TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT April 2017

TOP TEN

Sol Calero

Sol Calero is a Venezuelan-born artist living in Berlin. She recently mounted solo exhibitions at Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria and Art Basel. Forthcoming exhibitions include Preis der Nationalgalerie at Hamburger Bahnhof, Future Generation Art Prize at the Pinchuk Art Centre in Kiev, and the Folkestone Triennial in Kent, UK. Calero is a codirector of the project space Kinderhook & Caracas in Berlin and a founder of the television platform Conglomerate.

  1. FELIPE GUAMAN POMA DE AYALA, EL PRIMER NUEVA CRÓNICA Y BUEN GOBIERNO (THE FIRST NEW CHRONICLE AND GOOD GOVERNMENT), CA. 1615

    This beautiful manuscript, handwritten by indigenous Peruvian Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, can be found as a digital facsimile on the Royal Danish Library website. It provides a historical account of life in the Andes from the first human settlers to the Incas to life during and after the Spanish conquest. It was addressed to King Philip III of Spain, but he never received it.

    *Page from Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s _El primer nueva crónica y buen gobierno_ (The First New Chronicle and Good Government), ca. 1615*, ink on paper, 8 1/8 × 5 3/4". Page from Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s El primer nueva crónica y buen gobierno (The First New Chronicle and Good Government), ca. 1615, ink on paper, 8 1/8 × 5 3/4".
  2. ANNI ALBERS’S TEXTILE WORKS AND PRE-COLUMBIAN OBJECT COLLECTION

    I’ve always admired Anni Albers’s Bauhaus weavings. But it wasn’t until later, when I started researching Latin American art, that I found out Anni and Josef Albers had an extensive collection of pre-Columbian objects that proved essential to their exploration of the relationships between cultures and to the development of their own work. When Anni published her book On Weaving in 1965, she dedicated it to “my great teachers, the weavers of ancient Peru.”

    *Woven panel from Chancay or Central Coast culture, Peru, ca. 1000–1470*, cotton, alpaca, 22 1/2 × 13 7/8". From the collection of Anni and Josef Albers. Woven panel from Chancay or Central Coast culture, Peru, ca. 1000–1470, cotton, alpaca, 22 1/2 × 13 7/8". From the collection of Anni and Josef Albers.
  3. LA CATEDRAL DE JUSTO (JUSTO’S CATHEDRAL), MEJORADA DEL CAMPO, SPAIN

    Don Justo Gallego Martínez is ninety-one years old and has been single-handedly building a cathedral since 1961. He works every day except for Sunday. Most of the construction has been completed with recycled or repurposed materials. For example, the bricks used to build the walls were discarded from a factory. Characteristically surreal, the building looks and feels like it’s melting.

    *Justo Gallego Martínez, La catedral de Justo (Justo’s Cathedral), Mejorada del Campo, Spain, 1961–.* Photo: Jose.Madrid/Flickr. Justo Gallego Martínez, La catedral de Justo (Justo’s Cathedral), Mejorada del Campo, Spain, 1961–. Photo: Jose.Madrid/Flickr.
  4. MY GRANDMOTHER AND ARMANDO REVERÓN

    My grandmother had a self-portrait of Armando Reverón, one of the most influential exponents of Venezuelan Impressionism. When I was growing up, I remember the adults making a big deal about that painting all the time. They would take care of it, hide it, hang it, rehang it, fight about it. Many years later, she sold the painting and lived the rest of her life off the money she made from the auction. Because of this, I have always appreciated Reverón’s work, and I also came to understand early on the weird and arbitrary value of art.

    *Armando Reverón, _Retrato de un hombre (El loco de la Guaira_) (Portrait of a Man [The Madman of the Guaira]), 1929*, oil and charcoal on canvas, 18 × 14". Armando Reverón, Retrato de un hombre (El loco de la Guaira) (Portrait of a Man [The Madman of the Guaira]), 1929, oil and charcoal on canvas, 18 × 14".
  5. RUBÉN BLADES & WILLIE COLÓN, “PEDRO NAVAJA” (1978) AND FANIA ALL-STARS

    I always knew the song but never really paid attention to the lyrics, until one day the genius of “Pedro Navaja” (Pedro Knife) suddenly blew my mind. It’s a story about a criminal who attacks a prostitute on the street with a switchblade, attempting to steal her bag, not knowing that she has a gun. They wind up killing each other, and a drunk guy who happens to be passing by ends up with the knife, the gun, and the money. Salsa musicians in the 1960s and ’70s, especially Fania All Stars and other Fania Records artists, did an amazing job of capturing scenes and stories of life in Latin countries and for Latino immigrants in places like New York City.

