Open Studio with Natalia Viera


Image Credit: The Clemente Soto Vélez and Amanda Vélez Papers courtesy of Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños Hunter College, CUNY.

Open Studio with Natalia Viera

October 27, 5-8pm
107 Suffolk St, Studio #406, NYC

EMBAJADA 406 in partnership with Artists Alliance Inc. (AAI) and
Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center (The Clemente)

About EMBAJADA 406

During her month-long residency, Natalia Viera worked with the cultural and historic archives of Puerto Rican culture and heritage at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. The Center, located in upper Manhattan is a research institute dedicated to the study and interpretation of the Puerto Rican experience in the United States that produces and disseminates relevant interdisciplinary research. Viera’s research focussed on Clemente Soto Vélez’s archive; for the open studio she will exhibit manuscripts, published works, interviews and ephemera.

Clemente Soto Vélez was born on January 4, 1905, in Lares Puerto Rico. He was a founding member of the literary movement “El Atalaya de Los Dioses” known as “Atalayismo”, which aimed to break with existing literary traditions and experiment with different forms of radical writing. As a ground-breaking poet, and one of the most significant contemporary Puerto Rican writers, activist, political prisoner, Soto Vélez invented a new language and explored ways of collaborating with different modes of expression and was always in contact with artists. He would host “tertulias” in his 93rd street New York apartment inviting artists of his time to read poetry and discuss art. His involvement with the arts and culture led him to mentor many young artists. He also collaborated with several cultural institutions in the United States. This exhibition celebrates not only his literature and poetry but highlights his involvement with other movements in the arts and culture with artists from Puerto Rico and its diaspora who were related to the pro-independence movement.

Natalia Viera Salgado is an independent curator working between Puerto Rico and New York. She received her MA in Curatorial Studies from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in the spring 2018 and serves as archivist in charge of the Art Program at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (CENTRO), Hunter College, New York. Her curatorial practice focuses on the intersections between historical, archival material, and pedagogy. Her inclination towards social issues, decolonialism, and environmental theories in relation to contemporary art has led her to work with many artists from Latin America and the Caribbean. She has worked in the commercial sector and at various non-profit organizations and government institutions between Puerto Rico, Colombia and New York. Viera served as curatorial assistant for the 4th Poly / Graphic Triennial of San Juan: Latin America and the Caribbean (2015) and as curatorial assistant at Flora Ars + Natura for the exhibition Energ(ética)(2017), curated by José Roca. Earlier this year Viera was the Curatorial Fellow for the Virginia Overton exhibition Built (2018) at Socrates Sculpture Park. In 2018 Viera also worked with artist Joseph Buckley’s exhibition, Traitor Muscle at Art in General. Recent projects include Isla Imaginaria (2018), an exhibition that questioned notions of paradise and the idea of progress in Puerto Rico and the repercussions on its colonial subjects. The exhibition included the talk Colonial Imaginaries: on Brown Poetics and the Damné which offered a look at the texts Poetics of Relation by Édouard Glissant and The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, Ren Ellis Neyra and Eduardo Rivera Pichardo. Other pedagogical projects include leading the workshop Breaking and Unveiling the Immigration Glossary of Severalty exploring the complexity of immigrant identity in the US with a collective of Hispanic curators she cofounded, Se Habla Español, held at The 8th Floor, at the Selly & Donald Rubin Foundation.