El Museo del Barrio, the nation’s foremost Latinx cultural institution, celebrated the opening of their latest exhibitions surrounded by members of the community, artists, and collectors. Maria Eugenia Maury (Board Chair) and Patrick Charpenel (Executive Director) greeted guests and introduced them to the galleries, featuring Juan Francisco Elso: Por América, Reynier Leyva Novo: Methuselah, and DOMESTICANX; all on view through March 26th.
Juan Francisco Elso: Por América investigates the brief yet significant career of the late Cuban artist Juan Francisco Elso (1956-1988), who emerged as part of the Volumen Uno (Volume One) generation of contemporary artists who gained international recognition in the early 1980s.
Reynier Leyva Novo: Methuselah is a digital artwork by the Cuban-born and Houston based artist Reynier Levya Novo that virtually reproduces the transnational migratory journey of a single monarch butterfly, tracking its travel from southern Canada across the United States to Mexico.
DOMESTICANX brings together a group of intergenerational artists whose practices address the private sphere through works related to healing, spirituality, decoration, and the home. Curated by Susanna V. Temkin, the show is inspired by the concept of “domesticana,” first theorized by artist, scholar, and critic Amalia Mesa-Bains in the 1990s.
Guests included board members Victoria Espinosa, Karla Harwich, Maria and Marcelo Etchebarne, Isabel and Julio Nazario, Mónica Tavares, and Andrea Tovar, artists Lizette Ayala, Karlo Andrei Ibarra, Amarisse Carreras, Cielo Felix-Hernandez, Joel Gaitan, Scherezade Garcia, Reynier Leyva Novo, Melissa Misla, Nitza Tufiño, curators Rodrigo Moura, Sussana Temkin, and Olga Viso, as well as Cheryl Anhava, Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, Rachel Bers, James Bewley, Arlene Davila, Celso Gonzalez Falla, Elizabeth Ferrer, Gloria Fieldcamp, Orlando Justo, Reynold Kerr, Melissa Levin, Hunter Lucy, Jon Redleaf, Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas, Judy and Steven Shank and many more …
El Museo del Barrio encourages visitors to engage with the landscape of Latinx, Caribbean, and Latin American art. Their richness is represented in El Museo’s wide-ranging collections and exhibitions, complemented by film, literary, visual, and performing arts series, cultural celebrations, and educational programs.
To welcome New York artists Steven & William Ladd to Sarasota for their show at Sarasota Art Museum also inaugurating their nationwide “Scrollathon,” Laura Lobdell and Darrel Flannel couldn’t resist the opportunity to celebrate by introducing the Ladds to their contingency of East Coast/New York friends who also live in Sarasota. In addition to welcoming the Ladd Brothers, the mood in Sarasota was especially joyful, having just weathered the wrath of Hurricane Ian. Many of the guests returned just in time after evacuating to their Northern homes, including New York.
The signature cocktail of the evening was a “Dark & Stormy” made to Gosling specifications and enjoyed from a high terraced living room as the sun set. Once the sun dipped below the Gulf of Mexico, guests made their way down a staircase beneath a sea-urchinesque chandelier.
Sarasota Art Museum, housed in the converted building of Sarasota High School and the iconic building blocks of Steven & William Ladds’ work, based on often repurposed/recycled fabric rolled into “Scrolls.” These modules of creativity are the formal foundation for the ‘Scroll’ work the artists create, with high levels of community involvement with events known as “Scrollathons.”
The erstatz high school site of the Scrollathon with the bright colors and free-wheeling spirit of the artists inspired the tablescape for dinner — bold flowers, miniature “composition books” as place cards and assorted candy beloved by students in the era of Old-School SHS. Guests pointed out that the table made for a treasure hunt to find their names. Vintage Postcards from the SAM Gift Shop of the high school in its technicolor heyday rounded out the high school theme — especially when the host used his post card to point out the Principal’s Office, where he’d spent a disproportionate amount of time.
From book publication, Steven and William Ladd Shaboygen Fabric Arts Exhibition, 2012, a quote that speaks to their ethos:
Spend your life doing what you love. Be focused and disciplined. Collaborate. — Steven & William Ladd
Snipets of conversation included Eileen & Howard Curd reminiscing about the Arthur Avenue Salad at Sag Pizza they enjoy during the summer because it reminds them of Arthur Avenue from their childhoods. Diane & Rob Bennett rode out the hurricane at their home in Montauk while unsure the their architectural home would out surf the storm.
The artists and hosts discovered even more mutual NY friends — in addition to Jon Marder — Madeline Weinrib & Design duo Stephanie & Pamela Katch. Party Dogs Foo & Nimitz — who used his height advantage to secure his share of Key Lime Pie, the state food of Florida, and the Cookie & Cream Semifreddo, a nod to the artists’ home state, Missouri’s ice cream expertise — were over indulged by guests, but fortunately not sent to detention.
The Penn Community Defense Fund and ReThink NYC gathered for cocktails before a performance of the new play, Straight Line Crazy, at The Shed where Ralph Fiennes stars as the builder Robert Moses.
Moses ultimately met his match when community activists stopped a planned highway through the middle of Washington Square Park, a message that was not lost on all who attended. The event raised funds for ongoing litigation against the New York Governors untenable plans to raze the Penn Station neighborhood. Many of the guests were veterans of similar land-use battles, including Grand Central Terminal.
Said the chairman of REThink NYC, Samuel Turvey, “One of the three east west thoroughfares proposed by Robert Moses, mentioned in the play, would have ripped through the same 30th Street neighborhood we’re fighting to save now. Moses would have located the Mid-Manhattan Expressway there. Community action stopped that and the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have run though Washington Square Park.
The same issues, good planning, protecting our New York neighborhoods, are with us today Much of the infrastructure referenced in the play makes us wince. Governor Hochul’s plan to level the Penn Station area and displacing its residents, small businesses, churches, and historic structures to favor one developer and double down on dated and flawed transit and urban renewal techniques will be similarly tragic if it is not stopped. It’s a page from the worst of Robert Moses.”
Guests included Laurie Beckelman, Jordan Charney, Matthew Coody, Nancy Cooperstein, Daniel Fier, Roberta Gratz, Melanie Hoffman, Alexandra and Philip Howard, Linda Kaplan, Taeho Lee, Jerome Majzlin, Jill Majzlin, John Massengale, Leonard Majzlin, Richard Menchini, Marietta Menchini, Gina Pollara, Richard Rabinowitz, Tyler Simeone, Frampton Tolbert, and Anthony Wood.
For more information see: www.rethinknyc.org
Photographs by Terra Lynn Photography (“Scrollathon”)