Puerto Rican contemporary art at The USF Contemporary Art Museum

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, EXODUS / PILGRIMAGE, 2019.
Mixed media: recovered FEMA tarps and debris from Puerto Rico, December 2018

The USF Contemporary Art Museum, part of the Institute for Research in Art in the USF College of The Arts, presents Constant Storm: Art from Puerto Rico and the Diaspora, which will gather, display, record, and conceptualize artistic responses to Hurricane Maria by artists from Puerto Rico and the diaspora. The exhibition will present artists’ individual and collaborative expressions, illustrate the challenges faced by artists after the storm, and reveal the largely unpublished record of artists’ reflections on post-Maria Puerto Rico. Through artworks and their narratives and socially engaged initiatives, voices from the island and Puerto Rican communities in New York and Florida will materialize a synoptic view of Puerto Rico’s fragile recovery as part of an evolving, 121-year-old historical crisis.

Angel Otero, September Elegy, 2017. Oil skins on fabric. 103” x 85” x 5” inches.
Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London

Artists in the Constant Storm exhibition include Rogelio Baéz Vega (New York), Sofía Gallisá Muriente (San Juan), Jorge González Santos (San Juan), Karlo Andrei Ibarra (San Juan), Ivelisse Jiménez (New York), Miguel Luciano (New York), Natalia Lassalle-Morillo (Los Angeles-San Juan), Angel Otero (New York), Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz (Orlando), SkittLeZ-Ortiz (New York), Gabriel Ramos (Tarpon Springs), Jezabeth Roca González (San Diego-Añasco), Gamaliel Rodríguez (San Juan), and Yiyo Tirado Rivera (San Juan).

Media will include painting, sculpture, drawing, video and installation. Sofîa Gallisá Muriente and Natalia Lassalle-Morillo have been commissioned to produce a video installation titled I-4 that will explore the experience of Puerto Ricans who have been displaced to Florida cities such as Orlando and Kissimmee. Among many works to be exhibited will be Angel Otero’s meditational, draped paintings; Miguel Luciano’s Pimp My Piragua, a customized shaved ice pushcart with sound system, video and LEDs; Wanda Ramimundi-Ortiz's sculptural dress fashioned from FEMA tarps and other storm detritus; Yiyo Tirado’s Caribe Hostil, a neon sculpture referencing Puerto Rico's tourist industry; and Gamaliel Rodríguez’s ghostly drawings of airport control towers all over Puerto Rico that were closed after Hurricane Maria.

Miguel Luciano’s Pimp My Piragua (2009)
riding with the Classic Riders in the Bushwick Puerto Rican Day Parade, 2019.
Photo: Argenis Apolinario

Constant Storm: Art from Puerto Rico and the Diaspora is curated by Noel Smith, former CAM Deputy Director and Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Art, and Christian Viveros-Fauné, CAM Curator-at-Large, and is organized by the USF Contemporary Art Museum. The exhibition will be on view through December 4, 2021 and will include free educational programs.

Constant Storm: Art from Puerto Rico and the Diaspora is made possible by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Florida Division of Arts and Culture, and support from the Tampa Bay Rays. The symposium “Bregando with Disasters: Post Hurricane Maria Realities and Resiliencies” is supported by a Humanities Centers Grant from Florida Humanities.