These eleven artists makes us uncomfortable...

My son Shanan, in Madison, WI sent us a provocative question this morning: "I need a list of links to some of your favorite practicing artists who are doing work that makes you uncomfortable and challenged."


photo caption: Lillian Mulero, barrio La Perla, Viejo San Juan, PR - graffiti images by ISMO.

Here are our responses:

1) Paul McCarthy - Salt Lake City UT, 1945
I asked Lillian about this and she said, sure, but Mike Kelly too. Sadly, Mike Kelly died a few months ago. Last year we had a chance to buy one of McCarthy's Santa Claus Butt Plugs, small size, cast chocolate:  (Chocolate Santa (2007), McCarthy's warped take on entrepreneurship in the form of a fully functioning "Chocolate Santa with Butt Plug" factory, churning out $100 gift boxes at a rate of 1,000 a day in New York's Maccarone Gallery. "They calculated that I was going to sell 30,000." He ended up selling around 1,600. "I have about 12,000 in storage, packed in shredded Artforums.") but we didn't mostly because I wasn't sure how to keep it (in the freezer?) I'm sure you can grok the challenging/uncomfortable aspects of his very important work.

2) Allora & Calzadilla - Havana, 1971; Philadelphia, 1974
When we first thought about moving to Santa Olaya in 2009, we knew about this artist couple and knew they lived in Old San Juan and hoped to pay them a visit. After we arrived in 2010 they were out of town most of the time. Then we encountered their work at a few local exhibitions, and then the Venice Biennale happened. We were most attracted to them because of their Vieques works. For the most part we still like what they do, but at the moment, we're not quite sure what they're up to...

3) Richard Prince - Canal Zone, 1949
from Richard Prince's DIARY: 3/28/2012
"Just came back from Upstate. Went up there with Mark Grojohn, (sorry about the spelling Mark)... it was nice to hang out with another artist. I'm not sure when the last time I've done that. Just him and me. Talking about stuff. I have one of his paintings hanging up in the back of my "body shop"... We both agreed how much we like Chris Burden."

4) Sean Dack - Albany, 1976
Our first, and only encounter with his work was at the UNCERTAIN STATES OF AMERICA exhibition at Bard College in 2005. We were most intrigued by his having been born in Albany and lived there while we were living on Grand St. He went to Albany High, Purchase (BfA, Art) and then Columbia U.

From google-search: BIG BREAK MTV CONTEST PUTS ALBANY NATIVE IN THE DIRECTOR'S CHAIR FOR A KORN VIDEO SHOOT.(LIFE & LEISURE) Albany Times Union November 1, 2002, MARK MCGUIRE Staff writer -- At 25, Sean Dack is already a capital-A artist. Artiste, even: The guy's already had a multimedia installation piece -- depicting grunge icon Kurt Cobain -- displayed in a Paris gallery. The Albany native is also a musician, a photographer and a DJ. Now we can add contest winner. And music-video director. In September, Dack won MTV's 'Direct a Video' contest. Two days after learning of his win, he flew to Los Angeles to direct 'Alone I Break,' the latest video by nu-metal gods Korn. To be honest, the 1995 Albany High School graduate didn't even own a Korn album. "A lot of what I listen to never makes it to MTV," said Dack, who prefers electronic music, Sigur Ros, The Rapture, Black Dice and "weirder stuff." He doesn't even watch MTV: "I don't have cable." Dack, lives in Brooklyn.

5) Paul Sietsema - LA,CA 1968
I, of course had hoped that Paul was Robert's cousin when we first discovered his work. Had a chance to see a 16mm film installation at Bard College as part of UNCERTAIN STATES OF AMERICA. Sietsema quoted in the catalog: "I suppose what I am getting at is that it is not so much the original meaning of the information and images I use that interest me, but rather the vestiges of what remains of them over time..."


6) Josh Smith - Okinawa, 1976
First learned of his work in 2005 at UNCERTAIN STATES OF AMERICA (this was an important exhibition for us and we're still refering to the catalog at the moment) We saw his work most recently here at the Espacio 1414 Project space in an exhibition called PAINTING EXPANDED, probably the most important exhibition we've seen on the island since we've been here.

7) Continuous Project - New York and Paris [Bettina Funcke, Wade Guyton, Joseph Logan, and Seth Price] Seth Price's work has always been disturbing for me, and intriguing at the same time. It's deep, dense, certainly challenging, and requires considerable work to understand and experience in full. The reproduction of Avalance magazines was a particularly interesting Continuous Project.

8) Jose Lerma - Seville, Spain, 1973
Jose has ties to Puerto Rico. We learned about his work and met him when he showed at Roberto Paradise gallery. Fascinated and impressed with his successes. Some of the time, he lives and works in Elaine DeKooning's former studio in the Hamptons. We found him easy-going, personable and very approachable. Our jury is still deliberating on the meaning in his paintings.

