobile sculptures (Vallauris, France). In his current body of work, Muñoz explores digital photography of carefully styled dolls as actors in an alternative universe created in his living room using just about anything as props for his surreal pictures. His 2004 solo debut exhibit in Fidenza, Italy, received wide coverage by the Italian Press. Since, Muñoz was chosen to be included in The (S) Files Biennial at "El Museo Del Barrio." This showcase of contemporary Latin American artists in the US received glowing reviews by the New York Times and was also on view at the Museo De Arte De Puerto Rico in San Juan. His series of “Chickens”, (Green Art) lamps made out of clear trash bags were part of the Dumbo Arts Festival last fall and will be on view at the Delaware Museum of Fine Arts this October. He is an active member of O.P.Art. Muñoz's work has been featured on HGTV, New York Times, Wall Paper Magazine, Style-Eyes, Art Premium among a few. He is a New York Urban Artists Initiative Fellowship 2008 recipient.

 


 

Rafael Rosario Laguna - Heart - digital photograph

 

Rafael Rosario Laguna - Pool Party - digital photograph

 

 

 

 

Rafael Rosario Laguna

 

He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His studied painting and sculpture at Escuela de Artes Plasticas Lucchetti and at the studio of Felix Rodriguez Baez in Old San Juan. He obtained his B.F.A. from The Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washinton, D.C. Rosario Laguna lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where he finds the tripe, eggs, cow and duck tongues he uses to create his work. His studio is located in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His silkscreen ‘Looking To Your Left’ and the sculpture ‘What My Paper Couldn’t Hold (Lo que mi papel no aguanta) belong to the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and El Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico, respectively. Since his arrival in New York City in 1998, Rosario Laguna’s paintings and other works have been periodically featured on NYC Public Access Television. In 2007, NewCity Chicago selected his show at MOKA Gallery/Projects as one of “Newcity's Top 5 of Everything” - under the category of Gallery Photography Shows. He has worked as an illustrator for The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Editorial Planeta-Mexico, Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana, The World, and I Magazine. In 1994, he was nominated to the D.C. Commission on the Humanities for The Mayor’s Arts Awards. Rosario Laguna is an active member of O.P. ART (Organization of Puerto Rican Artists)

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Translation by: SI Translations (Dreck Underwood)