Woodstock was a music festival held August 15–18, 1969 near Bethel, NY

Richard Prince

It's a Free Concert from Now on Woodstock 1969, 2004

Ektacolor print

76 x 85 cm.

2/66


===================

Interview magazine 2008

Richard Prince: We go down to Woodstock like once every two months. It’s pretty near where we live. I’ve always wanted to go back to the field where the original festival took place in Bethel [New York], Max Yasgur’s farm. Apparently they have a marker there now and it’s a public space. I always wanted to go back there. I wanted to go back to that field and take a photograph of it. The same place where I took my one photograph of Woodstock.

Glenn O'Brien: With the one frame that you had left in your camera.

RP: You don’t believe that, do you?

GO: After all these years, there are a couple of things that I’m still not quite sure about...

San Juan Art Diary -- Spring 2019

Jan & Lillian at opening reception for PLASTIC RAW BAR, an exhibition of new sculpture by Jaime Rodriguez Crespo now on view at his gallery Recinto Cerra located at 619 Calle Cerra in Santurce. 

"I've prepared a sculptural 'raw bar' (with oysters, clams and mussels) based on the fact that these mollusks feed on the impurities in the water and those microplastics confuse them and do not let them reproduce. As this ocean pollution proliferates, we will eventually be left without these foods," the artist explained in an interview with San Juan newspaper El Nuevo Dia.

Photos by Javier Rosado.


We also attended I'M NOT DRUNK, a group exhibition curated by artist Radames Juni Figueroa, presented by gallery KM 0.2  located on the second floor, rear entrance of the same 619 Calle Cerra building. The most interesting piece for us was a sculpture by Mariela Pabón Navedo which uses a small sized thermal receipt printer to print-out a series of her captioned drawings at the push of a button. We collected three of those drawings then bought a frame and mounted the drawings together with the KMart receipt for the frame.


RECINTO CERRA
http://www.facebook.com/pg/Recinto-Cerra-Santurce-1414465012103657/posts


KM 0.2
http://www.facebook.com/pg/kilometro0.2/posts/




San Juan Art Diary: Winter, 2019 -- "The Joke's on You"

by Jan Galligan and Lillian Mulero
Santa Olaya, PR

“A college professor, a businessman, and a janitor are in the forest where they discover a magic fairy,” says Lillian.

“What happens?” I ask.

The fairy says, “I will give you what you most desire if you do someone else's job for a day.”

The professor says, “I'll be a kindergarden teacher. What can be so hard about that?” So he is teleported into a classroom. After a few minutes, all the kids are screaming. He tosses all their supplies aside and gives up.

“I'll be a waiter,” says the businessman. “All you do is carry food back and forth.” He is teleported to a restaurant. After an hour, the annoying customers drive him crazy. He smashes all the tableware and gives up.

The janitor says, “I'll be an artist,” and he is teleported to an art studio. He quickly glues the classroom supplies and shattered plates to a canvas and sells it for a million dollars. The fairy asks the janitor how he was so clever.

The janitor replies, “Easy. Years ago I got a masters degree in art.”


We're standing in the middle of the Embajada gallery in Hato Rey where they are showing work by eight artists and one video collective in an exhibition titled, The Joke is on You, presented as “an homage to humor where the works don't just laugh by themselves, but laugh with each other.”

The piece that seems to laugh loudest is the video installation by Basica TV, a transgender art collective who, costumed as giant stork-like birds, are chasing each other around an artist's studio while squawking and flapping their wings. The sounds of their squawking reverberates off the gallery walls.

The video is surrounded by a group of paintings: Roadside Attractor, a small oil on linen of a woman's head by Emily Davidson; Applause by Tess Bilhartz, a collage of watercolor and photograph mounted on plexiglass depicting a close up view of a woman's torso wearing a dress that appears to be a landscape with another woman standing amid the trees; and an oil on canvas by Jonathan Torres, titled Falling which shows two figures falling from the ceiling towards a third figure lying on the floor. Interestingly, these paintings have been hung from 2x4 planks erected from floor to ceiling, allowing you to see both the front and back of each canvas while they appear to float in the middle of the room. A very large wall mounted canvas that combines acrylic paint and silkscreened images, has been left untitled by artist Fernando Pintado. Other works in the exhibition are by Sam Borstein, Matteo Callegari, Stuart Lorimer and Elsa Maria Melendez.