Roberto Paradise gallery, San Juan, PR
video interview / Huffington Post

9) Alicia Hall Moran - Redwood City, CA, 1973 and Jason Moran - Houston, TX, 1975
We saw Jason Moran play piano soundtrack for Joan Jonas's live video performance at Dia:Beacon. Also saw him perform with Don Byron at the Egg in Albany. Have never heard his wife sing. His music is a challenge, while it discomforting to find them as part of the Whitney Biennial this year.
The shape, the scent, the feel of things

10) Steve McQueen - London, 1969
Turner Prize (UK) winner, 1999, filmmaker, One of his best known works, Deadpan (1997), is a restaging of a Buster Keaton stunt in which a house collapses around McQueen who is left unscathed because he is standing where there is a missing window. His work is intriguing but not sure we fully understand it.

11) BONUS -- Jessica Stockholder - Seattle, WA, 1959
When I asked Lillian the question, her immediate reply was "Jessica Stockholder" in particular the installation you see on the link below. Stockholder says, "These things I find, buy, or accept as gifts, are made in myriad countries using a vast array of different skills, crafts and systems. They reference very different time periods, carry with them and reference many different histories. The collection of objects that I have easy access to is stunning in its diversity. I make my work in relationship to this backdrop and I have care and feeling for what it portends." I think you can see why Lillian feels connected to her work, but remains unsettled.





Jan Galligan y Lillian Mulero
Santa Olaya, PR [foto blog] [cine blog] [about me]

En mi banco esta -- THE WAY IN

by Jan Galligan and Lillian Mulero

With hundreds of people milling about trying to make themselves heard over the noise and the excellent loud salsa music filling the main vestibule of Banco Popular’s world headquarters, Lillian pulls me close. She shouts, “In the two years we’ve been living on the island we’ve been surprised by the high quality of the art, and the energy and spirit of the artists here,” she says. I nod. “But this is the first time we’ve seen art of this quality and sophistication in a bank.” I agree. She pulls my arm leading me away from the crowd and noise and into Perugino, a wine bar bistro recently opened in the building lobby. Now we can have a decent conversation.

“Of the twenty-three artists in this exhibition we know the work of eighteen, and now we personally know over half of these artists,” she tells me. “We should try to meet the others,” I reply. “I’m working on it,” she says, “but that’s not what I’m thinking about at the moment...

Garvin Sierra, Capitalismo, woodcut on currency paper, 24”x32”, edition of 15, 2003.

Full article in English : originally published in Spanish in En Rojo, the cultural suppliment to Claridad, the national weekly newspaper of Puerto Rico.

Pepon Osorio, Rear View Mirror - detail: KING.

Article as published, in Spanish in En Rojo, the cultural suppliment to Claridad, the national weekly newspaper of Puerto Rico 23 mayo 2012.

The original 1967 article by Jay Jacobs Art in Puerto Rico can be found on the blog of Karla Marie Ostolaza:

click on this link in her blog article: "Como resultado la revista publicó una serie de artículos entre los que se incluye un ensayo crítico titulado “Art in Puerto Rico” de la autoría de Jay Jacobs."




Jan Galligan
Santa Olaya, PR [foto blog] [cine blog] [about me]


Su casa es tu casa (por arte)

ARTISTA EN PERFIL: Su casa es tu casa (de arte)
ARTISTS IN PROFILE: Their house is your house (for art)

"¿Cuándo es un coche no es un coche?" I ask Lillian. "Cuando se maneja en un garaje?" she replies. "And when is a house not a house?" I ask. "When it turns into an art gallery," she says. Lillian is correct.

Francisco Javier Rovira Rullán at Roberto Paradise, with painting by Jose Lerma.

Chemi Room - installation view, group exhibition, 2011


Full article in English : published in En Rojo, the cultural suppliment to Claridad, the
national weekly newspaper of Puerto Rico.


Article as published, in Spanish 14 mayo 2012.

Jan Galligan
Santa Olaya, PR [foto blog] [cine blog] [about me]





A nice touch

photo caption: Alexis Ledesma's Instagram photo, Assisted readymade GIF 

by Jan Galligan



Dear H:

"RRose Selavy"

In this instance, the 2 R's are important.


-----Original Message-----
From: H.
Sent: Apr 28, 2012 2:25 PM
To: Jan 
Subject: Re: F is for FALSO

"Very interesting!" said your friend Rose Sélavy.



Jan Galligan
Santa Olaya, PR [foto blog] [cine blog] [about me]

Artistas en Perfil: A Portrait of two artists, as young men.

"Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race." - James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

photo caption: Four young artists: NELS Figueroa, Luis Martinez Borrero, Emilio Arraiza and Patrick McGrath en Liga de Arte de San Juan at the opening of the exhibition Inventario F(util) Photo by: Alexandra Castillo, 02-07-12.

A pair of exhibitions currently on display feature the work of two artists who studied painting together at Escuela de Artes Plasticas de San Juan in the early 1990s and have recently been recognized as painters of realistic visions. Both artists work in styles harking back to a much earlier period in art history. Both work to present contemporary ideas in the guise of classical formats. Both have made interesting self-portraits as part of their exhibitions...

[article in English]

[article as published in En Rojo - Spanish]

Jan Galligan y Lillian Mulero
Santa Olaya, PR [foto blog] [cine blog]


GOLD FEVER: Skagway, Alaska - home to the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. Centennial Park. Located at 1st and Broadway, the park features the city’s Centennial Statue of a Tlingit Packer leading a prospector up the Klondike trail.

