Twice a year, the Qorikancha museum has a contemporary art contest that draws entries from around Cusco and Peru. Above: the winning entry, Perturbación de la memoria, by Edwin Yuri Huaman Huillca.
Announcing the winners.
In the exhibit, I saw some nice use of materials. A work by Nilton Melgar Carrión incorporates canvas, cardboard, trash bags, hair (or fur) and Andean textiles.
Last week, I attended one of the better art openings I’ve been to in a long, long time. The Museo Qorikancha, the museum attached to the ancient Inca site and Dominican monastery in Cusco, held a reception for its semi-annual art contest. For the last eight years, the museum has been putting together a collection of contemporary art and supporting local and regional artists through a regular exhibition program and art contests. This year’s theme was ‘Memory’ and the show provided a good opportunity to take in the local scene. Things really got interesting halfway through the opening reception when the building lost power. In fact, the lights never came back on. Not that it mattered to anyone at the opening. Folks promptly lit up their cigarettes and used their cell phone lights to admire the art. Then the Dominican monks laid out a table of wine, which somehow everyone was able to find in the pitch dark.
The last time Celso and I were in Peru we had the honor of meeting Fortunato Urcuhuaranga, the man behind the country’s colorful band posters known as afiches chicha — or chicha posters. Today, a friend forwarded us the above doc by Mario Chumpen Espinoza on Urcuhuaranga’s life and work. If you speak Spanish, definitely worth checking out.
Schematic for La Luz, to be installed by Celso at the old Inca sun temple in Cusco, Peru.
Yes, I’m asking for money.
This summer, I’m going to be working as studio assistant/translator/chasqui for my partner-in-crime Celso on a series of installations that will go up at the Qorikancha the old Inca sun temple in Cusco, Peru. For the project — which is titled La Luz — he’ll be building a series of architectural installations around the ruins grounds (and the attached Dominican monastery) using several hundred bottles of Inca Kola, the nuclear yellow Peruvian soda (see images above and below). It will be a pop paean to the gold that once covered the site. The piece will be pulled apart and re-installed in a new location every three days. At the end of each installation, the public will be allowed to take the Inca Kola home.
The museum that manages the site, the Museo Qorikancha y Convento de Santo Domingo, has commissioned the piece. But as with most arts institutions in Peru, the budgets are tiny. Which is why we’re asking for your help. This is going to be a beautiful project — unlike anything the museum has ever done. So pleasepleaseplease help us get to Peru! Any donation, no matter how small, makes a difference.
Please click through to Celso’s Kickstarter to send us your pennies. We have all kinds of goodies for rewards. And we promise that your donations will be wisely and prudently spent (on lots of Inca Kola). If you’re a regular reader, please think of this as a way to help me keep doing what I love to do — namely, writing about great-weird art I find wherever I happen to be.
I’ve been marinating in photographer Andrés Marroquín Winkelmann’s latest book Zapallal | Yurinaki for several days — a chronicle of two Peruvian communities that are connected by circumstance and economics, even as they stand worlds apart. Separated by the Andes, Yurinaki sits at the edge of the central Amazon. Zapallal is located on the outskirts of Lima, tucked into the dusty-apocalyptic hills that make up the Peruvian coast.
The latter settlement came into existence in the 1980s, after a series of economic crises and the country’s simmering Internal Conflict led hundreds of thousands of rural Peruvians to migrate to the capital. Many of the residents of Zapallal hail from or are in some way linked to Yurinaki. But they are connected in other ways, too: by poverty, by social class, by their lack of political power.
In these communities, Marroquín Winkelmann finds a rare beauty. A young man sits cinematically in a mototaxi. A cat howls from a rickety wood platform while a pig watches pensively. A little boy plays in a toy car without wheels; he has nowhere to go. Marroquín uses lighting to dramatic effect — even in daylight settings — for images that take on an almost baroque quality in tone and content. (Note the daughter, above, in an almost blessing-like pose with the fly swatter.)
In Peru — a country where nearly one in ten people live in extreme poverty, and nearly one in three live under the poverty line — the lives of the poor can seem almost like an abstract concept. But Marroquín takes the statistics and makes them human, recording dignity where most folks wouldn’t think to look.
Zapallal | Yurinaki is available at Dalpine. Plus, see some of the images from the series on Marroquín’s website. (The puny images on my blog don’t do it justice.)
MUST. READ. A stunning 1988 essay by Joan Didion on our political “process” and its coverage in the media, and how it bears absolutely no resemblance to reality. Though I’m still trying to figure out what the hell “housemaid Spanish” is. (@citizen_kahn.)
Why solar energy is not as green as we might like to believe. A good reason to stop air conditioning shit to death.
Thanks to Salon, Jezebel and Mediaite for picking up/linking to my piece on Jennifer Dalton’s installation at the Winkleman Gallery. Interestingly, as Mediaite points out: Jon Stewart’s lady ratio is even worse thus far in 2011. To make up for the inequity, male members of the program should all be required to get bikini waxes — the full back, crack and sack.
Not as Futuristic as It Looks: Christopher Hawthorne rawks it on this critique of Apple’s proposed new corporate park in Cupertino, which is designed in a not terribly cutting-edge, car-centric suburban style. Brings to mind Lewis Baltz’s photos of Irvine’s office parks from the 1960s and early ‘70s.
A detail of a New York Times cover reproduced by Fernando Bryce, in his staggeringly detailed World War II-themed show at Alexander and Bonin. (All photos by C-M.)
This is one of those exhibits that made me exclaim “holy shit” the minute I walked in: for his piece El Mundo en Llamas (The World in Flames), Fernando Bryce has lined the walls of Alexander and Bonin’s ample space in Chelsea with faithful ink recreations of World War II-era newspaper front pages from England, France, the U.S., Germany and Peru. (All are depicted above the fold.) Screaming headlines related to war cover the walls, from floor to ceiling — a stirring chronicle of long-ago news reports on battle advances, defeats, carnage and victory. In between, Bryce has incorporated his renderings of era film posters that he culled from the pages of El Comercio, Peru’s leading daily. (Bryce was born in Peru; he produced El Mundo en Llamas in 2010-11.)
The result is a chronicle of the war that is intensely personal, providing the rare opportunity to view this much-studied global conflagration through a uniquely Latin American lens. Not only are there some interesting historical finds, such as an ad for a 1940s Disney film geared at and incorporating South Americans (see below), the film posters featured — for flicks such as La Sombra del Terror (The Shadow of Terror) and Los Crimenes del Doctor Satán (The Crimes of Doctor Satan) — seem to echo, in exaggerated, graphic form, everything happening in the news. In addition, Bryce’s illustrations are exquisite, turning scenes of war into works of ethereal beauty (such as the image of the Australian soldier, above, from the New York Times). Taken together, the exhibit provides a riveting take on the nature of war, news, propaganda and graphic art. Consider it a must-see.