I immediately jumped to the idea of visiting this exhibition at a Georgia museum. I simple "Hmm, I could go to that easily" comment on a Facebook picture started the succession of conversations that connected me directly to artist and curator Juan Negroni. The town I visited for the exhibition is Milledgeville, GA, just two hours and a half drive from Savannah through very southern territory. I only stopped at Dublin, GA to make a Foursquare check-in.
In the evening of January 29 I arrived at the Georgia Museum where I meet Negroni, who had just got off the plane earlier and was busy setting up the pieces for the opening the next day. He received me with a big smile and I immediately felt in fraternity. To my surprise there was another exhibition being set up, "Carry-on: Puerto Rico Inspected". This one curated by Beto Torrens and Anabel Vázquez. More smiles and greets, a few hours spent in the gallery and around Milledgeville with this lively group, and I could have sworn I was home.
It is very significant that this exhibition is occurring in an unexpected Milledgeville, GA. It was very significant that I was able to visit, as I am able to write about it here too.
Here's my conversation with Negroni:
M- How did you get this exhibition all the way to Milledgeville, GA?
I had put some of my information in a website for artists such as artween.com, and I started making friends and connections. One of the artists in Pie forzado.001, Jess Marie Walker was doing a piece that had to do with mountains and land reliefs, and was asking for pictures of mountains from were you lived. I sent her pictures of El Yunque and from there started connecting.
Later I produced a solo show which had a collective piece with people I had worked with in Puerto Rico. It was composed of 4x6 smaller pieces, in which it was explored the concept of beauty. I gave Walker the pieces to move them around Alabama, and to my surprise the piece was shown in the Georgia State Museum. I have no problem inquiring around, and had already in mind the idea for Pie forzado.001, so I asked for the curator's contact information. I got in touch with Shannon Morris, who after a few questions gave me the approval, and we went for it.
M- What does Pie forzado.001 propose?
The idea with Pie forzado.001 is to play with colleagues, with people I know. I placed in the exhibition people I feel comfortable working with, people who I know their work, people who I know are consistent. In the process I started working with some people that later on it didn't work out. But the artists represented here are exquisite and intelligent people, with sound proposals, and who I knew would understand me.
I was looking for an excuse to produce an exhibition. I started playing with the idea of presenting something through an unconventional method. Because the artists in the exhibition are people I know, I thought we should all have fun. The theme and medium I proposed, and the interesting part was how each one approached it. For Pie forzado.001 the concept was active-passive. Each artist has a distinct process of assimilating the concept, and exploring the notions attached to active-passive. The observer can start by exploring the first thing that comes to mind about active-passive.
M- What's next?
The idea was that Pie forzado.001 would be an exhibition circuit. Maybe the next one would be drawing, another one sculpture, and another one open air theater... For now there are conversations with a gallery in the San Juan metropolitan area for bringing this exhibition back to Puerto Rico.
Juan Alberto Negroni . Martín Albarrán . Omar Velázquez . Rabindranat Díaz-Cardona . Jess Marie Walker . Roberto Márquez . Beatrice Coron . Miguel Trelles . Odalis Gómez. Izan Zawahra . Ivonne Prats . Beto Torrens
You are still in time! Visit the exhibition through May 10, 2013.
Georgia College Museum 221 North Clarke Street Milledgeville, GA
For the rest of our conversation, artist Beto Torrens joins in to board the current state of the art scene in Puerto Rico and the relevance of artist-generated projects such as Pie forzado.001 and Carry-On. These efforts are examples of how intrinsic is for Puerto Rican artwork to travel and explore other scenes outside the Island.