Anarchy and Dialectic in Desire Pt 1

Genders and Marginalization in Puerto Rico

Vista de Sala 1 Vista de Sala 1Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Part One: Dialectic

The exhibition Anarchy and Dialectic in Desire: Gender and Marginalization in Puerto Rico brings together heterogeneous identities that have been marginalized because of their gender, race and / or social class within the art scene in Puerto Rico during the XX and XXI centuries. The exhibition, conceived by Guest Curator Raquel Torres Arzola, invites the study of their concerns as artists, their discourses and transformations, whilst pursuing a review of their contributions to our history of contemporary art.

In this exhibition hall and its three galleries, the body is explored as an icon and as a space for negotiation and struggle between their own identities and how they are socially structured. The artists exhibited are Bárbara Díaz Tapia, María Luisa Penne, Myrna Báez, Annex Burgos, Rosa Irigoyen, Frieda Medín, Mickey Negrón and Poli Marichal.

From left to right, the sculptures Impetus, by Annex Burgos; Tarea [Homework] by Rosa Irigoyen; and the text based work Cero título [Zero title] by Frieda Medín.

Vista de Sala 1 Exhibition view - Exhibition Hall 1, Gallery 2Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Anarchy and Dialectic in Desire is divided into three components: a two-part exhibition, and a series of performance commissions. In this first iteration, entitled Dialectic, the works are presented as an exercise of synthesis of opposites. The installation allows the exploration of possible encounters and disagreements between the discourse and the experience of inhabiting feminized bodies; as well as an exploration of the guidelines and distances between generations and schools of thought.

Partial view of the exhibition. From left to right: the experimental film Los espejismos de Mandrágora Luna [The Mirages of Mandragora Luna] by Poli Marichal, the painting Estudio de desnudo [Nude Study] by Luisa Géigel, the drawing entitled El closet de la loca [The Crazy Woman’s Closet] by María Antonia Ordóñez, the photo Coerción [Coercion] by Brenda Torres Figueroa and the installation Aura Self Portraits I & II by Chaveli Sifre.

Jerónimo (2016) by Mickey NegrónMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Mickey Negrón
13:35 min
Director: Hugo Serejo Genes
Courtesy of Mickey Negrón

Gender and how we assume it, is nothing other than a construction that is molded from vigilance, control, oppression and punishment. Consequently, throughout our lives we yield, negotiate or transgress that power from the body itself. The video Jerónimo incorporates a series of three performances by Mickey Negrón that present three different instances of the evolution of the body [cuerpo] towards a self-conscious body [cuerpa], capable of negotiating, transgressing and demarcating various levels of rupture with power and domination.

The Mirages of Mandragora Luna (1986) by Poli MarichalMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Poli Marichal on The Mirages of Mandrágora Luna [Spanish]

Poli Marichal (1956)
The Mirages of Mandrágora Luna, 1986
13:32 mins
Courtesy of the artist

In this short film, Poli Marichal, considered one of the pioneers of experimental cinema in Puerto Rico, explores subjectivity from a feminine and feminist perspective. Inspired by Maya Deren's cinema, she creates an inner travelogue about a night spent inside a house in Old San Juan. During this trip/dispossession, the protagonist faces different aspects of her reality as a woman/mother/partner seen through a prism where the real and the dreamlike are inextricably intertwined.

The Crazy Woman's Closet (1985) by María Antonia OrdóñezMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

María Antonia Ordoñez on The Crazy Woman's Closet [Español]

Maria Antonia Ordoñez
The Crazy Woman's Closet, 1985
Color pencil drawing on paper
Collection of Margarita Ostoloza Bey

The themes of sensuality, the body, femininity and the Caribbean predominate in María Antonia Ordoñez's work. She belonged and actively participated in the Association of Women Artists of Puerto Rico. In El closet de la loca [The Crazy Woman's Closet], María Antonia Ordóñez makes visible, proposes and denounces the inner world of the oppressed subject.

