JUAN FRANCISCO ELSO: POR AMÉRICA
El Museo del Barrio presents Juan Francisco Elso’s exhibition Por América, offering a new, contemporary revisions on canonical figures and figures and theories from Latinx, Caribbean, and Latin American art history.
Juan Francisco Elso: Por América investigates the brief yet significant career of the late Cuban artist Juan Francisco Elso (1956-1988). Based in Havana, Elso was part of the first generation of artists born and educated in post-revolutionary Cuba, who gained international recognition in the early 1980s.
Created mostly using natural, organic materials, his sculptural practice examines the complex formations of contemporary Cuban, Caribbean, and Latin American identities, as inflected by the cultural influences of Indigenous traditions, Afro-Caribbean religious beliefs, as well as the traumas of colonial oppression. The exhibition examines such legacies and parallels by placing Elso’s prescient work alongside a multigenerational group of artists active in the Caribbean, and throughout North, South and Central America.
Presented through a contextual rather than monographic approach, Juan Francisco Elso: Por América is organized into several, interrelated thematic sections that explore vital crosscurrents between Elso’s art and the creative output of both close colleagues and others who, despite having not known him, demonstrate parallel affinities. Featuring 45 works by more than 30 artists, the exhibition includes Belkis Ayón, Luis Camnitzer, Glenn Ligon, Ana Mendieta, and Michael Richards, as well as new commissions by Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Reynier Leyva Novo.