    *Still from Rubén Blades and Willie Colón’s 1978 video _Pedro Navaja_ (Pedro Knife).* Still from Rubén Blades and Willie Colón’s 1978 video Pedro Navaja (Pedro Knife).
  6. ASSATA SHAKUR, ASSATA: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY (LAWRENCE HILL BOOKS, 1987)

    Dear Assata Shakur, wherever you are, I just want to say that your autobiography was really inspiring to me. Thank you. “I believed that if the South could only be like the North, then everything would be all right. I believed that we Black people were really making progress and that the government, the president, the supreme kourt, and the Congress were behind us, so we couldn’t go wrong. I believed that integration was really the solution to our problems. . . . I believed that amerika was really a good country, like my teachers said in school ‘the greatest country on the face of the earth.’ I grew up believing that stuff. Really believing it. And, now, twenty-odd years later, it seems like a bad joke.”

    *JoAnne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur) being transported from New York’s Rikers Island to New Jersey’s Middlesex County Adult Correction Center to await trial for the murder of New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster, New York, January 29, 1976.* Photo: Frank Hurley/NY Daily News Archive/Getty. JoAnne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur) being transported from New York’s Rikers Island to New Jersey’s Middlesex County Adult Correction Center to await trial for the murder of New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster, New York, January 29, 1976. Photo: Frank Hurley/NY Daily News Archive/Getty.
  7. AMELIA PELÁEZ

    The Cuban artist’s brightly colored paintings are exemplary of the way she incorporated knowledge adopted abroad into her native cultural identity. Ever since I discovered Peláez’s paintings, they have been clearly reflected in my work. Her palette is an exquisite collection of the colors of the Caribbean.

    *Amelia Peláez, _Bandeja con frutas (Sandía)_ (Tray with Fruits [Watermelon]), 1941*, oil on canvas, 28 × 35". Amelia Peláez, Bandeja con frutas (Sandía) (Tray with Fruits [Watermelon]), 1941, oil on canvas, 28 × 35".
  8. OSWALDO LARES SOTO

    An architect who dedicated his life to studying and compiling the musical identity of Venezuela, Lares spent decades documenting different forms of expression, creating one of the most complete music and folk archives in the country. In 1974 he founded the group Convenezuela in order to disseminate Venezuela’s music and traditional popular dances. Perhaps his most important contribution was the donation of every original audio recording from 1969 to 1977, including all of his radio programs, to the National Library in Caracas.

    *Musicians perform for a traditional “Dancing Devils” celebration, Naiguatá, Venezuela, 1972.*  Photo: Oswaldo Lares Soto. Musicians perform for a traditional “Dancing Devils” celebration, Naiguatá, Venezuela, 1972. Photo: Oswaldo Lares Soto.
  9. “SOL LEWITT: A WALL DRAWING RETROSPECTIVE” (MASS MOCA, NORTH ADAMS, MA)

    I entered the museum the way I often do, not reading the wall text or the map, so that I could just find the artworks with no prior information or predetermined ideas. I stepped into one of the rooms containing Sol LeWitt’s murals and immediately knew this was the best show I would see in 2016. The exhibition is on view through 2033, so you have sixteen more years to go.

  10. YURI HERRERA, SEÑALES QUE PRECEDERÁN AL FIN DEL MUNDO (SIGNS PRECEDING THE END OF THE WORLD) (EDITORIAL PERIFÉRICA, 2010)

    I finished reading this book just in time to add it to this list. Herrera’s beautiful language transported me directly to Mexico. This book is particularly relevant and inspiring now, when some still insist on building walls rather than bridges.