A second companion exhibit is installed in an adjoining room. Two long tables are covered with a large collection of objects collected on the Playa Limones and Bahia de Jobos beaches in Guayama by Javier Orfon as part of a project he has worked on since 2007, which he calls Pozuelo. These objects include fragments of coral, rocks worn smooth by the sea, small pieces of tile and other construction materials that were found near the ruins of Central Aguirre and the long abandoned power plant. A few of the rocks and coral forms have been decorated with carefully painted landscapes or portraits of people. Orfon considers his project a kind of topofilia, which Allen Watts described in his autobiography In My Own Way, as a special love for peculiar places. Aguirre certainly fits this definition as it has a tragic history while remaining very scenic and, despite it present state of ruin, maintains some deep local pride and even patriotism by those who, like Orfon, might consider it a sacred space worthy of what he calls “amor a la tierra” a love of the land.



Lorenzo Homer, Turistas, 1953 (detail)

Acting like a couple of art tourists, we next found ourselves at Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in Santurce where we'd come to see Repatriacion, billed as a cultural exchange between this museum and the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture in Chicago. Having been an art student in Chicago many years ago, I was especially interested in this collaboration which features ten artists who live and work in Chicago. All are part of the diaspora, maintaining family or other ties to Puerto Rico.

Billy Ocasio, director of the National museum, initially planned to bring the work of a group of island artists to Chicago, but after hurricane Maria, decided instead to bring artists from Chicago to exhibit here in Puerto Rico as a gesture of solidarity soon after the storm.

Josue Pellot, born 1979 in Mayaguez, is represented by a very large photograph of El Morro which he has modified by adding signs and storefronts to the facade, turning the fortress into a gigantic shopping mall, as a kind of fantasy post-hurricane reconstructive bid for increased tourism.

Jose Lerma, born in Spain in 1971, has maintained close ties to the island. He is represented in the Museum's permanent collection and has shown regularly with the Roberto Paradise gallery. Working in the more traditional vein of acrylic on canvas, here he presents two of his signature paintings of noses, one large, the other small. The large painting is called El Huelebicho (The Douchebag). For those unfamiliar with the term, the Urban Dictionary says a douchebag is a man with an inflated sense of self worth, who thinks he is a ladies man, but is a joke to all but the most naive observers, while he remains an arrogant phony.

In a display case, a group of small ceramic models of typical suburban homes, stand next to series of documentary photographs of similar houses, distinguished by the fact that the second story of each house remains unfinished. Concrete block walls jut upwards from the flat roofs as a testament to the unrealized hopes and dreams of the occupants. Javier Bosques, born 1985 in San Juan, calls these works Family Extensions, and in an interesting twist, he has created the ceramic models in collaboration with his mother Elba Melendez.

Born on the island in 1971, Edra Soto has been in Chicago since she was 27. Widely exhibited and in numerous museum collections, her work in this exhibition presents a large group of empty liquor bottles that she collected over a two year period from the streets near her art studio in the Garfield Park area of west Chicago, a low income neighborhood with a reputation for gang activity and violence. After collecting many discarded cognac bottles, itself an act of litter control, Soto carefully washed and cleaned them to a like-new appearance, then organizing them in various still life arrangements, she photographed them as if they were an advertisement for themselves. Here she presents a grouping of the actual bottles mounted on a shelf, along with a set of the preliminary photographs and one large format, billboard sized final photo, which she has titled, Open 24 Hours: Cognac (Remy Martin, Courvoisier V.S., D'Ussel, Hennessy) in tribute to the various brand names of the bottles collected.

