Cuchifritos Gallery [NYSCA FY24]


Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space in Essex Market (Lower East Side, NYC)

Top Row: Essex Market exterior and interior
Bottom Row: Cuchifritos Gallery entrance and street-facing windows

Selection of Recent Exhibitions

Javier Castro
Open Wounds
December 10, 2022 through Mar 11, 2023
Artist-in-Residence Exhibition

“Cuchifritos Gallery and New Museum were some serious experiences for me. I was witnessing people who are living histories of the African Diaspora make sense of such an ongoing story that is intentionally made to seem ‘difficult’ to study….as Jodi peeled back the layers of Castro’s story and his rationale, I was touched. So moved that I had to step back to realize that the shape the noses created was in fact after the Atlantic Slave Trade ‘transportation diagrams.’ I was witnessing the world and my culture try to make sense of it all.”

– Pratt Student reflection after touring of Cuchifritos Gallery with AAI’s Director

Through a series of videos, installations, documents, and sculptures, Afro-Cuban artist Javier Castro’s solo exhibition Open Wounds questioned the broken promises of a postcolonial world. While much of the work on view drew directly from the artist’s experiences growing up in Cuba, the larger exhibition interrogated methods of manipulation embedded within prevalent social structures, including language, economic power, and religion. The show was the artist’s most personal contemplation of the social foundations that underlie our intimate and communal relationships, and the oppression, grief, and injustice that they represent within Black communities.

Press Coverage: Hyperallergic
Accessibility Materials: Open Wounds Education and Accessibility Guide

Exhibition documentation

Rebecca Adorno, Javier Bosques with Elba Meléndez, Danny Rivera-Cruz, and Chaveli Sifre
Curated by Guillermo Rodríguez
September 9 through November 19, 2022
Curatorial Open Call Exhibition

“Thanks a lot for being so helpful during the whole process. It’s been one of the best experiences we’ve had exhibiting in an institution. The patience and the dedication you put into AAI projects have truly been a lesson to me not only about constancy and clarity of long-term vision, but also about care, attention, and dedication. These are not just professional merits, but human and sensible ones. That’s just part of the beauty of what you do at AAI.”

– Guillermo Rodrìguez, 2022 Open Call Curator of KIOSK

Conjuring Cuchifritos Gallery’s material history and placement inside of a public food market, KIOSK drew on familiar as well as abstract associations of the marketplace, re-veiling it as a place of mystery and wonder. The works in KIOSK blurred the lines between mental and material environments by employing ordinary objects as poetic devices. Tracing parallels between La Placita in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and Essex Market in Manhattan, the artists playfully explored notions of memory, indulgence, and joy. Evoking the historical presence (and displacement) of the Puerto Rican community in the Lower East Side and the city at large, KIOSK paid homage to its capacity to thrive and celebrate in the face of adversity–this proclivity to joy is not resilient; it is subversive.

Accessibility Materials: KIOSK Education and Accessibility Guide

Exhibition documentation

ART/WORK: How the Government-Funded CETA Jobs Program Put Artists to Work
December 10, 2021 through March 19, 2022
Institutional Collaboration with City Lore

Presented in partnership with City Lore, ART/WORK highlighted the history and significance of the federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) jobs program (1973-1981), which employed over 10,000 artists and cultural workers across the nation, including 600 in New York City—a scale of artist support not seen since the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the 1930s. Conceived as a whole, the two-part exhibition at Cuchifritos Gallery and continuing at City Lore reflected on New York City’s CETA CCF Artists Project to consider the legacy of CETA legislation and how it might serve as a precedent for envisioning sustained investment in arts labor today.

Press Coverage: i-D Vice, Timeout New York, Fractured Atlas, The Brooklyn Rail, and Creatives Rebuild New York
Acquisition: The 24-page exhibition publication written for this project was added to The Miriam &Ira D. Wallach Division for Art, Prints and Photograph at the New York Public Library.

Exhibition and program documentation