Posted on March 21, 2019
Image: Cristina Molina, Birds of Paradise, 2016. Archival pigment print. Courtesy of Lily P. Brooks Collection.
Birds of Paradise (2016), is the first installation of a new initiative that links together our international programs by inviting a curator to connect us with an artist in the cities where we hold our Curatorial Intensives. This spring we invited Katie Pfohl to put us in conversation with an artist and she selected Cristina Molina. Molina’s Birds of Paradise, which appears on the cover of this brochure, also hangs in our New York space through the summer. The work is resonant with the themes of accessibility and inclusivity; indigeneity as rootedness in place; the modern museum in the global era; and gender, race, and representation.
“As part of her recent series The Matriarchs, the New Orleans based artist Cristina Molina collaborated with all of the women in her family to create an evocative series of photographs that combine tropical flora and fauna with fragments of the female body. Set in the subtropics, works in this series such as Birds of Paradise emphasize and affirm the generative power of women’s voices within an increasingly fragile and threatened landscape. Referencing the Dutch vanitas tradition of the 16th and 17th centuries, The Matriarchs contemplates the relationship between landscape, lineage and loss, while at the same time looking to women as culture bearers who offer alternate ways of relating to our environment, and to each other. Spanning video, installation, performance, photography and textile design, Molina’s work often privileges female protagonists to explore themes related to culture, heritage and personal mythology, and how they can work in concert with the natural environment.”
—Katie Pfohl, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, faculty in the 2019 Curatorial Intensive, New Orleans.