Aura Portraits I & II (2017) by Chaveli SifreMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Chaveli Sifre on Aura Portraits I & II [English]

Chaveli Sifre
Aura Portraits I & II, 2016
Courtesy of the artist

This set of works is part of a broader research in which the artist investigates alternative spiritual practices and explores how objects and processes are related and are intended to reveal concepts such as "I", "luck" and "destiny".

Vista de Sala 1 Exhibition view - Exhibition Hall 1, Gallery 3Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Beyond the artworks and the conditions that generated them, this exhibition provides access to encountering such works, making visible the multiplicity and heterogeneity of perspectives and the recognition of the discursive and formal variety of their aesthetic production.

From left to right: the installation Deconstruyendo las pelotas [Deconstructing the balls] by Zuania Minier, the sculpture Kunst by Melanie Rivera Flores, and Antropometrías [Anthropometries], a compilation of recent works by Inés Aponte from the Trazos corporales [Bodily Traces] series, in which she experiments with abstraction as a sensory exercise based on the marks, traces and gestures of his body.

Ream Clean (1971) by Suzi FerrerMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Suzi Ferrer (1940-2006)
Ream Clean, 1971
Private collection

In her piece, Suzi Ferrer explores both the symbolic relationship between gender and social roles and its deconstruction. The social criticism contained in these explorations is transferred from the aesthetic experience that it proposes, in which the spectator's own reality is a fundamental part of the piece.

Untitled Untitled (1994) by Awilda Sterling DupreyMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Awilda Sterling Duprey
Plastic, photographic slides, plastic boxes with magnifying glass lids, quartz, metal, piece of FEMA tarp, acrylic paint, collage, sand, wood, cardboard and photos.
23 3/16” x 11 13/16” x 1 3/8” (66.5 x 30 x 3.5 cm.)
Collection of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico
Gift, 2011

Untitled is a self referential and highly symbolic book by artist Awilda Sterling. In this piece, made mostly of found objects, the idea of the book and its materiality coincide with the exercise of abstracting (oneself) and reaffirming (oneself) in a language of its own that redefines the beautiful. By including photographic slides and self-portraits, the artist establishes connections that discuss the relationship between materiality, the exercise of painting and representation.

Exhibition view - Reading RoomMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

As part of the exhibition, the Reading Room offers access to the documents, archives, catalogs and books that nurtured the research in order to encourage and strengthen the necessary historical review. Among them, documents from the archive of the Association of Women Artists of Puerto Rico, as well as books and exhibition texts by authors that explore gender, race and social class such as Nelson Maldonado Torres, María Lugones, Nelly Richard and Elizabeth Grosz, among others.

Exhibition view - Exhibition Hall 3, Gallery 2Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

One of the purposes of the exhibition is to rethink the selection criteria of the pieces and break with the traditional definition of “quality” as a criterion that has been historically imposed in art and from sexist perspectives on women and other gender non-conforming identities.

In the three galleries of this exhibition hall, the body is explored from a metaphorical relationship with the public and the private space to make visible the intersections between genders, races and social classes and their effects on the marginalities. The pieces explore the artists’ material conditions, the boundaries between aesthetic practice and political activism, inbetweenness or areas of ambiguity and nonconformity as a material and aesthetic struggle from a transfeminist perspective.

From left to right, the En Tránsito project by the transmasculine artist C. Carmona, the installation Mucama Project by Marisol Plard Narváez, Resonancia II [Resonance II], a lithograph by Susana Herrero, the sculpture Cúmulo [Cumulus] by Elizabeth Robles, and Nacimiento [Birth], an abstract painting by Amanda Carmona Bosch.

Birth (from the series Abnormal Fobia Pigmentation) (2000) by Amanda Carmona BoschMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Amanda Carmona on Birth [English]

Amanda Carmona Bosch (1956)
Birth, from the series Abnormal Fobia Pigmentation, 2000
Oil on canvas
78" x 109" (198.1 x 276.8 cm.)
Courtesy of the artist

Nacimiento [Birth] is a large format abstract painting representing a childbirth, part of a series of 13 oil paintings that reinterprets traditional subjects in the history of Western art. The work challenges the representation of the body as a producer of meanings and experiences, while subjectively demarcating the relationships between those experiences and the role of women in society.

