Contemporary Art in Guatemala

Image: NuMu is a collaborative project between Guatemalan artists Jessica Kairé and Stefan Benchoam. The images above show an exhibition by artist Federico Herrero. Guatemala City, July 2012. This was also the inaugural exhibition at NuMu.

Celebrating Contemporary Guatemalan Art: Conversations with Artists & Curators
Friday, March 6, 2015
The New School
Theresa Lang Community Center

55 West 13th Street (2nd floor)

FREE and open to the public
This event will be live streamed; food and drinks will be served.
Follow the live stream HERE.

In recent years Guatemalan artistic production has been extremely powerful, with an emergence of critical artistic practices responding to the violence, repression and historical memory of the previous decades in Guatemala, but also its unique sense of contemporaneity, indigeneity, and radical urban imagination. Contemporary Guatemalan artists such as Regina José Galindo, Benvenuto Chavajay, Jorge de León and many others are recognized widely not only in the context of Central/Latin America, but receive much acclaim on the world stage, while contemporary urban art spaces like NuMu and Proyectos Ultravioleta are notable for their inventive curatorial practices and creative public engagement.

Showcasing the exciting energy around contemporary artistic and curatorial practices emerging in Guatemala today, this event features artists including: Jessica Kairé, Terike Haapoja, and Jaime Permuth, who will present recent projects conducted in Guatemala; curators Anabella Acevedo and Pablo José Ramírez (joining remotely from Guatemala); and Prof. Nitin Sawhney from The New School Media Studies program. Sawhney, Acevedo and Ramirez are co-organizing the exhibition initiative Guatemala Después which will open this April (on view April 9-29) at The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons/The New School and at Ciudad de la Imaginación in Guatemala this June, featuring the work of over 40 Guatemalan and US-based artists.

Please see the recently launched Kickstarter Campaign for Guatemala Después to learn more and contribute to this exciting new project.

The conversation will be moderated by María Del Carmen Carrión, ICI’s Director of Public Programs & Research, followed by an informal mixer with Guatemalan food and drinks, and a performance by Guatemalan musician Isabel Ruano.

Organized in collaboration with Ciudad de la Imaginación as well as The School of Media Studies, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (SJDC), and Vera List Center for Art and Politics; it is co-sponsored by the University Student Senate (USS) at The New School.

This event is free and open to the public. To attend, please RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with GUATEMALA in the subject line.

March 6, 2015

The New School
Theresa Lang Community Center
55 West 13th Street (2nd Floor)
New York, NY 10011


Terike Haapoja

Terike Haapoja is a Finnish visual artist. With a specific focus in encounters with nature, death and other species, Haapoja’s work investigates the existential and political boundaries of our world. Haapoja’s work raises questions about the existential basis radical otherness provide for being, and about how different structures of exclusion and discrimination function as foundations for identity and culture. Haapoja approaches the previously mentioned themes by building up large projects, often realized in the forms of installations, related publications and participatory acts. Haapoja contributes regularly to Finnish and international art publications. She was the editor of issue ”After the Animal” (2013), co-editor of special issue ”Animal” of Esitys-journal (2013) and co-editor of the Finnish Bioart Society’s publication Field_Notes: From Landscape to Laboratory (2013). Haapoja represented Finland in the Venice Biennale in 2013 with a solo show in the Nordic Pavilion.

Jessica Kairé

Jessica Kairé (Guatemala, 1980) is a Guatemalan artist based between New York and Guatemala City. She is also the co-founder and co-director of the Nuevo Museo de Arte Contemporáneo – NuMu – in Guatemala City, an egg-shaped museum that aims to satiate the lack of other contemporary art institutions in the country. Her work deals with the Guatemalan and Latin identity in general and specific subjects of her native country: violence, underdevelopment, and tropicality as well as gender issues and her Jewish background. She has participated in exhibitions at local and international venues including: La 2nda Gran Bienal Tropical, Puerto Rico; 18th Street Arts Center, Los Angeles, CA;  Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City, Guatemala; NY; XVII Paiz Art Bienniale, Guatemala City, Guatemala; SOMA Centro Cultural, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons The New School for Design, NY, USA; El Museo del Barrio, New York City, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MADC),  Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival, Brooklyn, NY; Plato’s Cave at EIDIA, Brooklyn, NY, USA; San Jose, Costa Rica;  Christinger de Mayo Gallery, Zurich;  Sol del Río, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Concepción 41, Antigua Guatemala; Centro Cultural de España, Guatemala City, Guatemala and Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Jaime Permuth

