Curated by Fernando Salicrup and Christine Licata
Taller Boricua is proud to present “BARRI-O-RAMA” a group exhibition featuring artists Nayda Collazo-Llorens, Rosalinda González, Johnny Ramos, Hatuey Ramos Fermín, Emcee C.M., Master of None and Marna Chester. Incorporating interactive, site-specific multimedia projects, the show both celebrates East Harlem and its community and addresses the different perspectives and challenging issues of the neighborhood.
Nayda Collazo-Llorens’ interactive, multi-channel video installation, “Reverberation PS72/107,” constructs a spatial narrative that explores the phenomenology of architecture. Through an examination of the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center’s building, history and context, she investigates the elasticity and transient nature of public spaces: fragmented, complex places that echo and embody our memories and negotiate our past, present and future. The work incorporates a series of videos focusing on the building’s original architecture that reverberates in the gallery through video feedback and projections. The viewer’s body is also captured upon entering the space, altering the projections in the room as well as reverberating on the walls. Resounding within this in-flux of spacio-temporal experiences is an audio component that integrates the voices of long-time East Harlem residents. Layered within the gallery are oral histories of El Barrio-ites whose relationship and memories to the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center span the early history of the building as students of the grammar school up until today as a Latino cultural center where they now come for arts and cultural events. “Reverberation PS72/107” builds a complex audio-visual topoanalysis—one that permeates the physical and psychological boundaries between interior and exterior spaces.
Responding to the growing issue of gentrification and displacement in East Harlem, Rosalinda González combines two individual yet integrated bodies of work: “The Red Lipstick Tour” and “10029: Diversity is Development.” An ongoing psycho-geographic art project that investigates the art, culture and social space in New York City, The Red Lipstick Tour is a progressive series of multi-media and performative work that explores the challenges and opportunities around our changing socioeconomic and cultural climate. For “BARRI-O-RAMA”, The Red Lipstick Tour is partnering with Taller Boricua, local East Harlem residents, artists and students to produce the site-specific installation “10029: Diversity is Development,” an evolving program in the spirit of “social sculpture” in which the individual is self-empowered to build and redefine existing social structures for their community. Incorporating text/print workshops, live streaming video events and “news reports,” González creates an interactive forum for the community to express El Barrio’s vibrant culture, exchange ideas and voice opinions on the challenges they face.
In the tradition of Harlem photographers such as Rudy Castilla and James Van Der Zee, Johnny Ramos transforms one of Taller Boricua’s galleries into his own temporary “East Harlem Portrait Studio.” Throughout the course of the exhibition he will be photographing East Harlem residents in the classic manner of “sittings.” For example, families and individuals are encouraged to dress up and to bring “props,” such as objects that hold personal meaning and importance to them for the photo session. Ramos captures and celebrates our community’s diverse history and the generations of individuals that make East Harlem such a culturally rich and unique place. Interested El Barrio-ites are invited to come to the gallery and make an appointment during the show dates. At the end of the exhibition there will be a closing reception to view Ramos’ portraits.
For “BARRI-O-RAMA,” Hatuey Ramos Fermín, has created “EAsT Harlem,” a collaborative multimedia, curatorial-art-project that investigates alternative solutions to the on-going problem of fresh food access in East Harlem. One of the main issues in healthy eating is accessibility – knowing where to find alternatives and having choices and options. In response to this challenge, Ramos Fermín has constructed a multi-faceted exhibition and participatory action-work space. The main component being a map of all the available healthy food and fresh produce options in East Harlem with a concentration on bodegas, delis, farmers’ markets, green carts, local gardens, supermarkets and community-supported agriculture. The “EAsT Harlem” map is available in an online-mobile version as well as in the gallery for free in paper format. On the night of the opening the map will also be printed on shopping tote bags during a silk screening workshop in collaboration with The Laundromat Project and artist Shani Peters.
Another aspect of the project includes researching and collaborating with non-profits and community-based organizations in El Barrio and beyond that offer innovative solutions for fresh food access and related issues. All information and support materials collected are incorporated into “EAsT Harlem,” and associated “BARRI-O-RAMA” programming. These include Union Settlement, Urban Layers (www.urbanlayers.org), Concrete Safaris, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), MAPP International Productions/The People’s Potlucks, East Harlem Community Supported Agricultural and Kitchens (CSA / CKA), Go Green! Initiative, Freegans, Young Farmers and East Harlem’s The People’s Kitchen/The Kitchen Table. The gallery space will also be used as an on-going repository for Ramos Fermín’s investigations as well as documenting the process of the project throughout the exhibition.
