|curator's statement||november 2006 selection|
h o t c h i c k s a n d o t h e r s
c u r a t o r : r o c í o a r a n d a - a l v a r a d o
Browsing the slide registry at Visual AIDS is like encountering a playland of lush colors, rich and varied textures, and objects and bodies presented specifically to attract the eye. I selected works that, first, were immediately pleasurable, for their color or form or content. The works by Valerie Caris and Rene Santos both present lovely, feminine forms, each seductively positioned and very much available to the viewer's eye. Sunil Gupta's photograph presents us with a masculine figure seen from behind. While still seductive, this figure remains less approachable, a feeling underscored by the (seeming?) lack of connection between the Christmas tree and nudity. Groups of ladies, or what we are supposed to believe are ladies, wander back and forth through the images -- feathered, adorned, bejeweled, they add layers that question gender and its social construction (wig or ball gown anyone?). I selected objects that make simple (but fierce) statements to begin and end this exhibition. Jimmy DeSana's conceptual work asks us to think about 101 nudes and what that grouping might mean or look like. I've closed with one of my favorite objects in the world -- a disco ball -- referenced in the photograph (a detail from a larger installation titled Drag Queen Spaceship) by Curtis Carman. These two simple works frame a roster of lush images that presents a variety of texts that voice the concerns of contemporary culture. I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to have organized this exhibition.
b i o g r a p h y
Rocío Aranda-Alvarado received her Ph.D. in Art History from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2001. Her dissertation was a study of modernist movements in Harlem and Havana between 1925 and 1945. She is the curator at Jersey City Museum, where she organizes exhibitions of contemporary art featuring work by both established and emerging artists in the New Jersey and New York region. She also organizes exhibitions drawn from the Museum's eclectic permanent collection of American art including paintings, sculpture, photography, works on paper and material culture from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Ms. Aranda-Alvarado is currently working on a retrospective of the work and ideas of the Puerto Rican conceptual and performance artist Rafael Montañez Ortíz and has recently organized a group show titled Tropicalisms, about the representation and perception of the tropical landscape. She has been invited to speak at the Smithsonian Institution, the Whitney Museum, the Americas Society, the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture (Austin, Texas) and has taught art history at local universities. Her writing has appeared in various publications including catalogue essays for the Museum of Modern Art and El Museo del Barrio, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, ArtNexus, Review (the journal of the Americas Society), NYFA Quarterly, Small Axe, BOMB and American Art.