The artist usually oscillates between abstraction and figurative art. The title refers to a retina condition called abnormal fovea pigmentation, which causes distorted vision -a nod to abstraction.

“La maja desnuda”… Androginia (1998) by Freddie MercadoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Freddie Mercado
"La maja desnuda"....Androginia, 1998
from the series Efemérides con Sorna en Transgresión
20" x 24" (50.8 x 60.9 cm.)
Courtesy of Freddie Mercado

In "La maja desnuda" ... Androginia by Freddie Mercado, the artist appears before the camera lying seductively on a bed in the manner of the famous Romantic painting by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. This photograph is part of the series Efémerides con Sorna en Transgresión , and one of five photographs in the exhibition that document some of the performances by Mercado that would mark a milestone in the history of Puerto Rican art during the 1980s and 1990s. In the series, Mercado reaffirms and discusses the rupture of the relationship between gender and biology, inserting in the local art scene an important transgression that would demarcate new areas of ambiguity: art, rupture, body, (in)conformity, gender and iconography.

I'm Gonna Get You...Body, Woman, Rupture (2018) by Marta Pérez GarcíaMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Marta Pérez García on the importance of language and speaking up in this work

Marta Pérez García (1965)
I’m Gonna Get You… Body, Woman, Rupture, 2018-19
Dimensiones variable
Courtesy of the artist

The artist spent four months visiting shelters as well as non-governmental organizations that provide assistance and support to women and other identities that have been victims of gender violence in Puerto Rico. During this period, she engaged the communities through games, workshops and conversations, inviting each participant to construct a doll as a self-portrait that embodies their experience of violence and, eventually, healing.

The dozens of dolls that comprise I’m Gonna Get You… Body, Woman, Rupture make up a solid piece of collective authorship that makes visible and denounces the magnitude of the intensity of the problem of gender violence in Puerto Rico, as well as its complexity of possible solutions.

Exhibition view - Exhibition Hall BPPRMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Partial view of the exhibition. In these galleries, the works explore the intersections between body, language and territory. Poetic and political strategies and approaches to coloniality, borders, migration, domination and power are made visible and studied from a decolonial feminist perspective.

From left to right: the painting Ella, la más artista de todos [She, the most artist of them all] by María de Mater O’Neill, Untitled, a painting by the Afro-Puerto Rican artist Cecilia Orta, and Isla Vacía, by the painter Arnaldo Roche Rabell.

Mobile Coyote (2009) by Norma Vila RiveroMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Norma Vila on Coyote Móvil [Español]

Norma Vila Rivero, 1982
Mobile Coyote, 2009-2011
Chromogenic print
Collection of José Hernández Castrodad e Iris Marcano

In her work, Norma Vila works on analogies and the double meaning of objects, words and concepts, whose starting points originate from personal experiences within her collective environment. Coyote Móvil [Mobile Coyote] is a photo taken while driving from Caguas to San Juan that alludes to the problem of emigration. People who work as intermediaries to cross or smuggle immigrants across the border from Mexico to the United States are known as "coyotes".

Canoe (2007) by Karla Sofia Claudio BetancourtMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Karla Sofía Claudio Betancourt
Canoe, 2007
3.41 mins
Courtesy of the artist

Taking as a starting point the ideas and anecdotes presented by the Puerto Rican author Eduardo Lalo in his book dónde, these images invite us to ask what happens beyond our inclusion in the text of the colonizer (in this case, the U.S. colonizer). The artist seeks to illustrate the subversion of the colonial vocabulary that occurs in the oral language of the colonized.

The video was originally created for an English-speaking U.S. audience, so the names and nouns "chewed" serve as a connecting link to familiar geographies, both for them and the for the Puerto Rican diaspora that also coincides in these spaces.

