North/South of Which Border?

Featuring Edward Boros, Ariadna Capasso, caraballo-farman, De La Vega, Eduardo Difarnecio, Juan Carlos Pinto
Curated by Paul Clay

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 15 from 4-6pm
Exhibition Dates: April 15 – May 6, 2006
Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday, 12-5:30pm
Location: 120 Essex Street (inside Essex Street Market)

Borders. The LES is said to stretch from Worth Street north to 14th street and from Broadway East to the East River on historical maps of New York. As short a time ago as the 1980s Upper East and West siders could be heard to say they never went South past Union Square.

The LES has been slated since the early 1930s to become a convenient nearby residence for the white collar workers on Wall street. With the collapse of the manufacturing base in New York City in the 60’s (one of the first signs of coming Globalization), factories in SoHo became abandoned buildings, and Puerto Ricans who had actually been scouted by US corporations as new cheap labor for the manufacturing district, were left trapped in the LES, hung out to dry.

Borders. According to the 2000 Census Latinos are currently the largest and most diverse minority group in the US, reaching this status years before they had been forecast to. The latest U.S. Census Bureau figures show 38.8 million Latinos in the country with most residing in urban areas in Florida, Illinois, Texas, California, New Jersey, and New York.

In the words of The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts: “The Hispanic population defies simple characterizations; there is a diversity of groups that differ not only by country of origin but also by immigrant status and racial self-identification.”

Borders. Is it even productive to try to identify what constitutes Latino art in contemporary society? Or is this simply an old fashioned way of ghettoizing certain work which is actually indistinguishable from Contemporary art made all around the world, as artists influences are global? Further complexity abounds when we consider artists of other ethnic origins having spent time in Latin America, and the influences of New York City itself. Still perhaps, as suggested by recent exhibit titles such as “L Factor” there is something legitimately to explore.

Artists are always crossing borders, blurring lines, and revealing undiscovered vistas. Each of the artists, presented here, is creating work which fails to fit within the normal boundaries of categorization. Musical instrument or visual art? Drawing or performance piece? Urban or commercial? Propaganda or reality television? Inside the contemporary art world or Outsider art? With population flux has come altered understandings regarding art, identity, and what it means to be Latino. Artists in this exhibit explore some of this new terrain.


Cuchifritos is a program of Artists Alliance Inc. This exhibit is sponsored in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and through the generous support of the following: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The New York City Economic Development Corporation, The Puffin Foundation, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, and the members of the Artists Alliance Inc.