Other work in this exhibition curated by Bianca Ortiz Declet of MAPR, include paintings and installations by Bibliana Suarez, Candida Alvarez, Luis Rodriguez, Nora Maite Nieves, Omar Velazquez and Oscar Martinez.

Before we left the museum, we looked at a large collection of silkscreen posters from the 1970s that included this striking work by Carmelo Sobrino, titled Paz, paz, paz … un dia de estos, carajo (Peace, peace, peace, one of these god-damned days) as well as another collection of black and white woodblock and linoleum prints by Lorenzo Homar, Rafael Trufino and others, truly one high-point of the island's fine art heritage.

Carmelo Sobrino, Paz, paz, paz..., 1970

“I've got another story for you,” says Lillian. “It goes like this ...”

While working in his studio, an artist gets a phone call from his dealer. “I've got good news and bad news,” says the dealer.

“Give me the good news,” replies the artist.

“A client asked me if the value of your work would increase when you're dead.”

“Of course,” says the artist.

“That's what I told him, and he bought ten paintings.”

“What's the bad news?” asks the artist.

“He's your doctor.”


Embajada
382 Calle Cesar Gonzalez, Hato Rey

http://www.embajadada.com


Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
299 Avenida de Diego, Santurce

http://www.mapr.org


The distorted visions of Louise Lawler

Deconstructing Louise Lawler's “distorted for these times” pictures
by Jan Galligan & Lillian Mulero, Santa Olaya, PR

When the May 2017 issue of Modern Painters art magazine arrived in our mailbox, the first thing that caught our attention was a series of photographs by Louise Lawler. described as “a portfolio of new images … twisted versions of the originals, evoking our current landscape of 'alternative facts'.” Lillian was especially taken by the cover image, Modern Painting, (adjusted to fit), distorted for the times, 2003/2017.

Modern Painters, May 2017 magazine cover, showing Louise Lawler's 2016 distorted version of her 2003 Mondern Painting photograph, resized to fit the magazine.

Lillian was not so intrigued by the distorted image, but wondered about the cloud-like pattern on the wall, puzzling over whether it was evidence of workmen repairing the room, or if it was some unexplained artifact of the photographic distortion process.

In a brief essay accompanying nine pages of images, the magazine's new editor in chief, Rachell Corbett says, “Lawler … developed (this) exclusive portfolio for Modern Painters. The twisted and warped images in these pages build upon Lawler's long tradition of photographic manipulations, such as her 'adjusted to fit' series in which she stretches images to fit their display space, and her 'tracings,' which turn photographs into colorless outlines.”

We were aware of Lawler's 2017 retrospective “Why Pictures Now” at MoMA and a quick Google search produced reviews by Roberta Smith and Peter Schjeldahl, plus a link to a short essay by MoMA curator Roxana Marcoci along with three videos in which Marcoci discusses and explains Lawler's work, especially these newest photographs.

The pictures in Modern Painters magazine are the same pictures on display at MoMA, with the exception of the magazine cover photograph. Those photographs have been re-proportioned to fit the pages of Modern Painters, hence their “exclusivity.” They have been 'adjusted to fit' the exact size of one page or a two page spread – a task made easy using a page layout/design software or Photoshop. In this instance, it's all in the numbers. Take the dimension of the original photo, then re-size it to the new dimensions of the display space.

For example, Lawler's 1992 photo Salon Hodler, made in an edition of five, one of which is in the Whitney Museum collection, can be resized to fit the cover of Modern Painters by simply replacing the rectangular dimensions of the original photo (119.7 x 144 cm) with the square dimensions of the magazine cover (26.49 x 26.49 cm)

Regarding the distortions applied to her photographs, as presented in Modern Painters and at the MoMA exhibition, we refer to this example, Pollyanna, 2007, original format (left) and distorted (right).

This distortion is the result of applying Photoshop's Distort/Twirl filter, three times, using the default setting of 50, as shown here ...

Another distortion is somewhat more complex as shown by the example of her 2003 photograph, Still Life (Candle), original (left) and stretched and distorted (right).

