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Victor Cartagena’s Subtle Political Wake-up Call

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

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