This past Thursday, September 29th, the exhibition “El Corazón Aúlla: Latin American Feminist Performance in Revolt” opened in New York, including Costa Rican artists Rossella Matamoros Jiménez and Flavia Marcus Bien.
Curated by Tatiana Muñoz-Brenes (also Costa Rican) and Alexis Heller, the exhibition also includes works by prominent Latin American artists from different countries: Nayla Altamirano and Elina Chauvet (Mexico), Denise E. Reyes Amaya (El Salvador), Cristina Flores and Wynnie Mynerva (Peru), Regina José Galindo (Guatemala), Fernanda Laguna with Cecilia Palmeiro (Argentina), Luiza Prado de O. Martins, Bárbara Milano and Berna Reale (Brazil), and Jazmín Ra (Chile).
The international and transgenerational exhibition examines gender-based violence in Latin America through the eyes of artists and activists who carry this daily burden. The women and non-binary artists featured in “El Corazón Aúlla” harness their practices for rebellion through performance, which is a particularly powerful tool for confronting brutal absence and loss. Through this artistic discipline, they evoke rage, fear, ritualized mourning and care on the part of the feminist community that inhabits this struggle for survival.
Inaugurated with great enthusiasm and social commitment in New York City, this exhibition was a joint proposal by the Costa Rican curator Tatiana Muñoz Brenes and the American curator living in Costa Rica, Alexis Heller, based on questions and concerns of the Latin American context.
The Shelly and Donald Rubin Foundation
The proposal is exhibited within the framework of having been the winner of the first curatorial call that the Shelly and Donald Rubin Foundation made this 2022, which, in fact, is the first time that they make a call to receive international exhibition proposals, which is a great recognition for this initiative born in national territory.
As the curators mention: “These performances, their aesthetic decisions and their particular contexts answer questions that other artistic media cannot answer, or are incapable of establishing an alliance with the spectator in the search for social justice.” They continue, “gender violence, reaching its highest peaks in femicide and state violence, is an issue that needs to be howled when shouting is not enough, and that must go through a political corporality and through affections, when common sense fails and does not bring change”. The exhibition can be visited at The 8th Floor, gallery of the prestigious Shelly and Donald Rubin Foundation, located on the 8th floor of the Rubin Museum of Art, from September 29th to January 21st, 2023.
About Costa Rican artists and curators
Flavia Marcus Bien is a multidisciplinary artist who combines singing, acting and performance. As of 2017, she began her performative exploration related to gender issues. Flavia uses her body as a canvas, frequently integrating technological elements and transgressive clothing. She portrays characters to make social, environmental and gender criticism. Her experiences as an LGBTQIA+, Latino, and multicultural person dictate her work. She develops her work in a universe of post-capitalist magical realism, from where she explores singing, fashion, scenic creation, video art and performance.
Rossella Matamoros incorporates painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, set design, costume dramaturgy, performance, and video in her work. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Costa Rica and obtained a Master of Fine Arts from George Washington University in Washington D.C. Rossella is a plastic and performative artist who induces the viewer towards mysticism and introspection. She also uses body movement; especially when the mental and emotional state of the body translates into different ways of applying paint and pigment. Matamoros’s work is characterized by being the result of a corporal practice, an emotional reflection and a state of appreciation.
Tatiana Muñoz Brenes is an art curator and researcher, specializing in LGBTIQA+ museums and queer art for her work with the Museum of Identity and Pride (MIO). She is a graduate of the History of Art and Psychology courses at the University of Costa Rica, where she works as a teacher. As an independent curator, her training has also allowed her to work on the issues of community museums, sustainability, collection research, exhibition curatorship, and curatorial support of artistic production.
Alexis Heller received a BA in Psychology from Wesleyan University and a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University. She started an independent curatorial practice in 2012 focused on marginalized LGBTQIA+ and feminist stories. Heller has organized a series of exhibitions at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in New York, Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, as well as various alternative art spaces. He currently lives between New York and Costa Rica.
The prestigious Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation is a New York foundation focused on the arts, social justice, and civics. Established since 1995 in downtown Manhattan, it works its programs through the Rubin Museum of Art and its gallery The 8th Floor through which they carry out artistic projects and grant scholarships aimed at making less recognized artistic practices visible, promoting art at the service of social change and justice, and help art reach larger audiences.
Important artistic and cultural projects of international scope are financed with scholarships and grants from this foundation, including the Museo del Barrio, the Queens Museum and the Bronx Museum: https://www.sdrubin.org/
The 8th Floor
The 8th Floor is an independent exhibition and events space established in 2010 by Shelley and Donald Rubin to promote arts and cultural initiatives. Inspired by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, the gallery is committed to expanding the access and availability of art to the New York public. Seeking greater cultural exchange, The 8th Floor explores the potential of art as a tool for social change in the 21st century, through an annual program of innovative contemporary art exhibitions and an events program comprised of performances, salon-style discussions and others organized by external partners: https://www.the8thfloor.org/