‘May Contain Moving Parts’: SVA And El Museo del Barrio Feature Artists of The Caribbean Diaspora

El Museo del Barrio

January 10, 2018
Modern artwork consisting of metal and wires.
An art installation with neon lights, glass sculptures and clouds.
Graciela Cassel, Cloud Machine 2, Dreaming ocean-clouds, Dreaming clouds, 2016, installation view. From "elmuseo@SVA: May Contain Moving Parts."

The phrase "may contain moving parts" is normally used as a cautionary statement in engineering applications, but the motto is turned on its head for an artistic look at mechanisms and systems in "elmuseo@SVA: May Contain Moving Parts," an exhibition co-presented by SVA's MFA Fine Arts Department and El Museo del Barrio, a New York City museum dedicated to the artistic landscape of Latino, Caribbean and Latin American cultures. The exhibition features artists—many of them SVA alumni—who explore materiality by transforming objects, familiar sounds and images in unexpected ways. It is on view Saturday, January 13, through Saturday, February 3, at the SVA Chelsea Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor.

Brain shoes
Willie Cole, Ashley Bikerton, 2016. From "elmuseo@SVA: May Contain Moving Parts."

“Elmuseo@SVA: May Contain Moving Parts” brings together artists Graciela Cassel (MFA 2014 Fine Arts), Willie Cole (BFA 1976 Media Arts), Franco Frontera (MFA 2016 Fine Arts), Jon Gomez (MFA 2017 Fine Arts), Jonas Lara (MFA 2012 Fine Arts), Arnaldo Morales, Marilyn Narota (MFA 2016 Fine Arts), Aya Rodríguez-Izumi (MFA 2017 Fine Arts) and Jenny Santos (MFA 2012 Fine Arts), all of whom work in a variety of mediums.

Blue and red streamers are hanging on a sign that says radical color.
Aya Rodríguez-Izumi, untitled, 2017. From "elmuseo@SVA: May Contain Moving Parts."

Videos by Graciela Cassel render the urban landscape as a series of symmetrical, geometric forms visible through lights that pierce the hazy darkness of the night sky. Willie Cole's inventive sculptures repurpose colorful women’s shoes in the guise of oversized masks. Franco Frontera's video pieces play with prerecorded sounds but also involve the artist's own drumming, engaging with historic instruments and sounds as they are manipulated electronically. Jon Gomez uses three channels to illustrate varied perspectives on the crossing of the U.S.-Mexico border. The haunting sound works of Jonas Lara combine repetitive clips and collages of chanting, heavy bass, guitar or keyboard.

A tire portion of a an automobile part.
Arnaldo Morales, Longliner, 2017. From "elmuseo@SVA: May Contain Moving Parts."

Arnaldo Morales uses found machine parts, discarded tools and hydraulic systems to put his mechanical works into motion. Marilyn Narota's performance work explores female silence through the presence of the body and visceral references to beauty. Aya Rodríguez-Izumi's works on paper use familiar words combined with formal and linear patterns. Jennifer Santos creates installations in which viewers are invited to participate, either through moving the assembled objects or by climbing toward a mirror and taking in their own reflection.

"Elmuseo@SVA: May Contain Moving Parts" is a co-presentation by SVA's MFA Fine Arts Department and El Museo del Barrio. The exhibition will be on view from Saturday, January 13, through Saturday, February 3, at the SVA Chelsea Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor. Admission is free. A reception will be held at the gallery on Thursday, January 18, from 6:00 to 8:00pm. For more information, click here.

A man laying in the desert.
Jon Gomez, No. 6-I am on my own, 2016. From "elmuseo@SVA: May Contain Moving Parts."