Puerto Rican artist “Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz: A Retrospective, 1982-2014” at Centro de Artes Gallery, San Antonio, Texas

SAN ANTONIO  – “Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz: A Retrospective, 1982-2014” opens at Centro de Artes Gallery on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 and features the largest and widest-ranging collection of works by the Puerto Rican native artist, best known for his portraits that engage in social commentary. The exhibit is free and open to the public at the Centro de Artes Gallery, 101 S. Santa Rosa, and runs through June 11, 2017.

Presented by the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture, the exhibition features nearly 60 works that provide new insights into Rodríguez-Díaz’s stylistic evolution and artistic objectives covering 32 years of the artist’s career, from 1982-2014. Rodríguez-Díaz's work is represented in many permanent collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; El Museo del Barrio in New York City; the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago; and El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Rodríguez-Díaz moved from New York City, where he lived since 1978, to San Antonio in 1995, where he has lived and worked since. Several of his works are part of the City of San Antonio’s public art collection and are currently installed at locations throughout the city.

“Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz is, undeniably, one of the most important and influential Latino artists of our time. It is fitting that the largest retrospective of his works ever exhibited will be in San Antonio where Ángel has lived and worked for more than 20 years,” Councilman Roberto C. Treviño said.

This retrospective covers several important periods of the artist’s life and his social concerns, including (to name only a few) his experience of living as a gay Latino in New York City during the AIDS epidemic, living as a Puerto Rican surrounded by Mexican-American culture, and his connections to Baroque painters - all of which were notable influences in his art. Largely self-taught as a painter despite extensive schooling, Rodríguez-Díaz, born in 1955, has always revered portraiture and produced numerous self-portraits that address issues such as stereotypes, cultural invisibility, social disparities and war. Along with these works, the exhibition also includes several paintings in various states of finish that provide insight into Rodríguez-Díaz's painting processes. Some of the artist's brushes and studio props are also on view to provide a fuller context of how his art is produced.

“Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz: A Retrospective, 1982-2014” is guest curated by Ruben C. Cordova, Ph.D., a San Antonio-based art historian who has curated or co-curated 28 exhibitions including those of artists Jesse Treviño, Mel Casas, and Roberto Gonzales, which were previously featured at the Centro de Artes Gallery. Cordova is also the author of a catalog for this retrospective.

“Rodríguez-Díaz’s superbly crafted paintings from 1993 to 2005 are quite familiar to art lovers in San Antonio, but until now the deep sources of his art have remained mysterious,” Cordova said. “This retrospective pulls back the curtain to reveal not only the artist’s sources of inspiration, but also the step-by-step secrets of his remarkable technique.”

Located in the heart of downtown San Antonio’s Zona Cultural on the grounds of Historic Market Square, Centro de Artes is a two-story exhibit space dedicated to telling the story of the Latino experience with a focus on South Texas through local and regional art, history and culture, and showcasing Latino artists and Latino-themed artworks.

The Centro de Artes Gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and is free and open to the public. More information is available at GetCreativeSanAntonio.com.