seraphin gallery, philadelphia, art gallery, fine art, contemporary art, victor vazquez
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Victor Vazquez earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Puerto Rico. He went on to complete doctoral level coursework in Education, and Comparative Religion at New York University. In 1982, he traveled to India, China and Japan to study art, literature and the cultural history of these regions. Vazquez studied photography with Jan Jurasek, and attended the School of Visual Arts and the Maine Photographic Workshop. The artist is scheduled for a solo retrospective at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan for September of 2016.
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No vamos a llegar, pero vamos a ir. We will not arrive but we are going. 2013
Body to Body. 2008
Installation Images: Dialogo, Museum of Arte de Ponce, 2007. Body to Body 2, Seraphin Gallery, 2009.
Liquids and Signs. 2002-2006
The Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC, United States
ARTIS, Paris, France
Artium Center, Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Victoria Gasteiz, Spain
Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, Paris, France
Casa Las Américas, Havana, Cuba
Centro Wifredo Lam, Havana, Cuba
Fundacion America, Santiago, Chile
Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens, OH, United States
Lehigh Photography Collection, Lehigh, PA, United States
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico
Museo del Barrio, New York, NY, United States
Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States
Museum of Art Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, United States
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain
June 6, 2008
MAP chief curator Cheryl Hartub collaborated with the artist Victor Vázquez in the translation of several of his most memorable images into a museum installation, titled "Dialogues." With eight light boxes and two other sculptural works, the project manages to re-contextualize the MAP permanent collection at the same time that it gives new life to Vázquez’ sepia-toned photographs addressing questions of body politics.
My favorite juxtaposition between old and new was Mattress and Ball (2005), a work that features a pair of free-standing photographs of a soccer ball sitting amidst a messy tangle of hair and dirt on top of a used mattress. An obvious homage to Arte Povera, the work looked elegantly out of place in MAP’s pristine galleries, not to mention juxtaposed with Vanitas (1678), a 17th-century painting by Pieter Gerritsz Van Roestraeten. But both artists present the eternal conflict between life and all its stuff and the dark finality of death. In Vanitas, the material world is symbolized by a shiny black-and-gold lacquered chest with elaborate Rococo mounts. For Vázquez, materiality is represented by a small tin can holding a toy soccer ball (like a coffin) that sat on the floor, not far from the two photos. Painted on the floor, beside the can, is a bold question mark.
Vázquez took a chance at syncretism by mixing Catholic iconography with the Afro-Caribbean religious traditions of Santeria in a two-sided light box placed in the Spanish Baroque wing. The image that stood out is Still Life for Yemayá (1994), in which a foot pierced by nails calls to mind martyrdom and crucifixion. As the title refers to the name of the Santeria deity Yemayá, the foot in front of Francisco de Zurbaran’s The Crucifixion (1630) seemed to question assumptions we all have about faith and the common denominators in the representation of its iconography.