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The poster for the Poly/Graphic San Juan Triennial: Latin America and the Caribbean in Puerto Rico, left, and a work in the show: Oyvind Fahlstrom, Eddie (Sylvie’s Brother) in the Desert, 1966
The poster for the Poly/Graphic San Juan Triennial: Latin America and the Caribbean in Puerto Rico, left, and a work in the show: Oyvind Fahlstrom, Eddie (Sylvie’s Brother) in the Desert, 1966

THE THIRD SAN JUAN POLY/GRAPHIC TRIENNIAL

Apr. 16, 2012

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Pack your swimsuits and tanning gel, because the third edition of the Poly/Graphic San Juan Triennial: Latin America and the Caribbean, “El Panal/The Hive,” opens to the public on Apr. 28, 2012, running through August, at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in sunny Old San Juan.

Boasting 150 artists, “The Hive” has been organized by El Museo del Barrio curator Deborah Cullen along with a curatorial team composed of Sergio Bessa, director of curatorial and educational programs at the Bronx Museum; Ursula Davila-Villa, associate curator of Latin American art at the Blanton Museum in Austin; and Rebeca Noriega, a young independent curator and alumnus of the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies in New York.

Their mission is to explore the notion of graphic practice as collaborative spirit, emphasizing in “social networks, real or virtual, in which key people and practices converge” and “how the legacy of the traditional workshop survives today through new, shared undertakings that join people in real or virtual space rather than isolation.”

The list of participating artists -- who turn out to be a motley bunch of art stars, cult figures and graphic workshop veterans -- had been kept under lock and key until now. Notable names are, BAW/TAF: Border Arts Workshop, Öyind Fahlström, Martin Kippenberger, Jackson Pollock, José Guadalupe Posada, Larry Rivers and Frank O'Hara, Kay Rosen, Vargas-Suarez Universal, and members of New York’s squatter haven Bullet Space, among them Miguel Piñero, Lee Quiñones, David Wojnarowicz and Sabrina Jones.

The San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Engraving, which ran from 1970 to 2001, had been the first and oldest event of its kind in Latin America. In 2004 the show was restructured and given its current, even catchier moniker, the San Juan Poly/Graphic Triennial: Latin America and the Caribbean, in an attempt to accommodate the ever-expanding field of graphic arts in the Caribbean basin. Today, the triennial is the most important cultural product of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, with past editions curated by art-world personalities like Mari Carmen Ramírez, Adriano Pedrosa and Jens Hoffman.

-- Pedro Velez (contact fgaspace@hotmail.com)