The 2011 Armory Show is featuring hundreds of contemporary artists from around the world, particularly this year, as they’ve chosen Latin America as their second annual Armory Focus subject. We can see why attending this event could be overwhelming. We tried to narrow down a list of a few extraordinary Latino artists that you’ll definitely want to check out. At least this way when you show up with your friends, you’ll be able to astonish them with so much interesting background on the artist. You’re welcome.
Marco Paulo Rolla
Marco Paulo Rolla’s aesthetic can be described as viscerally human. What that means is that he is literally capturing what being human is all about. “Tapette,” one of his pieces, is a rug made out of black human hair. The Brazilian artist does it all: painting, sculpture, installation, and performance art. “Body extensions” is a mix of performance art and installation in which Rolla is hanging naked on a wall with several cords attached to him as if they’re holding him up. We’re hoping he’ll be making a personal appearance at the Armory.
This other Brazilian artist has shown in Spain, Lisbon, London, and right here in New York. Jarbas Lopes’ style of work is something we’d see at the New Museum. The work itself is rich with lines, giving it a richness overall. For example, “Cicloviaérea” is a bicycle that is completely woven as if it were a basket (pictured to the left). His signature style in his sketches is color filled in with line techniques. Sort of how we colored as children. Sort of in the way that we colored as children, but Lopes takes it to another level.
Ana Teixeira is a magician. She makes us see mundane objects on a heightened level. The artist born and based in Brazil has captured the essence of everyday life in a beautiful way. In “[Un]comfortable” she used things like a comb, hair, and a pack of cigarettes in see-through cubes. For three years she traveled to Venice, Spain, Paris, among other places, and sat on benches, while knitting, with a sign that read “Escucho historias de amor.” And that is exactly what she did––listened. The Eucharist alone is symbolic but Teixeira took it even further by placing various words on them and calling the whole thing “Diet.”
Enrique Radigales, from Spain, is a techy artist. Okay, so that means he’s a graphic designer, although he thanks the hand that feeds him by illustrating the machines that help him create. His illustrations are drawings of computers, vintage Atari-like keyboards, and retro video recorders. His work also shows the juxtaposition between actuality and its graphic counterpart, which is how life is these days: Internet vs. real life.
Marcos Lopez takes iconic images and/or iconic people and creates his own version of it. The Argentinean is known for his “Latino Pop” photographs, like his take on the First Supper, though here the Jesus persona is a long-haired, shirtless dude, and the setting is more like a free-for-all buffet in a park. There’s also the image of a Virgin Mary-like woman, though the bright crown here is made of forks and knives.
Some might consider the work of Yuri Firmeza as porn. The simple idea of nudity can easily turn someone away, but how can it be porn if the artist is merely capturing himself? The Brazilian artist photographs himself in acts that are quite normal, from walking through nature to eating to (even) intercourse. But he is the only subject. Yeah, you try to figure that one out.
“When is it art art?” It’s an age-old question that gets asked a lot, especially when viewing contemporary art. Some might ask themselves when viewing the work of Mateo Lopez. In “Project for Paper Palace,” the artist from Bogota displays a sheet from a legal pad hanging on a clip––and that’s it. The idea behind viewing his installations, which range from a desk with drawers filled with dirt to a branch sticking through a paper, is that it doesn’t quite matter what his definition of it is, it’s your perception that counts. This kind of artwork makes you think.
Cristina Piffer isn’t just an artist, she’s also an architect. We would love this artist/architect, from Buenos Aires, to have one of her public forum installations here in New York. Whether she’s projecting images on huge plaza sculptures or lights across the sea, Piffer catches our eye with her distinct subtleness. It makes you wonder, “What am I really looking at here?”