For Immediate Release
‘Planeta Abuelx,’ a solo show from artist Guadalupe Maravilla, brings hope and healing to Socrates Sculpture Park beginning May 15, 2021
Guadalupe Maravilla; work in process for solo exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park; 2021; Courtesy the Artist, Socrates Sculpture Park, and PPOW Gallery; Image by Guadalupe Maravilla.
New York City, March 8, 2021
As the world slowly begins to recover from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, Socrates Sculpture Park further affirms its role as an essential community-centric outdoor arts space with ‘Planeta Abuelx,’ a solo exhibition of newly commissioned work from Guadalupe Maravilla that addresses and applies holistic healing practices, opening May 15, 2021.
In response to a curatorial invitation to use the Park’s five-acre landscape as a sanctuary for recuperation, Maravilla is creating new work that expands upon his ongoing ‘Disease Throwers’ series. Drawing on ancestral, Indigenous, and ritual practices of holistic healing, Maravilla’s sculptures are an accumulation of totemic forms; medicinal gardens; recycled and found materials; Mesoamerican symbolism; and functional sound components. The sculptures’ coral-like texture was achieved through an experimental process of pouring aluminum in the Park’s on-site fabrication studio. The resulting forms suggest connotations of water’s curative properties as well as conjuring the vulnerability of both environmental and social ecosystems. Sounds produced by the ‘Disease Throwers’ are intended to serve as restorative vibrational therapies that help to wash away anxieties and engender communal healing.
The title, expanding the idea of “Mother Earth” into the intergenerational, gender neutral, and open-ended “Grandparents Planet”, points to Maravilla’s framing of intimate familial relationships and durational time as crucial to the restorative process. The installation of works serves as an homage to our elders, not only as a group vulnerable and tragically disproportionally lost to illness including Covid-19, but also as keepers of curative ancestral knowledge passed down through generations.
Maravilla’s title not only suggests the past of forebears but the posterity of the future in the reference of Planet X. This is a theoretical planet, not yet visible or scientifically proven, but perceived and hypothesized by mathematical approaches to observed and gravitational data. While epigenetic studies reveal that the effects of trauma manifest in descendants up to seven generations, the evocation of Planet X in this context suggests the mystery and possibility of the future which lies at the outer limits of our perception.
Maravilla’s interest in healing from trauma grew out of his personal lived experiences: as a child he fled from the Salvadoran Civil War and entered the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant and then later in life, he fought and survived cancer. While Maravilla’s personal narrative informs his practice, his exhibition at Socrates invites the public to more broadly consider how we – as communities and individuals – begin rehabilitation and renewal from the collective traumas of the past few years including the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of white supremacist violence. Maravilla’s focus on physical and emotional health through mutual and holistic care are in harmony with the Park as a waterfront estuary, a sheltered green space, and a community hub.
In addition to his new ‘Disease Throwers’ sculptures, Maravilla will also create a work for the Broadway Billboard above the Park’s main entrance as well as a large-scale ground drawing based on the Salvadoran children’s game “tripa chuca” (which translates to “rotting guts”). Maravilla’s ground drawing at the Park will be the first he has presented outdoors, his first at such large scale, as well as the first he intends to be ephemeral – dissipating over time into memory. Maravilla will collaborate with a cancer survivor to create the ground drawing – inscribing their individual journeys as two separate lines on the earth that travel and maneuver throughout the Park, but never touch.
Over the course of the ‘Planeta Abuelx’ exhibition, Maravilla will activate the projects on view through a series of public programs including community workshops and therapeutic sound baths. These programs will be offered in accordance with Covid-19 safety protocols and be responsive to changing conditions.
“With his exhibition at Socrates, Guadalupe Maravilla radically expands on the concept of healing through art, creating new modes of understanding for what holistic care and recovery looks like for individuals and communities in the wake of trauma,” says Socrates Curator & Director of Exhibitions, Jess Wilcox. “The natural oasis that is the Park’s waterfront landscape serves to further amplify the potential recuperative properties of this body of work – literally, in the case of the sculptures’ auditory components, and figuratively, in terms of the intangible (yet very real) benefits of experiencing art in nature.”
John Hatfield, Socrates’ outgoing Executive Director says, “I am so grateful that Socrates has been able to remain open throughout the pandemic, providing the public with essential access to nature and art. Guadalupe Maravilla’s exhibition, Planeta Abuelx, will provide a new and important form of respite to our community as we continue to heal, physically and mentally, from Covid-19.”
About Guadalupe Maravilla
Guadalupe Maravilla has performed and presented his work extensively in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bronx Museum, El Museo Del Barrio, MARTE (El Salvador), Central America Biennial X (Costa Rica), Performa 11 & 13, Smack Mellon, and the ICA in Miami (2019). His work is included in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art (Miami, FL), and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid). He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2019) and Creative Capital grant (2016). Based in Brooklyn, NY and Richmond, VA, Maravilla is currently an Assistant Professor at VCU. He is represented by PPOW Gallery in New York City where he has an exhibition, Seven Ancestral Stomachs, on view from February 26 – March 27, 2021.
This exhibition is organized by Socrates Sculpture Park and curated by Jess Wilcox, Curator & Director of Exhibitions. The exhibition is made possible with generous support from the Jerome Foundation and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. Socrates’s Exhibition Program is funded by the Charina Foundation, ConEdison, the Sidney E. Frank Foundation, Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, Agnes Gund, Lambent Foundation, Ivana Mestrovic, and Spacetime C.C. The exhibition is funded, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
For over 30 years, Socrates Sculpture Park has been a model of public art production, community activism, and socially inspired place-making. Over 1,000 artists have created and exhibited new works on its five waterfront acres and outdoor studio facilities. Socrates is free and open to the public 365 days a year from 9am to sunset. It is located at 32-01 Vernon Boulevard (at Broadway) in Long Island City, New York. Socrates Sculpture Park is a not-for-profit organization licensed by NYC Parks to manage and program Socrates Sculpture Park, a New York City public park. Covid-19 Updates: Socrates remains open to the public at regular hours, 9am – sunset, with free admission. Park policies and updates regarding health and safety can be found at socratessculpturepark.org/Covid19.
The Park is on the ancestral land of the Lenape, Canarsie, and Matinecock peoples.