In this instance, the photo was distorted using five applications of the Photoshop Distort/Twirl filter, with the default setting of 50. Then the image was stretched to fit the space of a double page spread of Modern Painters magazine.

Which brings us back to the Modern Painters magazine cover image. It took a bit of advanced Google to find the original of Lawler's image Modern Painting, 2003, as there are no immediately available online images of this photo, but in the September 2009 issue of Visual Studies, the article Photography and painting in multi-mediating pictures by Hilde Van Gelder and Helen Westgeest uses Modern Painting, 2003 to expound on their thesis that some artworks, because they contain elements of photography and painting, should be labeled “multi-mediating pictures.” Regarding Modern Painting they say, “Lawler’s photograph shows a painting by Anselm Kiefer hanging on the wall of a living room. Kiefer's painting is a black-and-white photograph of a landscape, manipulated with paint, and combined with corroded lead plates. So the only ‘real painting’ is (that) created by the indefinable brushstrokes on the wall...” (those brushstrokes made by workmen making repairs to the room [ed.]).  

Lawler's Modern Painting as published on the cover of Modern Painters magazine was distorted using one application of the Photoshop Distort/Twirl filter, changing the default setting from 50 to a new value of -160.

Lillian's perceptions were accurate. The cloud-like pattern is the result of an unfinished project by workmen patching and repairing the wall where the Kiefer painting is hanging, distorted nearly beyond recognition by the application of the Photoshop Distort/Twirl filter.

Regarding Lawler's “tracings” also mentioned in the Modern Painters article, the MoMA exhibition includes examples of her traced photographs, including Salon Hodler, 1992/1993/2013.

Our initial speculation was that the tracings were made using a combination of Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator software. A further Google search for Lawler's NO DRONES project (her title for a series of these traced artworks first exhibited at Ludwig Museum in 2013) revealed that the tracings of her photographs were created by Jon Buller, best known as an illustrator of children's books. When contacted, Buller explained his process for producing the tracings as follows: Working with high resolution files of Lawler's original photographs, Buller adjusted the images in Photoshop for more contrast; then he made 16 x 24 in. prints which were then traced by hand using a lightbox, tracing paper and Pigma Micron pens. Those tracings were scanned; the bitmap scanned image files were edited in Photoshop, then final edited and converted to vector in Illustrator; the Illustrator files were used to make the final prints for exhibition.

About the process, Buller says, “I had always thought that Louise's idea to base her own art on the artwork of other artists – seen in such a way as to provide a sort of deadpan commentary on the social function of these works – was a clever one. But doing these tracings and spending more time with her photographs, gave me an increased appreciation of the photographs as photographs ... (and) it gave me an increased respect for Louise's work.”

Buller's insight is telling. We have been familiar with Lawler's work since her 1978 exhibition at Artists Space of a found painting, and her early 1980s exhibitions of her signature work – photographs of other artists' work in art galleries, museums, auction houses, and the homes of collectors. Those photographs are indeed deadpan comments on contemporary art and its milieu. These newest works, distortions and adjustments of her own early photographs, including the tracings made by Buller, extend that deadpan quality into both a comment on the artworld and comment on the world at large, especially (based on her titles) the contemporary political sphere. The drawings however suggest a dichotomy. Where the adjusted and distorted photographs are created by employing default settings of the software used in their production, they can be seen as mechanical reproductions (in the Walter Benjamin sense) and devoid of the human touch. The drawings on the other hand, with their quirks and imperfections, immediately impress us with their humanity. One can only speculate why this choice was made by Lawler, but following from her titles, these photos have been distorted “to fit the times” and adjusted “to fit the situation,” both rather inhuman impositions on the human condition. The drawings, under the label NO DRONES, seem to be a human reaction to an inhumane military mechanism. The presentation of these works as enlargements on a grand scale (some as large as 20 x 30 feet) and in a temporary format (vinyl prints mounted directly on the wall) both confirms and contradicts the idea of things being “blown all out of proportion” in this era of alternative facts and deliberate distortions of events and the facts therein.






