Tiger Strikes Asteroid Philadelphia is proud to present Extension or Communication: Puerto Rico, a research project by TSA member Ricky Yanas and artists/organizers Grimaldi Baez and Sheldon Abba exploring the potential of transformative pedagogical spaces in Philadelphia and beyond.
OPENING THURSDAY JANUARY 11th, 2018
OPENING RECEPTION FROM 6-9 PM AT TIGER STRIKES ASTEROID, PHILADELPHIA
Second Thursday Reception: February 8, 6-9pm
Closing Reception: February 17, 2-6pm
“Natural disasters have a way of clarifying things. They sweep away once-sturdy delusions, to reveal old treasures and scars.”
-Molly Crabapple, “Puerto Rico’s DIY Disaster Relief,” New York Review of Books, 2017
“It appears that the act of extension, in whatever sector it takes place, means that those carrying it out need to go to “another part of the world” to “normalize it,” according to their way of viewing reality: to make it resemble their world. Thus, in its “field of association” the term extension has a significant relation to transmission, handing over, giving, messianism, mechanical transfer, cultural invasion, manipulation, etc. All these terms imply actions which transform people into “things” and negate their existence as beings who transform the world.”
--Paolo Freire from “Extension or Communication,” 1974
This, the first stage in a larger collaborative effort, will highlight emancipatory projects that have emerged in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of hurricane Maria.
As the crisis lurches forward into its third month, some citizen brigades have congealed into civic groups looking past the immediate relief efforts; some are beginning to create civic strategies for the long term transformation of vital sectors of Puerto Rican society. Among these groups, those concerned with food sovereignty have been most articulate in their polemics about the need for a radical transformation in Puerto Rican society, advocating a critical intersection of literacy, technology, and civics as necessary to the viability and long term sustainability of any political project.
Today, these groups have a larger political resonance in that they echo similar needs and desires in the US. As imperial power becomes more concentrated in the era of Trump, Puerto Rico has become the crystallized symbol of a debased citizenry. During a recent visit to the island, Yanas, Baez, and Abba collected images, texts, and interviews looking for critical contexts and generative possibilities in the wake of the storm.
From January 11th to February 17th, Yanas, Baez, and Abba will treat the TSA Philly gallery space as an active studio/lab, parsing and organizing the information collected and hosting discussions around the question of exchange with Puerto Rico. What can we give? What do we need? This open form will yield not only artworks, but strategies for collaboration. Working with contributors including artists Kaitlin Pomerantz, Kristen Neville Taylor, Rogelio Baez, and community organizer Tania-María Ríos, the core group will offer a final presentation highlighting pertinent ideas, necessary resources, and next steps (dates to follow).
Ricky Yanas is a Texas-born artist, curator, and educator based in Philadelphia, PA. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011. In his work, he utilizes photography, painting, sculpture, and installation to highlight and link activist traditions and struggles by weaving a multitude of aesthetic, philosophical, and political histories. In 2016, he founded Ulises books with Nerissa Cooney, Lauren Downing, Joel Evey, Kayla Romberger and Gee Wesley.
Grimaldi Baez is a multidisciplinary artist with formal studies in printmaking drawing and sculpture. "El Cielo esta encapotado, quien los desencaotara? el desencapotador que lo desencapote, buen desencapotador sera!" -Fulano Detal
Sheldon Abba is a media artist based in Philadelphia, PA. His projects are often collaborations between artists, institutions and communities focused on documentation and collective storytelling. Current projects include Cross City Communication, Philadelphia Assembled and Chinatown Bus Stories.
Kaitlin Pomerantz is a visual artist and educator based in Philadelphia. Her interdisciplinary work in sculpture, site-specific installation, photography, and painting explores transitional landscape, land use, and the relationship between humans and nature. Pomerantz has most recently shown her work at Sierra Nevada College, Nevada; Texas Tech Museum, Lubbock, Texas; Fjord Gallery and Little Berlin, Philadelphia. She was part of Philadelphia's public art festival, Monument Lab. Pomerantz is co-facilitator of the botanical arts project WE THE WEEDS, and is an editor at Title Magazine.
Kristen Neville Taylor’s diverse practice combines drawing, sculpture, and glass which converge playfully in installation style environments. Her work considers nature futures and histories through science, anthropology, science fiction, and mythology. Taylor’s work has been shown at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, PNCA, Richard Stockton and Rowan University Art Galleries in New Jersey, and Expo Chicago. She has organized several exhibitions including Landscape Techne at Little Berlin, The Usable Earth at the Esther Klein Gallery, and she co-curated Middle of Nowhere in the Pine Barrens. Taylor is the recipient of the Yvonne M. Kelly Memorial Prize for Mixed Media, the Laurie Wagman Prize in Glass, and a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship.
Rogelio Baez is a painter, sculptor and creator of installations. In 2005, he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree of Visual Arts from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in San Juan, Puerto Rico. During the past 20 years, he has taken independent courses under the tutelage of artists such as Fran Cervoni and Amanda Carmona Bosch, and with Melanie Reign in the Dominican Republic. He is a founding member of The Storehouse Group, a gallery that provided a platform for emerging Puerto Rican artists to break into the international art market, and is founder of La corporación Artist Studios, which offered studio space to emerging artists. During the past years, his work has been part of exhibitions in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Barcelona. In 2010, he was awarded first place at the 3er Certamen de Arte Joven of Oriental Bank and Trust of Puerto Rico. In 2011, he received the Beca Lexus para Artistas and exhibited his work at Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.
Tania-María Ríos Marrero is a community organizer for a North Philadelphia public library, interested in the complex issues associated with access, information and creation. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she embraces Latinx communities of the diaspora and of her ancestral home Puerto Rico.