"Where are you from?" asks the master of ceremonies at the Skaguay in the Days of 1898 Show. "Munich!" someone shouts back. "Sydney!" cries another. "Santa Olaya, Puerto Rico!" shouts a third. "Wha???!!" asks the master of ceremonies. "Yeyito," the third man cries. "I am Yeyito, Alcarde de Santa Olaya!"


Photo caption: Skagway, Alaska - home to the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. Centennial Statue, Centennial Park. 
(L to R) Skookum Jim, a Tlingit from the Carcross-Tagish area; Dawson Charlie, a prospector; and Amaury Oyola, aka Yeyito, Alcarde de Santa Olaya,(among other characters,[ed.]) visiting from Santa Olaya, Puerto Rico. June, 2011.




Jan Galligan
Santa Olaya, PR [foto blog] [cine blog]

[Michael Linares (born1979, Bayamón, Puerto Rico), lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions.]

photo caption: Michael Linares, sculpture - "Porqué los elefantes cagan y hacen mucho ruido" Installation view, Chemi Room, Santurce, PR, 09/07/11. (also pictured: Jorge Gonzalez - "Untitled (Column, 2003-2011)) - photo courtesy Michael Linares.


Q: How can you tell if an elephant has been in a refrigerator?
R: La puerta no se cerrar.

Q: How did you get the elephant into the fridge in the first place?
A: 1) Opened door 2) Inserted elephant 3) Closed door

P: ¿Cómo se llama de elefante que monta un guagua? [riding a bus]
R: El pasajero.
Q: Why do elephants drink so much?
A: To forget.

P: ¿Qué clase de elefantes viven en el Polo Norte?
R: Los Fríos.

Q: What would happen if an elephant sat in front of you at the movies?
A: You miss the picture.  

Q: Can you know when an elephant has been in the baby's carriage?
P: ¿ Si hay huellas en la cabeza del bebé? [huellas = footprints]


Jan Galligan
Santa Olaya, PR  [blog entry]

ARTISTA EN PERFIL: Zilia Sanchez – Lunare, la marca de la belleza

After more than thirty years visiting art galleries and museums, attending art openings, and visiting artists in their studios, Lillian and I find that there is nothing quite so exciting as encountering an artwork that is new or mysterious to us.

Soon after our arrival on the island last year, we spent an afternoon in the Galleria Naccional de Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña and I found Lillian transfixed, standing quite still, gazing at an unfamiliar painting. At first it looked like a classic example of 1960's minimal art. A clean, white rectangle, three by four feet in size. But, projecting from behind the surface - it appeared that something was trapped inside, trying to get out.

"This is really beautiful," said Lillian. "We need to find out more about this artist."

The Silence of Eros, 1993. Acrylic on canvas stretched on wood, 44 "x 60" photo courtesy Roberto Paradise gallery.

Article in Spanish as published lunes, 5 de septiembre de 2011
Lillian Mulero y Jan Galligan/Especial para En Rojo

Art Of The Amazons (series) - in the studio of Zilia Sanchez, photo J. Galligan.

Article in English

Erotic topologies (series), 1975. Acrylic on canvas stretched on wood, 67.5 "x 38"
photo courtesy Roberto Paradise gallery.

Artist Zilia Sanchez with her self-portrait painting
photo J. Galligan.



Santa Olaya, PR   [foto blog]

Llamado: NO HAY LUGAR COMO EL HOGAR! Repuesta: No hay lugar como el hogar!

Artista en Perfil: No. 1.0 -- Ashley Hunt Ashley Hunt’s presentation of APUNTES SOBRE UNA CIUDAD VACIA
by Jan Galligan and Lillian Mulero, Santa Olaya, PR

CALL: There's no place like home! 
RESPONSE: There's no place like home!

Shortly after the flood waters of hurricane Katrina had receded, artist and activist Ashley Hunt made a trip to New Orleans to join with a group of organizations including Critical Resistance, Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch, in order to help document what had happened at the Orleans Parish Prison during and after the flood. It was charged that hundreds of prisoners had been abandoned, locked in their cells without food as the flood waters rose to chest level and beyond.

Published in En Rojo, the cultural suppliment of Claridad, Puerto Rico's weekly national newspaper. EN ROJO, is publishing a series of articles that we are writing about art and artists in San Juan and around the island.

Breve Resumen del artículo:

El artista utiliza el vídeo, la fotografía y la escritura para vincularse con movimientos sociales, formas de aprendizaje y el discurso público. Se interesa en la forma en que ciertas estructuras sociales permiten a algunas personas acumular poder mientras mantienen a otros sin nada. Le interesa saber cómo las personas llegan a conocer, responder, y concebirse a sí mismas dentro de estas estructuras....

Publicado: lunes, 28 de febrero de 2011


Katrina victims on highway overpass, New Orleans, LA, 2005

Article as published in spanish, En Rojo, Feb 28, 2010

PDF of article - in english [blog] [art blog]