Picasso, Chicano Avant-Garde and More Latin Art in NYC

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The hugely successful Gabriel Orozco solo show at the MoMA just ended and the Whitney Biennial, we have learned, has no Latin artists.

But don’t fret! There’s so much more Latin art to see in galleries and museums around the city, including new shows opening up in the next few weeks. Here are some of our favorites, from obscure, up-and-coming artists to the established icons, such as Pablo Picasso (yes, there’s a new show opening soon!)


Dates: February 17-March 20

This Brazilian artist is thinking about social politics in this colorful and eye-popping new show. Lime green, the sun and moon together with unthinkable situations reflect the surrealism Priscila is so fond of (Dali and Kandinsky are influences). The speed and chaotic urban landscapes of Rio, Sao Paolo and her adopted New York City are intertwined with beaming colors and multiple surfaces.

Carnival dancers stand in front of a war tank as if ready to overpower them by shaking their hips.  Black and white  guns drop from the sky, and boats and planes are all around.  Some of the paintings come out of the canvas, and while very entertaining to stare at, it also talks about expansion, limits, authority. Her message and technique combined gives us something appealing to the eye, but also for the mind.


Dates: February 19 – March 20

Last December, Colombian-American brothers Gabriel and Isaac Fortoul knocked on hip hop empresario Damon Dash ‘s door and presented him with the idea for an exhibit at his new DD172 space. The brothers, curator Gabriel and visual artist Isaac (pictured), had recently returned to New York after a few years in Phoenix. Less than 2 months later, the show is here.

Although it doesn’t have a title or specific theme because it was put together so quickly, according to Gabriel, he is always looking for artwork that reflects the urban experience, specifically the fusion between metropolitan culture and  one’s roots. Phoenix-based Latino artists, Bobby Castaneda and Hector Ruiz, plus Isaac, featured in DD 172’s inaugural show, enhance each other with their Mexican-American and Colombian-American experiences.


Dates: March 28- September 6

The MoMA‘s going old school with  Picasso: Themes and Variations, an exhibition featuring approximately 100 prints by the great art icon. Consider this exhibition a “behind the music”  type of journey that explores Picasso’s inner process through printmaking and his experimentation in etching, lithography, and linoleum cut.

And for those who are intrigued about Picasso the lover of women, there will be plenty of studies of the female body. According to their press release, the museum hopes these prints reveal how women became such a “catalytic force behind his creativity.”  The lines will be long for this one, amigos!


Dates: January 29 – February 28

Fine art is not only made of oils and acrylics. With the help of pen, ink, watercolor and gouache the 31 year-old artist, who is also the Art Director at Proenza Schouler, has taken the Narcomedusa etymology Narco (Latin:sleep) and Medusa (the mythological creature that caused any onlooker to turn into stone) into an abstract and lively figure that inhabits the works of this show.

But its not not only an elegant creature, floating like a cloud in the depths of the sea. Human eyes and forms begin to surface within the creature. You could look at each work in this show for long periods of time, and the position, abstraction and depth will bewilder you and make you wonder. How similar are human beings to sea creatures? After all, theories suggest we come from the sea. The answer will always be different for each single person.


Dates: March 24- May 9

The exhibit Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement comes to New York ending a tour that began at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in September 2008 and then traveled through Mexico and the Southwest. Over 100 works from installation to performance by 27 artists will be on view.

Phantom Sightings is the largest show of contemporary Chicano art assembled to date and  focuses on conceptual art from the mid-90’s to the present. However, the show also includes key Chicano artists such as the 70’s Chicano collective ASCO, whose members included GRONK and Patssi Valdez, (pictured.) The group would collectively and individually “sign” their names on building and other symbolic objects in the way a graffiti artist would, as an “affirmation” and “claiming of” the space.


Dates: February 11 – March 13

The large-scale abstract paintings on view at Galerie Lelong are compositions of muted exuberance. The muddy grays and purples feather and burst into each other with an airy violence.

Brooklyn-based artist Emilio Perez creates works one might overlook as automatism or simply as a fit of violence against canvas. A closer look unveils a labored process that includes acrylic and latex on wood. With names like Breakfast by the Light of the Moon, the works invite you into a somber space.


Dates: January 22 – April 5

Celebrated Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto creates soft sculptures that break the cardinal rule of most museums: do not touch! This stand-alone installation that was acquired by the MoMA three years ago is now on view for the first time on the fourth floor.

Just like the series of works Neto has been doing since the ’90s, in Navedenga the viewer is asked to enter the translucent hollow chamber of its structure and engage in a multi-sensory experience. This porous, womb-like white cell (nave means ship or vessel in Portuguese) explores ideas of feminine and masculine, nature and architecture.