Watching for the Bus Stop Gallery

the artist Felipe Baeza I know something about waiting for the bus. Growing up in Chicago in the 1990s, he began riding city buses alone at the age of nine. He attended Cooper Union College in New York to study art and took classes by bus or subway from his home in Spanish Harlem. Having lived in Los Angeles for a period of time this year without a car, he used to take a bus, or maybe a few, to get across town, but gave up after a ridiculously long wait to get an Uber. I once called

Beginning August 9th, the Brooklyn-based artist will inspire people to think while traveling on public transport, or in some cases, purgatory.as part of public art fund program Designed to reach people wherever they live or commute, Baeza reproduces eight mixed-media collage-style paintings. About 400 JCDecaux bus shelters Also in New York, Boston, Chicago, Queretaro and Leon in Mexico. It will also be posted on digital kiosks and newsstands in Mexico City.

“People think I don’t drive because of my illegal immigration history,” he says. Mr. Baeza said. “I had no aspirations or interests at all. I like walking and riding buses and trains. increase.”

And his paintings for this project — fantastical, ritualistic images of the human body in various stages of transformation and rebirth — touch on the power of mobility. Speaking in a tiny office-like studio at the Getty Museum, where he stayed for nine months through June, Baeza called his subjects “unruly figures” or “fugitives” who didn’t follow norms or laws. Some appear to transform into sea creatures and mythical birds. Others are in the middle of their flight.

Many of his figures are fragmented, missing legs and torsos. However, they have long enveloping arms, a shroud like the Virgin Mary, or a pointed energy field, and they appear to be powerfully protected. “Violence is not my intention,” Baeza said. “Even if I only show the head, I see it not as a decapitated person, but as the whole body, the body in formation.”

Baeza’s work also resists simplistic narratives of immigrant victims, said Los Angeles curator César García-Alvarez, who provided the artist with the work. early research in the miss room Held in Los Angeles in 2020, it included five of his works as a tribute. To Elio Otichka at the Lisson Gallery in New York this summer. “He’s a pock artist, a queer artist, an immigrant artist, so there’s an expectation that his work should be very political, critiquing the system of oppression,” said the curator. “But I think Felipe’s work is also amazingly and unapologetically beautiful. It’s ambitious and expansive.”

The new work, along with Catholic iconography containing many thorns, is an exiled Mesoamerican antiquity that the artist found in American museum collections, not necessarily looted, but extracted from its original culture and context. We are using the goods that have been sold.he delved deeper into this subject during his lecture Getty Research Instituteborrowed a stack of museum catalogues, and covered the walls of the studio with copies of astonishing images, from Olmec masks to Nazca drums.

Some of these Mesoamerican forms appear in new works, some of which are almost cartoonish. Harrisco Pot at the Art Institute of Chicago, identified as “an open-necked vessel in the shape of a human head, presumably deceased.” (“It looks so alive to me,” said the artist). after that, An elaborate spiky headdress adorning Remojada pottery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Baeza adapted to crown one of his figures.

These exiled antiquities that remained in the United States provided a way to “think about the immigrant experience,” Baeza said. “Advance Parole” to travel abroad. “People come to new countries without work permits, driver licenses, and the ability to move freely, but they learn to thrive and survive even during such suspensions. , I’d like to think that these objects are doing the same thing and thriving despite their constraints.”

Baeza’s composition process usually begins with coloring his own paper. He puts pigment and water on a large plastic sheet on the ground and presses paper against it to absorb color in an ‘uncontrolled’ way. He then applied one of his sheets of uneven stains and streaks to a small wooden panel that served as a canvas, while simultaneously applying other hand-dyed paper sheets (possibly magazine photographs) to smaller pieces. Cut into pieces to compose an otherworldly figure. These cut-up pieces are embedded in wood carved by the artist using printmaking tools. “It’s like mosaic technology,” he said.

The result is a highly layered artwork, somewhere between painting, printmaking and collage. Critics have called his work “intimate”, suggesting that the artist’s careful process of markmaking can be felt.

One of the challenges in replicating a super-sized bus shelter is maintaining intimacy and texture. The original artwork measures up to 16″ x 12″, while the bus stop print measures nearly 6′ x 4′. In the original drawings for the series, the delicately colored backgrounds can sometimes look like concrete.

“In a perfect world, we want to convey texture,” Baeza said. “But I was very happy with the final proof I saw the last time.”

His printmaking training helped. Baeza applied to Cooper Union because “My Only Path to Higher Education” was free. He was also drawn to the instinctive pleasure of making etchings and woodcuts. After graduating in 2009, he landed his “dream job.” Two Palms in New York, has produced silkscreens with renowned artists such as Mel Bochner. In 2016 he joined his MFA program at Yale University. co-print plate — A map of America that he drew with twine — was more convincing in itself than inking to make a print. He gained his know-how in the art business as part of the first group of Titus Caffer’s residency program NXTHVN in New Haven, Connecticut. “I became a studio mouse,” he said. “The networking aspect was also very helpful.”

By then, Baeza was busy creating “unruly” mixed-media figures, some of whom even appeared in the 2020 Mystery Room survey. That show was canceled due to the pandemic, but top curator Cecilia Alemani was able to see it and included Baeza in that show. 2022 Venice Biennale exhibition “The Milk of Dreams”. Alongside surrealist masters like Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo (who gathered in exile in Mexico in the 1940s).

Both painters were known for imbuing their work with mysticism. Directed by Nicholas Baum, Public Art Fund, When I saw the Biennale, I was struck by the “materiality and spirituality” of Baeza’s works there. “I also think that what he’s doing is Identity and outsiderity, what it means to not be a citizen, not a heterosexual man, and to have a sense of somehow living in the space. ”

Started in New York in 2017 Ai Weiwei Exhibition “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” The Public Art Fund’s Bus Shelter Program now runs approximately twice a year. The latest commission by Ida Murune was international for the first time, and its success prompted Baum to offer Baeza’s work a presence in Mexico. His team lined up at bus stops and Mexico City kiosks in Queretaro and Leon, not far from Baeza’s birthplace.

And it is quite possible that the artist will be able to see this project in Mexico. “I would like to go on a trip in September,” said Baeza, who has been given an “advance parole” that allows him to travel until November for work reasons. “My whole family is still in Celaya except my parents. They have never seen my art in person, so it would be great to experience my art with them.”

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