"Neo-Latino CCM Edition"
An Exhibition of 21st Century Latino Artists
Curated by Raul Villarreal
November 24, 2014 – January 30, 2015
Artist Reception: Wednesday, December 3 from 5:30-8:00 PM
The CCM Visual Arts Gallery
Sherman H. Masten Library
County College of Morris
214 Center Grove Road, Randolph, NJ 07869-2086
Todd Doney, Gallery Director
Dr. Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz, the Bolivia aesthetic theorist, poet, and “Father of Amnesis Art” has argued that contemporary culture is marked by “hybridization,” the blending of cultures through globalization and integration, rupturing distinctions between low art and high art, and contributing to postmodern cultural fusion. Suárez-Araúz attests that all this “hybridization” will ultimately result in cultural renewal, and he acknowledges that no 21st Century art movement has done more to ignite a Hispanic Renaissance than NYC’s/NJ’s Metropolitan-area Neo-Latino group, whose revitalized and resurgent “second-wave” is led by Raul Villarreal, the acclaimed Cuban American painter, who, in 2003, christened the movement: “Neo-Latino Art.”
Art historically, Neo-Latinoism stands as the 21st Century’s first Hispanic art movement. Thanks to Villarreal enlightened revival of Neo-Latinoism, the possibility of an artistic community linked by cultural solidarity is growing. Under Villarreal’s curatorial leadership, the second wave of the Neo-Latino art movement is being launched in winter 2014-2015 within County College of Morris’s new CCM Art Gallery, featuring cutting-edge images of social significance, imaginative visions, and strong visual vitality that are both archetypal and intrinsic to contemporary Latino community(ies) within NYC/NJ’s greater metropolitan area. Neo-Latinos generally emulate consequential art movements from the previous century (e.g. Dada, Surrealism, and other art movements) that preferred clear transcendent socio-cultural aesthetic principle(s), and wide-ranging artistic aspirations, to mere stylistic uniformity. In short, Neo-Latino art is not driven by one universal or consistent style. Rather, Neo-Latinoism explores six styles: Neo-Informalism, Neo-Pop, Amnesis, Metaphorical Realism, Primordialism and Folkloricism, while adhering to core Neo-Latino cultural values and ideas; ultimately, they believe that art is the unity in diversity of all things. Generally, Neo-Latino art assimilates or combines aesthetic traits from Africa, Europe, and the Americas. In Neo-Latino art, multicultural and multiethnic viewpoints prevail, engendering transcultural amalgams, consisting of three elements: 1). Pan-American artistic fertilization, 2). Incessant cultural and artistic evolution, and 3). unlimited syncretic fusion in the arts; reinforcing cultural bonds by focusing on aggregate Latina(o) ethnicity and identity.
Since 2003 in their artworks, NYC’s/NJ’s Metropolitan-area Neo-Latino art movement has consistently gauged the cultural impact of full-blown US-Latinization [(a term invented in 1992 by José Rodeiro, the Cuban-American painter)], which describes the current ascent of Ibero-American culture in North America. In terms of art, aesthetics, and culture, the Neo-Latino art movement is a manifestation of contemporary US-Latinization, as well as indicative of transcultural currents that are simultaneously dispersing and imploding within Metropolitan-area Hispanic communities.
“Second wave” Neo-Latino artists include: Josephine Barreiro, Olga Mercedes Bautista, Monica S. Camin, Christie Devereaux, Ricardo Fonseca, Nicola Stewart Fonseca, Fermin Mendoza, Lisette Morel, Angélica Muñoz Castaño, Gabriel Navar, Isabel Nazario, Julio Nazario, José Rodeiro, Sergio Villamizar and Raúl Villarreal. The Latin American and Iberian countries represented are Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Portugal and Spain.