SEEING DOUBLE

Vision Doble (Double Vision) is an online journal sponsored by the University of Puerto Rico, covering art and artists on the island where we have just published our review, in English and Spanish, of an exhibition based on an homage and response to Marcel Duchamp.

Artist Baruch Vergara and son Bruno playing chess with Cheap Trick chessboard, by Omar Velázquez (Puerto Rico), 2017. Photo: Jan Galligan.


LOOKING FOR DUCHAMP IN MAYAGÜEZ, PR
Given: 1. The Readymade Found Object, Fountain; 2. The Multiple, in seventeen variations.

Returning to Santa Olaya from a visit to Mayagüez to see an art exhibition based on Marcel Duchamp, we were pleased to find in our mailbox a new book of interviews with Duchamp conducted by Calvin Tomkins. Produced by artist Paul Chan’s new venture Badlands Unlimited, The Afternoon Interviews features previously unpublished conversations conducted in 1965. In the introduction, Chan asks Tomkins, fifty years after those interviews, “What do you think is Duchamp’s legacy today?” Tompkins replies, “His need, his passion to question everything, even the very nature of art. The real point of (his) Readymades was to deny the possibility of defining art. Art can be anything.”

FULL ARTICLE IN ENGLISH



BUSCANDO A DUCHAMP EN MAYAGÜEZ, PR
Dados: 1. El readymade Fountain, un objeto encontrado; 2. El múltiple, en diecisiete variaciones

Regresando a Santa Olaya de hacer una visita a una exhibición sobre Marcel Duchamp, en Mayagüez, fue un placer encontrar en nuestro buzón un nuevo libro de entrevistas con Duchamp, dirigido por Calvin Tomkins. Producida por la nueva aventura empresarial, Badlands Unlimited, del artista Paul Chan, The Afternoon Interviews, presenta conversaciones que se dieron en 1965, no publicadas anteriormente. En la introducción, Chan le pregunta a Tomkins, cincuenta años después de aquellas entrevistas: “¿Cuál es el legado de Duchamp en la actualidad? Tomkins respondió: “Su necesidad, su pasión por cuestionarlo todo, incluso la misma naturaleza del arte. La verdadera clave de (sus) readymades fue negar la posibilidad de definir el arte. El arte puede ser cualquier cosa”.

FULL ARTICLE IN SPANISH


Jan Galligan, Baruch Vergara, Lillian Mulero, photo by Bruno Vergara


It takes two to TANG(le) / sometimes three or more ...

LIVING WITH DUCHAMP, TWO / ROSE OCEAN, exhibition curated by artist Michael Oatman and Tang Museum director Ian Berry opened in Saratoga Springs, NY, Feb 17, 2018, coinciding with the birthday of our daughter Lydia Mulero. Featuring over 50 artists, the exhibition was designed by students from Oatman's RPI architectural seminar on Marcel Duchamp. Inspired by exhibitions organized by Duchamp, the installation includes surprises and more than a few unexpected obstacles

The revised, final list of artists in the exhibition includes works by Lillian Mulero and Fred Escher along with Jan Galligan's collage from 1974 honoring Fat City School of Finds Art founder, Lowell Darling. 

Pictured are Michael Oatman's students with director Ian Berry and exhibition coordinator Torrance Fish reviewing the model for the installation. 

Lillian Mulero's MIRROR painting, oil on silver leaf, 1990. Exhibited in the exhibition INTERROGATING IDENTITY which traveled to Grey Art Gallery, NYU; Museum of Contemporary Art, Boston; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Madison Art Center, Madison, WI during 1991 and 1992. Permanent collection Tang Museum, 2017. (on the right) Robert Gober, UNTITLED, 1992 - 1996.

Fred Escher's CONVERSATIONS WITH MARCEL, black and white photograph, 1970. From the collection of Lydia Mulero, donated to Tang Museum permanent collection, 2017.

