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The Jump

Published on
November 14

The first time I heard Biennale de Venezia I thought it was a beautiful name for an Italian dish of pasta...but Biennale de Venezia or the Venice Biennale is actually one of the most prestigious art fairs in the world. Although I never attended the Venice Biennale I was always fascinated that the city of Venice had started, as early as 1895, a tradition of large-scale international contemporary art exhibitions that continues today. Biannual art events are more frequent than ever before and provide an opportunity of discovering emerging artists from all around the world that I try not to miss.

One that is open right now until January 4th, 2014 is “Here is Where we Jump” the seventh Biennale exhibition of El Museo del Barrio’s, that includes the work of artists born mostly in the United States with Hispanic cultural backgrounds. The Museum is a small institution in size, but an important reference in the city for Latino, Caribbean, and Latin American culture. Artist and educator Raphael Montanez Ortiz founded the museum 40 years ago because he noted that mainstream museums largely ignored Latin American artists.

I headed to El Museo on a rainy afternoon (from Columbia take the M4 bus which stops at the door), intrigued by the meaning of “Here is Where we Jump”. Chus Martinez, chief-curator at El Museo describes it like this: “The ‘jump’ refers here to the possibility of being suspended in the air between heaven and earth. […] The jump names the possibility of a distinct order, one that is not in response or in reaction to the existing ones, but able to contain novelty and possibility.”  After reading this, I was ready to jump too.

This year’s edition features three Columbia MFA Alumni: Eric Ramos Guerrero (’09), Ignacio Gonzalez Lag (‘03) and Miguel Cardenas (’05). Check them out; I especially loved Miguel Cardenas “The Jaguar’s Path” . The galleries took me on a trip into Brazil, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico through the hands of a group of contemporary artists all living and working in New York City. Perhaps my favorite part was the performing artists’ videos of Sara Jimenez and Kailynn Redell, Gabriela Scopazzi, and Paula Garcia. I didn’t feel the suspension in the air afterwards, but I felt refreshed with the novelty and the possibility of the group of artists selected.  I highly recommend checking out this exhibit, students can attend for free with your valid student CUID and semester sticker through Passport to Museums.

One last tip for those interested in experiencing more art biennials in New York City: Performa 13, the only biennial dedicated to new visual art performance across disciplines, is going on right now until November 24.


Top Photo:  Sara Jimenez (b. 1984, London, Ontario) & Kailynn Redell (b.1985 Santa Cruz, California), Expansion 2012. Single channel video, 6:11 minutes. Courtesy of the artists.