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Exhibition curated by UTSA professor explores Puerto Rico’s culture and history

Exhibition curated by UTSA professor explores Puerto Rico’s culture and history

77 bold fine art screen prints on display make statements about politics, culture and history in Puerto Rico.

(Nov. 8, 2017) -- Puerto Rico’s history and culture come alive in a new exhibition at the Centro de Artes San Antonio curated by Teresa Eckmann, associate professor of modern and contemporary Latin American art history at The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Status: Prints from Puerto Rico to San Antonio, is made up of serigraphs, or fine art screen prints, from Puerto Rico produced from the 1950s to present day alongside contemporary prints from UTSA faculty, alumni and well-known San Antonio artists.

The exhibition’s first section, “Puerto Rican Letrismo: Text and Form” showcases an innovative approach to text in cultural prints by such artists as Lorenzo Homar, Rafael Tufiño, and José Rosa Castellanos.

The second section, “Antonio Martorell and the Taller Alacrán: Experimentation and Innovation” includes prints from the independent workshop of a well-known master printmaker from Puerto Rico, Antonio Martorell, and his students who used text to make bold political and cultural statements in the 1960s and 1970s.

The exhibit’s third section, “San Antonio Prints: Text and the Power of Punch” includes prints from UTSA faculty and alumni Richard Armendariz, Juan de Dios Mora, Joe Harjo and Andrei Renteria who incorporate text in their work while addressing difficult subject-matter with humor.

These local artists use text to make statements on topics such as immigration, violence, politics, culture and heritage just like Martorell and his students used art to make political statements around the time of the Vietnam War and Hippie Movement.

“The 77 bold prints on display are meant to spark dialogue amongst visitors about themes such as politics, immigration, gun culture, mental health, gender expectations, cultural appropriation and more,” said Eckmann.

The exhibition is made possible by the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture, the Puerto Rican Heritage Society and UTSA. Lending institutions include the University of New Mexico’s Center for Southwest Research, the Museo de Historia, Arte y Antropología Universidad Puerto Rico Recinto Rio Piedras, and Antonio Martorell’s personal collection.

Status: Prints from Puerto Rico to San Antonio is free and open to the public at the Centro de Artes through December 17, 2017. There will be an artist reception with Antonio Martorell from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, that is free and open to the public.

Eckmann has curated several exhibitions in her field. Her research, teaching and curatorial projects focus on art and visual culture of Latin America—principally, on cultural nationalism and identity in 20th century Mexico and the Caribbean. She teaches contemporary and modern Latin American art courses in the Department of Art & Art History at UTSA.

Kara Soria

Learn more about the exhibit Status: Prints from Puerto Rico to San Antonio.

Learn more about Teresa Eckmann.

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