Sarah Burke from the East Bay Express reviews Victor Cartagena’s installations in this week’s East Bay Express.
Victor Cartagena likens the act of remembering to that of crossing a bridge. In his artist’s talk at the Richmond Art Center, he described how he was forced to leave his home country of El Salvador in 1985 due to civil war, and sought refuge in California. Since being displaced, he has relied on this imagined bridge as recourse to a sense of identity and belonging. But it has been decades since he left his home, and much of what he wishes to return to no longer exists. Such tensions around identity and politics are the subject of the Bay Area artist’s installation Sites/Sights of Intervention, which is now on view at the Richmond Art Center.
The installation consists of various pieces that are meant to be experienced as a visual and spatial dialogue within which the viewer is centered. The gallery is dimly lit, and entering it is like wandering into Cartagena’s memory — a negative space of placelessness. “I heard the other day that memory is such a place that those who have memory leave the present …. and that makes me feel that I am not alone because being part of this group of immigrants, who live all over the world, we don’t belong anywhere,” said Cartagena. “We have our own territory, our own country — the immigrant country.”
Read the full review here.
Kenneth Baker’s review “Victor Cartagena’s subtle political wake-up call” appeared in todays’ SF Chronicle.
The more topical political art gets, the sooner it starts to look dated. Victor Cartagena has averted this risk by not tying his “Sites/Sights of Intervention” at the Richmond Art Center too closely to events in his native El Salvador.
Works in his complex ensemble evoke the tragedy of Latin American elites’ corruption, civil war and American anticommunist imperialism, but not too specifically.
In this context, an ostensibly simple object such as “Ante-Ojos/Anti-Eyes” (2014) – a framed pair of crushed glasses – summons thoughts of violent reprisal, the punishment of conscientious witness and the blindness of media complicity.
The work even suggests itself as a distant, underprivileged relation of Jasper Johns’ satirical relief sculpture of lensless glasses, “The Critic Sees” (1961), in which mouths stand in for eyes, and as symbolic windows to a disfigured soul.
Read the full review: Victor Cartagena’s Subtle Political Wake-up Call, SF Chronicle, April 11, 2014
This Saturday’s Upcycle event is featured in the SF Chronicle’s 96 Hours section. We sure hope to see you for an afternoon of making, upcycling and music!
Landfills will be a little emptier this weekend, thanks to a fun, kid-friendly program at the Richmond Art Center.
The program, the second annual Upcycle, is a maker festival where families can create, see and learn about the art of “upcycling,” creatively reusing materials otherwise headed for the garbage.
Over the course of the day, visitors will be able to sew bags and quilts from old pieces of clothing, weave small rugs from old T-shirts, use broken plates and tiles to create a colorful mosaic trash can, turn use bicycle inner tubes into jewelry, and experience the magic of fire and metal to fold-form 3-D objects. In many cases, participating families will be able to engage in these activities with the help of local artists, too, taking direction from creative minds who work with upcycled materials every day.
Read the full story: Upcycle: Kids Learn How to Turn Trash into Art in Richmond, SF Chronicle 96 Hours · April 9, 2014
Why Not Just Photograph it? That’s the question that Jeffrey Carlson, Contributing Editor at Fine Art Connoisseur asked John Wehrle the curator for our exhibition The Language of Realism and a California artist best known for his site-specific public artworks. This exhibition features four West Coast realist painters — Michael Beck, Christine Hanlon, Anthony Holdsworth and John Rampley.
I have often been asked the question, ‘Why not just photograph it?’ I have never had a simple answer, either for myself or for others. So, one of the goals of this exhibition was to provide examples of realist painting that, if not providing a definitive solution, at least presented a variety of reasons.” – John Wehrle.
Read the full interview here: Honoring the Language of Realism, Fine Art Connoisseur.
Image: Michael Beck, American Roots, Oil on canvas, 46 x 40 inches, 2009. Featured artist in “The Language of Realism” Exhibition
Kristin Farr from KQED stopped by to view our latest exhibition, The American Teenager Project, a collection of photographs and audio recordings completed by 20 local teenagers.
Robin Bowman is a photojournalist who traveled the country interviewing teenagers about their lives in the early 2000s. She took their portraits to illustrate the interviews, and later published them in a book. Bowman’s portraits prove that a picture is worth many words. She skillfully captures moments and complex stories in single, black-and-white images. The project grew when Bowman began working with teens on another level, training them to conduct their own interviews and shoot portraits of their peers. The group of students currently working on the project are in Richmond where many of the portraits are on view in the bustling back hallway of the Richmond Art Center.
Read the full review here
Collaborating with ‘The American Teenager,” KQED Arts, January 31, 2014
The SF Chronicle 96 Hours cover story featured our exhibition The Art of Living Black. Writer Kimberly Chun stopped by the Richmond Art Center for a preview of the exhibition and spoke to some of the 50 artists who will be showing their work. We’re thrilled that our work hosting this long-running exhibition of established and emerging artists has received this major coverage!
It’s unique — there’s nothing else like this in Northern California. There’s no other place you can go every year and see a cross section of the area’s black artists.”
— Oakland artist Ajuan Mance.
Read the full story online.
This story was originally published by the Richmond Confidential and written by Rachel Waldholz. Read the full story and see additional photos here.
The internationally renowned artist Richard Diebenkorn showed his drawings here. Tom Marioni, the conceptual artist known for the One Second Sculpture, was a curator here. Jasper Johns, credited with paving the way for both Pop Art and Minimalism – and an intimate of Bob Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, and John Cage — had his first West Coast show here.
For decades, the Richmond Art Center provided early exposure for artists ahead of the curve, many of whom went on to blossom nationally and internationally.