New York has the highest Hispanic population of any U.S. urban community, so it’s no surprise that our city has been beautifully enriched and transformed by their contributions. From the now-destroyed mural by famed Mexican artist Diego Rivera that once illuminated Rockefeller plaza to this summer’s Metropolitan Museum rooftop installation by Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas, Manhattan has long been graced by the visions of Hispanic artists working in and reacting to its rhythms and culture. NYXT is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by showcasing the work of two celebrated artists working in our city.
Alejandro Almanza Pereda is a sculptor and photographer who was born in Mexico in 1977. He received his MFA from Hunter College and continues to split his time between Mexico and New York. Using materials found in flea markets and thrift stores, Pereda mutates these found objects into large-scale sculptures that play with stability and material integrity.
Pereda guided Art21 on a tour of his artistic process and the making of his 2015 series of underwater still-lifes “Everything but the kitchen sank” in the film Alejandro Almanza Perrera Escapes from New York. Using combinations of found objects and fruits and vegetables, Pereda draws on the chaotic energy and instability of life in New York as inspiration for his off-kilter and surprising tableaux. As surreal as living through any day in Manhattan can turn, Pereda’s floating images challenge our concepts of gravity, orientation, and reality.
Jose del C. is a Colombian-born painter who grew up under the country’s turbulent political climate in the 1950s. An accomplished and celebrated muralist, painter, ceramicist, educator and designer, Jose C.’s work has been exhibited in galleries and public exhibitions around the globe. Trained in fresco and engraving as well as traditional painting techniques, he has produced works on paper, sculpture and, in the 70s and 80s, turned to the Latin American tradition of mural painting, creating large-scale works on canvas that embodied the spirit of Latin music and culture.
Jose C. has worked in and been inspired by the culture of New York since the 1990s. In is recent work at El Taller Latino Americano the artist painted to the sounds of live Latino music. “Musicians Delight,” was an homage to the ‘beauty and truth’ conjured within the atmosphere of a live performance, and the works feature his trademark combination of expressive line, color-blocking, and bright pigments. Although his images are not always narrative, Jose’s paintings are full of movement and emotion. With figures who dance and reach out toward the sky or one another, the boldly colored landscapes are full of rhythm and joy.