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The Supper Club: Reflections on the Landscapes of Latinx Art

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NYU Department of Social & Cultural Analysis

20 Cooper Square, 4th Fl

New York, NY 10003

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A reflection on the contemporary issues and the racial and identity landscapes that Latinx artists have to maneuver in the arts. How do Latinx artists supersede narrow categories of identification? How are they anchoring race and class and foregrounding the voices of Black and Brown Latinx artists and experiences? How is the Latinx art movement expanding the conversation on Latinidad? In addition to Elia Alba, speakers will be Juan Sanchez discussing “RICANSTRUCTIVE SURGERY: Resisting Colonialism and Imposed Identities”, Juana Valdes on “Latinx Art: Beyond the Binaries”, and Guadalupe Maravilla with "Displacement and the mental health of the Undocumented.”

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Elia Alba was born in Brooklyn, New York. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College in 1994 and completed the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in 2001. She has exhibited throughout the United States and abroad. Those include The Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; The Science Museum, London; ITAU Cultural Institute, Sao Paolo; National Museum of Art, Reina Sofía, Madrid and the 10th Havana Biennial. She is a recipient of numerous awards and residencies for example, Studio Museum in Harlem Artist-in Residence Program in 1999; New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, Crafts 2002 and Photography 2008; Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant, 2002 and Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant 2002 and 2008; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) Workspace Program, 2009, and Recess Analog, 2012. Her work is in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio, Lowe Art Museum to name a few. For the past 6 years, she has been working on a project titled “The Supper Club. The project brings together artists, scholars and performers of diasporic cultures, through photography, food and dialogue to examine race and culture in the United States. A book on The Supper Club, produced by The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation and published by Hirmer is scheduled for Spring 2019. She is currently Artist-in-Residence at The Andrew Freeman Home in the Bronx.

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Juan Sanchez is a graphic artist, painter, assemblage artist. Sánchez earned a BFA at the Cooper Union in New York and a master’s degree at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, in New Jersey. He joined a group of Puerto Rican artists at the Boricua Workshop in New York and the photography workshop En Foco. In New York, where he lives and works, he has became a prominent community leader as well as a member of Puerto Rican nationalist movements such as the Comité Pro Libertad de los Nacionalistas, with which he worked as a poster designer and lecturer. His paintings are statements on the social, political, and cultural issues of his Puerto Rican heritage. Sánchez deals with the condition and identity of Puerto Ricans, religious syncretism, racial and gender discrimination, and particularly the struggle for Puerto Rico’s independence. Sanchez’ constructions combine photography, collage, drawing, and writing.

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Juana Valdes is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work traces, recollects, and records her own personal experience of migration. Her artwork is informed by her Afro-Cuban ethnicity and the experience of growing up in America. Throughout her career, Valdes has participated in a range of exhibitions and residencies most currently at the European Keramic Work Center in the Netherlands (2012), the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (2009), the Artist Residency at the Center for Book Arts (2007), and the Smack Mellon Studio Program (2004). Past exhibitions include a solo show at SENSEI Gallery as part of the SENSEI Exchange Series Part 008: In the Fold in New York (2013), and travelling exhibitions Multiplicity: Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture (2007-08) and Multiple, Limited, Unique: Selections from the Permanent Collection of the Center for Book Arts (2011-13).

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Guadalupe Maravilla is a transdisciplianary artist who was part of the first wave of undocumented children to arrive at the United States border in the 1980s from Central America. In 2016, as a gesture of solidarity with his undocumented father—who uses Maravilla as his last name in his fake identity—Irvin Morazan changed his name to Guadalupe Maravilla. As an homage to his own migratory history, and to that of others, Maravilla makes work that acknowledges the historical and contemporary contexts of immigrant culture, notably belonging to Latinx communities. Maravilla gained notoriety for his performances which are expansive and immersive, incorporating choreographed rituals, hand-made costumery, fusion music, smell, theatre, and audience participation. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Richmond, Virginia, where he is an Assistant professor at VCU. He received his BFA from School of Visual Arts, and his MFA from Hunter College in New York.

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The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation believes in art as a cornerstone of cohesive, resilient communities and greater participation in civic life. In its mission to make art available to the broader public, in particular to underserved communities, the Foundation provides direct support to, and facilitates partnerships between, cultural organizations and advocates of social justice across the public and private sectors. Through grantmaking, the Foundation supports cross-disciplinary work connecting art with social justice via experimental collaborations, as well as extending cultural resources to organizations and areas of New York City in need.

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NYU Department of Social & Cultural Analysis

20 Cooper Square, 4th Fl

New York, NY 10003

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