ARTURO HERRERA: Les Noces (The Wedding) AT AMERICAS SOCIETY
Watch a video of artist Arturo Herrera and Curator and Americas Society Visual Arts Director Gabriela Rangel discuss the process of putting together the exhibition Arturo Herrera: Les Noces (The Wedding), at Americas Society art gallery. The artist also gives a tour of selected pieces in the exhibition. Video produced by David Gacs.
New York, January 14, 2011 â•„ The Art Gallery at Americas Society is proud to present Arturo Herrera: Les Noces (The Wedding), a solo show on an artist whose work with the legacy of abstraction and the history of modernism have earned him international recognition. The exhibition, curated by Americas Society Director of Visual Arts Gabriela Rangel, will open on February 3 and run through April 30.
Arturo Herrera: Les Noces (The Wedding) is anchored by the gripping piece Les Noces, Herreraâ•˙s first work to incorporate moving images. This two-channel projection is based on the 1923 ballet, with music scored by the composer Igor Stravinsky for Sergei Diaghilevâ•˙s Les Ballet Russes, one of the most significant modernist experiments ofgesamtkunstwerkâ•‰an artistic creation that synthesizes the elements of various art formsâ•‰of the twentieth century. According to Herrera, â•˛Stravinsky actually built The Wedding from snatches of songâ•‰some vulgar, some poeticâ•‰that accompany a wedding ritualâ•œThe text is carefully constructed through fragmentation and repetition from anthologies of Russian folklore. He built it out perfectly to his specifications, but itâ•˙s based totally on nonliterary verse. So the film is based also on that kind of arrangement.â•ˇ
For Les Noces (The Wedding), Herrera has digitally reworked fragments of his own work into an ever-shifting dance of abstract black and white images set to Stravinksyâ•˙s music. Departing from an earlier series of 80 black and white photographs, Les Noces (The Wedding) presents highly manipulated images of fragments of his drawings and collages, which in turn include bits of imagery culled from sources like comic books. The artist worked with a computer programmer to develop software that draws randomly on this database of images to create a changing sequence in response to the pitch of Stravinskyâ•˙s music. This chance-based process intentionally invokes the mutable nature of performance as well as the transformative power of collage: no dance is ever performed exactly the same way twice.
The show will also feature several pieces in which Herreraâ•˙s fragmentation process is revealed, including one of his first collages from the 1990s, some of his most recent floor pieces, works on paper, and cut-outs, as well as the black and white photographic series from which the artist departed for the installation Les Noces.
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ABOUT THE ARTIST
Arturo Herrera received a BA from the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Herrera was born in 1959 in Caracas, Venezuela. He lives and works in Berlin since 2003. Herrera has been the recipient of the prestigious Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienstâ•˙s Fellowship as well as the Guggenheim and the Pollock-Krasner awards. His work is represented in museum collections in Europe, the U.S and Latin America.
Herrera is broadly known for his explorations of abstraction through fragmentation, dislocation and re-contextualization. The artist works on a variety of media, including collages, sculpture, photography, prints, and more recently video. His oeuvre rigorously excavates modernist art history, taking existing source material and then abstracting and reworking it to make something new and distinctly his. Selected solo exhibitions include Haus am Waldsee in Berlin; Centro Gallego de Arte ContemporÃ¡nea in Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Ikon Gallery in Birmingham England; Le Centre dâ•˙Art Contemporain in Geneva, Switzerland; The Dia Center for the Arts, New York; The Art Institute in Chicago; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Canada. His work has also been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the MusÃ©e d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; the Whitney Biennial; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Pinacoteca do Estado de SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil; El Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Argentina, and many other international institutions.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Gabriela Rangel is director of Visual Arts at Americas Society. She holds a BA in film studies from the International Film School at San Antonio de los BaÃ±os, Cuba; an MA in media and communications studies from the Universidad CatÃ“lica AndrÃ©s Bello; Caracas, and an MA in curatorial studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. She has curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions on contemporary art that include Marta MinujÃ–n: MINUCODEs (Americas Society, 2010), Dias & Riedweg . . . and it becomes something else (Americas Society, 2009); Gordon Matta-Clark: Undoing Spaces (Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima; PaÃ§o Imperial, Rio de Janeiro; MAM Sao Paulo; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile – 2009â•„10); and MÃºsica Silenciosamente (FundaciÃ“n Chacao, Caracas, 2006). She has contributed to a number of publications, including Larger than Life,Vasco Araujo and Javier TÃ©llez (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation), Gordon Matta-Clark: Undoing Spaces (MALI-PaÃ§o das Artes-MAM Sao Paulo-MNBA, 20009-10); and Arte no es Vida (Museo del Barrio, 2008); and Liliana Porter (MALBA, 2003).
About the exhibition: Americas Society is proud to introduce Arturo Herrera’s groundbreaking installation Les Noces, the artist’s first work to incorporate music and moving images to New York audiences. Herrera is internationally renowned for his explorations of a wide variety of different media, including collage, sculpture, photography, prints, and, more recently, video. His practice is deeply informed by the history of modernist abstraction.
Les Noces is a two-channel digital projection based on the 1923 ballet of the same name, scored by the composer Igor Stravinsky for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes. Herrera has digitally reworked fragments of his own works as well as leftovers gathered from his studio into an ever-shifting dance of abstract black-and-white images set to Stravinsky’s music. This chance-based process intentionally invokes the mutable nature of performance as well as the transformative power of collage: no dance is ever performed exactly the same way twice. The use of Stravinsky’s complex music score in conjunction with fragmented materials animated and projected as moving images also addresses the difficulty to make abstraction an intelligible process.
The exhibition will also feature works on paper, sculptures, reliefs, collages, and photography in which Herrera’s deconstructive process becomes transparent and links to the moving images. The exhibition reconsiders Herrera’s approach to collage and abstraction as one of the most important experimental work to have emerged after the 1990s.
Americas Society gratefully acknowledges the following donors for their generous support of this exhibition: Chevron, Mercantil, and Estrellita and Daniel Brodsky.