Delatoria (2017) by Sofía Gallisá MurienteMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Sofía Gallisá Muriente on Delatoria [Español]

Sofia Gallisá Muriente
Delatoria, 2017
Installation with platform, light and glass slide
Courtesy of the artist

In Delatoria, the artist establishes poetic and political approaches around the way we relate to the national landscape as a place of idealization and / or power. Three halos of light surround the projection of a photograph that shows the "perimeter line" of the Puerto Rico police, demarcating the exclusion and inclusion zones during the first meeting of the Puerto Rico Fiscal Control Board on November 18, 2016.

Roaming (2005) by Nayda Collazo-LlorensMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Nayda Collazo Llorens on Roaming [English]

Nayda Collazo Lloréns
Roaming, 2005
5.18 min
Courtesy of the artist

Through her interdisciplinary practice, the artist examines the way we perceive and process information, and other concepts related to navigation, memory and noise.

The video Roaming presents us with a journey without a specific destination through a structure formed by interconnected lines. The title refers to cell phone terminology and the concept of continuous searching or wandering.

Credits: Story

Participating artists in this first iteration of Anarchy and Dialectic in Desire include:
Inés Aponte
Myrna Báez
Rafael Báez
Marina Barsy
Isabel Bernal
Analida Burgos
Annex Burgos
Amanda Carmona Bosch
C. Carmona
Myritza Castillo
Karla Sofía Claudio
Carlos Collazo
Nayda Collazo Lloréns
Lourdes Correa Carlo
Colectivo Toto
Bárbara Díaz Tapia
Susi Ferrer
Sofía Gallisá Muriente
Luisa Géigel
Félix González Torres
Consuelo Gotay
Susana Herrero
Rosa Irigoyen
Marta Lahens
Egbert Leandro
María Luisa Penne de Castillo
Poli Marichal
Frieda Medin
Freddie Mercado
Zuania Minier
Mickey Negrón
María de Mater O’Neill
Carlo André Oliveras
Cecilia Orta
Marta Mabel Pérez
Marta Pérez García
Marisol Plard Narváez
Estefanía Rivera Cortés
Lilliana Rivera
Melanie Rivera Flores
Mónica Rodríguez
Nora Rodríguez Vallés
Rosaura Rodríguez
Arnaldo Roche
Elizabeth Magaly Robles
Brenda Torres Figueroa
Chezelle Torres
María Antonia Ordóñez
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz
Chaveli Sifre
Awilda Sterling Duprey
Norma Vila
Lio Villahermosa


Board of Directors:
Rubén Méndez Benabe, President
Rafael Flores Pérez, Vice President
José Negrón, Treasurer
María Awilda Quintana-Román, Secretary
Salvador Alemañy
Antonio García
Pedro Muñoz Marín
Enid Picó
Letty Rivero Iturregui
Luis Fernando Rodríguez

Marianne Ramírez Aponte
Executive Director and Chief Curator

Evita Busa
Deputy Director Wanda

Michelle Dilán

Marina Reyes Franco

Raquel Torres Arzola
Guest Curator

Evita Busa
General Coordination

Lourdes Ranero

Marianne Ramírez Aponte
Exhibition Design

Paloma Rodríguez Ramírez
Project Logo Design

Sergio Hernández
Julián Collazo López
José Miranda
Exhibition Installation

Joudy Santaliz
Jocsan Rodríguez
Alexnel Suárez
Exhibition Installation Assistants

Raquel Torres Arzola
Glorimar Marrero Sánchez
Joudy Santaliz
Educational Program

Karin Cardona
Head Archivist

Carolina Cortés

Dalila Rodríguez Saavedra
Communications Coordination

Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña
Museo de Arte de Ponce
Tate Gallery
Roberto González
José Hernández Castrodad & Iris Marcano
Margarita Ostolaza Bey

Carlos RuIz Valarino
Artwork Photography

Antonio Ramírez Aponte
Exhibition Installation Photography

Our special thanks to the sponsors of this project:
Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
Comisión Especial Conjunta de Fondos Legislativos para Impacto Comunitario Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña
National Endowment for the Arts
Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades
National Endowment for the Humanities
Fondo Flamboyán para las Artes

MAC Sponsors:
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
Liberty Business
La Red de Fundaciones
Miranda Foundation

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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