(foregraond) Jan Galligan's WOMAN OF THE CENTURY, collaged magazine cover with magic marker, homage to Lowell Darling, 1974. First exhibited in LIVING WITH DUCHAMP (1) at the Tang Museum, 2003. Acquired by the Tang, 2017.(background) Jasper Johns, CUP 2 PICASSO, signed lithograph 1973.

Exhibition overview. Exhibition photos by Lydia Mulero, Feb 17, 2018


Exhibition detail, showing the PEEPHOLE, described by Lydia as "In the peephole was a film that featured Paul de Jong played over a two way mirror so you could see the people in the gallery walking around behind the film. The people didn’t know you could see them unless they’d already looked in the peephole."

ARTISTS LIST WITH STRINGS, which Lydia said "were an audience participation effort. You could tie one string on the artist wall which lead to the next wall over with the names of the students who put together the show." Doing this would create a maze, which Oatman suggests might eventually make the exhibit nearly impassable.

APPENDIX
Richard Lovrich's 2003 photograph of Galligan looking into the PEEPHOLE at the first LIVING WITH DUCHAMP EXHIBIT at the Tang. Galligan used this photo for the announcement card for his 2006 exhibition at Albany Center Galleries.

Jan Galligan's collage APOLONINE ENAMELED, 1972, exhibited in a Duchamp themed exhibition curated by Kasalina Maliamu Nabakooza and Michael Oatman, at the Schelnutt Gallery, RPI, Troy, NY, 2016.

 

.

CHRISTOPHER WOOL - FOOL

(American, b. 1955)
Untitled, 1990
Alkyd and acrylic on aluminum
96 × 54 in. (243.84 × 137.16 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George Kaiser, Tony and Sue Krausen, Dr. Donald M. Levy, Marianne and Sheldon B. Lubar, Vicki and Allen Samson, Bud and Sue Selig, and Dr. and Mrs. James Stadler
Photo credit: Luhring Augustine (Gallery)
Currently on View at Milwaukee Art Museum


AUCTION REPORT, 2012 via the Observer UK

$7.8 M. Artist Record for Christopher Wool Set at Christie’s Evening Sale

At Christie’s London contemporary sale, Christopher Wool’s Untitled set a new artist record. The price, after the buyer’s premium, was £4,913,250 ($7,758,022) high above the estimate of £2,500,000-3,500,000 ($3,947,500 – $5,526,500).

The piece spells out the word “FOOL,” and beat out the artist’s last record, $5,010,500 (according to Artnet), which happens to have been set by Blue Fool, a canvas with the word “FOOL” spelled out in the exact same way and in the same lettering except the previous record is in blue and the new one is in black 

Truth, nothing, but …

by Jan Galligan & Lillian Mulero, Santa Olaya, PR

Rafael Vargas Bernard asked recently on Facebook what it would take to get someone to write about his exhibition Sobre-Analisis-Sobre presented at El cuadrado gris. While offered in jest, his entreaty opens up a number of interesting questions. As artists and art writers, we understand the quest for attention and the struggle to find an audience


Artist Rafael Vargas Bernard asks, “who do I have to bribe?”

.

Relocating from upstate New York, we came here with an abiding interest in the art of the island and the artists making that work. Our initial experience suggested that it was difficult to find a centralized resource for art information. The local newspapers and magazines provided occasional articles, but often those articles were a replay of an exhibition's press release, full of information, but lacking insight. The past seven years have shown improvement. Now art writers often give careful attention – as they explore the methods and intentions of the artists under discussion. Now there are more articles on a regular basis, and writers are given more space for their opinions.

Meanwhile, a couple of small but important local art magazines have ceased to publish, with nothing to take their place. This may be a function of the changing way that such information is distributed. As it becomes increasingly difficult to support printed publications, they are replaced by online resources. We still prefer to read articles in print. The information seems to have more substance and the pictures are more impressive on the printed page. But, our opinion does not have much influence. The world of publishing is rapidly changing and we need to adapt or we will be left behind, stranded with a pile of yellowing newsprint and curling glossy magazine pages.

