New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service is pleased to announce the launching of a new cycle of art exhibitions with the opening of re:tratos urbanos (urban portraits), the Spring 2023 show at the Gallery Space at the school’s home in the Puck Building, 295 Lafayette St., 2nd FL., at the corner of Houston Street., New York, N.Y.
Curated by Frankie Crescioni-Santoni in commemoration of Women’s History Month, it features portraits by acclaimed Nuyorican painter and collage artist Rodríguez Calero (affectionately known as RoCa). This two-decade survey exhibit showcases RoCa’s signature acrollage and fotacrolé technique. These innovative processes fuse painting, printmaking, photography, and collage in the intricate layering of paper, acrylic paint, and recycled materials, among other mediums. The resulting pieces are bold, surrealist portraits that masterfully combine religious iconography, classical and Byzantine patterns, and elements of hip hop and street art to spellbinding effects.
Rodríguez Calero’s artwork is predominantly informed by her Puerto Rican heritage and the diverse communities that enrich New York City’s Lower East Side, the neighborhood where she has lived and forged her career for the past 30 years. The subjects of her canvases— often targets of prejudice and oppression within the urban and institutional spaces they navigate—emerge defiant, dignified, and richly soulful in the portraiture. By casting them as the mystical protagonists of her pictorial narratives, RoCa has created a body of work that is as visually arresting as it is thought-provoking, and one that powerfully embodies the anti-racist/anti-sexist agenda at the center of her artistic practice.
A limited-space opening reception is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., The event is open to the public via RSVP at www.wagner.nyu.edu/events. RSVP by March 16. re:tratos urbanos is co-presented by the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and co-sponsored by New York University’s Association of Latinx Students & Allies in Public Service (ALAS), the Arts & Culture Network (ACN), and the Puerto Rican Student Association (PRÁ).
re:tratos urbanos runs March 7 through June 23, 2023. The Gallery Space at Wagner is located on the 2nd floor of the Puck Building, 295 Lafayette St. at the southeast corner of Houston Street (B/D/F/M trains to Broadway-Lafayette, 6 train to Bleecker, or N/R trains to Prince Street).
Public viewing hours: Monday–Thursday 9:00 a.m, - 9:00 p.m.; Fridays 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.; and Saturdays 12:00 p.m. -6:00 p.m. (closed on Sunday). Free and open to the public. For more information, including upcoming events and adjusted viewing hours, please contact Crescioni-Santoni, Tel: 212.998.7401, Email: wagner.gallery(at)nyu.edu .
About the Artist:
Born in Puerto Rico, Rodríguez Calero studied at San Juan’s prestigious Escuela de Artes Plásticas, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She furthered her studies at the famed Art Students League in New York, focusing on painting and collage, before continuing her training in France and Spain. She has been the recipient of multiple awards and scholarships, notably from The New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her multiple residencies include the historic Taller Boricua (NY, 1980-1982), the Brandywine Workshop Center for the Visual Arts (PA, 1999), and Rutgers Center for Innovative Print & Paper (NJ, 2000). Her painting has been acknowledged with the Brooklyn Arts & Culture Association Painting Award from the Brooklyn Museum and The National Association of Women Artists’ Belle Cramer Memorial Prize for Abstract Painting. In 2008, she received the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in painting. Rodríguez Calero has exhibited at numerous venues both nationally and abroad. Her critically-acclaimed, 2015 retrospective exhibit Rodríguez Calero | Urban Martyrs and Latter-Day Santos at El Museo del Barrio received an honorable mention from Hyperallergic as one of the 20 best NYC exhibits of the year. RoCa's works are in many private and public collections. For more information about her studio practice, please visit www.rodriguezcalero.com.