Jaime Permuth is a Guatemalan photographer living and working in New York City. In 2014, he was awarded with a Smithsonian Institution Artist Fellowship and was also nominated for a 2014 USA Artists Fellowship. In 2013, his first monograph Yonkeros was published by La Fabrica Editorial (Madrid). Also, in 2013 he was nominated for the Prix Pictet and awarded an NFA Fellowship from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. His photographs have been shown at several venues in New York, NY, including: The Museum of Modern Art, The Queens Museum of Art, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Museum of the City of New York, The Jewish Museum, El Museo del Barrio, and The Brooklyn Museum of Art. He has also exhibited internationally at the Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno in Guatemala, Ryugaheon Gallery (Korea) Casa del Lago in Mexico City, and the Israeli Parliament. Permuth is a Faculty Member at the School of Visual Arts, where he teaches in the Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography program curating and hosting their i3 Lecture Series.

Anabella Acevedo

Anabella Acevedo is Executive Director of Ciudad de la Imaginación. She is an independent academic; she has resided and worked in Quetzaltenango since 2005. She holds an undergraduate degree in Literature and Philosophy from the Rafael Landívar University. She obtained her Master’s in Latin American Literature in 1989 and a doctorate in Latin American Literature from the University of Georgia in 1994. She was the Director of the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program in Guatemala, form 2001 to 2013, when she worked at the Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamérica (CIRMA). She has co-curated several exhibits, such as Estados de Excepción (States of Exception) in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. In 2001 she was the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation research grant for the project “Marginalidades, transgresiones y negociaciones. La violencia en Guatemala a través de las prácticas culturales de los jóvenes.” Acevedo curated the XVII and XIX Bienal de Arte Paiz in Guatemala (2012 & 2014). In 2013 she formed part of a research team for the “The curvature of time, Art and Women.” She has published several essays about literature and Guatemalan Art.

Pablo José Ramírez

Pablo José Ramírez is a curator, art writer and cultural theorist who splits his time between Guatemala and London. He is the Adjunct Curator of First Nations and Indigenous Art at Tate Modern. His work revisits post-colonial societies to consider non-western ontologies, indigeneity, forms of racial occlusion, and sound. He holds an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2015 he co-curated with Cecilia Fajardo-Hill the 19th Bienal Paiz: Trans-visible. He was a Guest Curator at Parsons/The New School in New York and at the CCA in Glasgow. Ramirez was the recipient of the 2019 Independent Curators International/CPPC Award for Central America and the Caribbean. Among his recent exhibitions are La Medida del Silencio, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, NuMu, Guatemala (2020); The Shores of the World: on communality and interlingual politics, Display, Prague (2018); Guatemala Después, co-curator, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons School of Design, New York (2015); This Might be a Place for Hummingbirds, co-curator, Center for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow (2014). Ramirez is the Editor in Chief and co-founder of Infrasonica.  

Nitin Sawhney

Nitin Sawhney, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the New School. His research, teaching and creative practice engages the critical role of technology, civic media, and artistic interventions in contested spaces. Nitin previously taught at the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT) and conducted research at the MIT Media Lab. He examines social movements and crisis contexts, though forms of creative urban tactics, participatory research, performance and documentary film. He is the co-curator of the Guatemala Después exhibitions to be held in New York and Guatemala in 2015. He previously co-curated the participatory exhibition #SearchUnderOccupy at the New School to showcase creative responses to the Occupy Movement in New York City in 2012. Nitin is currently completing a documentary film, Zona Intervenida, focusing on genocide, memory and body through site-specific performance interventions and documentary film in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

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