Adam Baumgold Gallery presents an exhibition of recent works by Rafael Ferrer from March 10 through May 7, 2011. This exhibition will feature several new paintings, drawings, collages, blackboard works and paper bag faces exhibited for the first time, as well as many other seminal works from the artist's memorable retrospective at El Museo del Barrio in the summer of 2010. This will be Ferrer's first New York City gallery exhibition in over ten years.
Featured in the exhibition is a new twenty-part blackboard installation "Manipulation," 2010, that displays Ferrer's seamless mix of cultural, artistic, philosophical and conceptual references. Also included is the twenty foot long group of 97 blackboards titled "Pizarras" that was one of the highlights of Ferrer's museum retrospective. On the opposite wall from this work will be a group of 60 recent Paper Bag Faces dated 2008 to the present from his ongoing series, a format he has used since the early 1970's. These faces cross reference portraiture and show the artist's reverence for art history, social and cultural concerns. In Roberta Smith's review of his retrospective in The New York Times of June 10, 2010, she said Ferrer's "paper bags - a preferred drawing surface for decades - have occasioned an exploration of the human face as mask that is almost encyclopedic in its cultural and emotional allusions. Small, wood-framed slate tablets provide an ideal surface for a series of appropriately grisaille paintings from 2005 and 2006. At El Museo enormous groupings of these works face each other in the gallery, to electrifying effect ."
The painting "All the Time Everywhere," 2007, juxtaposes two contrasting realities; Cubism and the Modernist ideals of the last century share space with a pair of brown feet wearing makeshift shoes made from newspapers, ironically displaying the message to "keep moving." Both of these make up the history of the past century, two worlds that co-exist and build on each other. The painting on paper, "Blahnik and Serra," 2007 is a sly, humorous mix of high fashion and high art viewed as equals. In all these works, Ferrer combines references snipped from news headlines, art history, literature, folk forms, wordplay and the street slang of English and Spanish. He creates an artistic grammar that reflects the interplay of the different cultural universes he inhabits. The work is inventive, rhythmic and inclusive.
Rafael Ferrer was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico in 1933, and presently lives and works in Greenport, NY. Ferrer has exhibited extensively, and was included in the groundbreaking show "Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials" at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1969. He has participated in two Whitney Biennials as well as a solo installation at the Whitney in 1971 and was one of the first artists to do a "Projects" installation at the Museum of Modern Art in 1974. In 2011 he is scheduled to have exhibitions at Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York and the Lancaster Museum of Art in Pennsylvania. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, El Museo del Barrio, NY, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Lehmbruck Museum, Germany, as well as many other public and private collections.