“EAsT Harlem” also incorporates individual artist collaborators Emcee C.M., Master of None and Marna Chester as part of the project. Emcee C.M., Master of None is participating through his “MOBILIZE: The Portable Pantry” project, offering a “foraging tour” throughout El Barrio that focuses on identifying and gathering edible plants in local parks. He has also constructed an interactive “EAsT Harlem Seed and Recipe Library” both in the gallery and outside of the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center. Marna Chester has created a woodcut print poster for visitors to take home with them that encourages and promotes healthy choices.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS Nayda Collazo-Llorens is a multidisciplinary artist whose work includes drawings, prints, video and installation. She received an MFA from New York University and a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art. She has exhibited extensively including El Museo del Barrio (New York), LMAKprojects (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Puerto Rico (San Juan), EFA Project Space (New York), Location One (New York), the 10th Havana Biennial (Cuba), the 9th Cuenca Biennial (Ecuador) and the Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh). Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art Net, Art US, Art Nexus, and Art News, among others. Her work appears courtesy of LMAKprojects (New York). www.naydacollazollorens.com
Rosalinda González is a multidisciplinary, new media performance artist and writer. She has a BA in Spanish from University of Houston, a BBA, CT in business from the Bauer College of Business / University of Houston and an MFA in Digital Media from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her published works include the essay on Noel Jabbor’s Million Dollar Homes as well as her graduate thesis No Money Shot about performance art and network culture. She is currently a Media Artist in Residence at Video Fashion (New York), and was awarded a residency from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where she developed a two-year experimental exhibition collaborative based in Chicago, Amsterdam and New York. Her video work and performances have been exhibited throughout the US including the McDonough Museum (Ohio), Project Row House (Texas), Saint Cecilia’s Convent (New York), and the Tap Room (Providence). www.rosalindagonzalez.com www.theredlipsticktour.com
Johnny Ramos is a multimedia artist, filmmaker, photographer and arts educator. He has a BFA in film production from Wright State University (Ohio). He produced the award-winning documentary African American that explores the cultural relationship between native Africans and African Americans. Ramos is currently the Director of Media Fellows at the Downtown Community Television Center’s (DCTV) a long-term, in-house Youth Media program. http://jxrpictureshow.tumblr.com/
Hatuey Ramos Fermín is an educator and multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on investigations of issues related to urban space. He has a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Puerto Rico and an MFA in Photography from St. Joost Art and Design Academy (Breda, The Netherlands). He has exhibited internationally in the Netherlands, the U.S., and Puerto Rico including: Apexart (New York City), El Museo del Barrio (New York City) and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico (San Juan). Ramos Fermín has been reviewed in New York Times, Artforum International, Time Out, Deutsche Bank’s ArtMag #55, and Edutopia Magazine. As an educator, he has worked with community-based programs such Communications Project of the Puerto Rico Public Broadcast Corporation, the Teen Council Program at the Bronx Museum of Arts, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), Lehman College Art Gallery (Bronx), and Hostos Community College (Bronx) among other institutions. www.hatmax.net
Emcee C.M., Master of None is a multidisciplinary artist, writer and organizer. He is also a Bicycle Mechanic and Cargo Bike and Boat Builder, Wood/Metal Shop Technician, Curriculum Developer, Domain Leader, Gardener, Radio Dramatist, Frame and Finish Carpenter, Furniture Builder, Installer, Superintendent and Construction Engineer, Design Shop Technician, Foraging and Cooking Instructor, Sauna Engineer, Participatory Public Work Organizer, Woodworker and Fabricator, Russian Translator and Tax Preparer as well as a Goatherd and Cheese Maker. He has a BA from Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) in Linguistics, Russian and Sculpture and an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Connecticut. He has received institutional support from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), Independent Performance Group (IPG), Contemporary Art Galleries at the University of Connecticut (CAG), CUE Art Foundation (New York), Smack Mellon (New York), Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Bronx Museum, Flux Factory (New York), the Aldrich Museum (Ridgefield, CT), I-park (Plantsville, CT), Artspace (New Haven) and Center for Book Arts (New York). www.emceecm.com
Marna Chester is a multidisciplinary artist and educator. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University and Masters of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute. In March 2010 Marna was awarded a grant by the Brooklyn Arts Council for her multi-disciplinary art project, Eat Better Now! Based on an edition of woodcut posters she created, this ongoing project is designed to raise awareness about food accessibility issues in NYC. The early stages of the project were documented in the short film, “Fly On the Wall”. Chester has created a community cookbook with East New York residents, and has participated in panels discussions and lectures, including The Hungry Filmmakers at Anthology Film Archives, Harlem Children’s Zone, Girlscouts of America, Groundwork Inc., and Molloy College Art Gallery. In conjunction with GrowNYC and Studio in a School, she currently teaches nutrition throughout NYC’s public schools. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t07t1BZMBrs
This exhibition is made possible with support from The New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and individual donations.
Special thanks to the Heritage High students, Sharon Volpe, Elizabeth Hamby, David Sundell, Michael Jimenez, Urban Layers, Emcee C.M., Master of None, Marna Chester, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, Shani Peters, Petrushka Bazin, The Laundromat Project, The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Union Settlement, Concrete Safaris, Neighborhood Explorers from MCNY, Cornell University Dept. of Crop Soil Sciences, Grow NYC, Hope Community, NY State Dept. Health, Freegans, NY Coalition Against Hunger, Harvest Home Farmers’ Markets, MAPP International, The People’s Kitchen Table and all the CSAs, Community Gardens, Bodegas and Green Carts of East Harlem.
For additional information about any of the artists, please contact Taller Boricua: [email protected]