We have discovered that online publishing is crucial. Online provides a forum in which the writer has more control, immediate access to an audience, and the means to get direct feedback from the readers. We do not see this as a replacement for print publishing, but rather an enhancement, which seems to be the attitude of most traditional publishers. There are few newspapers or magazines that do not also have an online presence, and many of those sponsor blogs in addition to their websites.

For the independent writer, online publishing provides intellectual freedom, the opportunity to express an opinion, and a means for getting your word “out there.” Attracting and keeping readers can be difficult, but there are tools to help ease the way. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat can be useful in this process. You can connect a blog to those resources, and every time an article is posted, notices are automatically cross-posted to those other forums. Then, it becomes a project of building an audience through online networking while continuing to add new content.

It should be obvious that we are not limiting our remarks to writing about art. Instead we suggest that this provides a blue-print for doing creative work and seeking an audience. Our previous article, ART IN THE AGE OF THE INTERNET was a cautionary tale for artists using the internet to promote their work. Efforts must be taken to ensure that your intellectual property is protected. You don't want to give away your production, nor would you like to see someone else make use of your work and take credit for it.

So, what about Vargas Bernard and his quest for attention to his exhibition? Searching for him on Google returns 2000 articles, images, and videos related to his art. On Facebook he has over 2000 connections. El cuadrado gris has over 2000 followers. There is probably a large overlap, but the audience in both cases is substantial. Scrolling through the Facebook pages of the gallery and the artist, one finds many comments, questions and emoticons. To what exactly do they refer? For his exhibition, Vargas Bernard installed four works in the basement space of the gallery as shown in this diagram …
Each work consists of common objects connected to home-made electronics. A) tocaperiodicos, consists of a record player turntable whose stylus has been replaced by an optical sensor which reads the patterns on the front page of local daily newspapers, which are used instead of vinyl records. What the viewer hears through headphones is sounds produced by the spinning newspaper.

Tocaperiodicos, artwork by Rafael Vargas Bernard, 2017

B) franja reciproca is an elaborate piece of flat plastic electronic ribbon cable to which sensors and other electronic have been hand-wired. This work requires two viewer participants, each of whom inserts a thumb into a small harness. While attached, as they move around, they can hear modifications to the sound of their heart rhythms. 

 Omar Obdulio Pena Forty, Rafael Vargas Bernard and Lillian Mulero, with franja reciproca, artwork by Rafael Vargas Bernard, 2017

franja reciproca, (installation viewartwork by Rafael Vargas Bernard, 2017


C) discojon island
is a map of Puerto Rico with various electronics and speakers attached, which emit sounds when approached by the viewer.


discojon island (detail) artwork by Rafael Vargas Bernard, 2017


D) Reclamor firme, the most elaborate work, includes a side room with the floor covered in dirt, underneath which has been installed sensors and electronics. The viewer is encouraged to pick up a flag. The bottom of the flag pole also has a sensor. The viewer is instructed to plant the flag in the ground. As the pole strikes the dirt, a loud drum sound is produced while a segment of La Borinqueña fills the room. The more one bangs the floor, the louder the sound and the longer the segment that is heard.


Reclamor firme, (installation view), artwork by Rafael Vargas Bernard, 2017

Reclamor firme, (installation view), Lillian Mulero performing -- artwork by Rafael Vargas Bernard, 2017

Regarding the meaning, when possible we prefer let artists speak for themselves. Vargas Bernard says, “When the public comes into the exhibition, I want them to open the door and activate the work, and to feel an ownership of this work. Because I created it, therefore I release it so that they might do what they want, while creating their own version in the process.”

He says he considers these works to be “strange experiments” which “measure vital signs” and which can “create sensations and emotions between two persons.” His discojon island, while appearing to be a traditional painting, in fact “reacts to the audience, and changes depending on their proximity.”

As for us, we will take his word for it.