Thursday, April 18, 2024

Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

By Patricia Frischer

Joscelyn Gardner - the braids and slave collar and
plant inducing abortion of an Afro-Caribbean women

In 60’s and 70‘s, the British art world labeled Caribbean art with the cliché of tropical foliage and vibrant color. But, of course, Ancient native Caribbean art was about the creation myths, stories of animals gods and human heros with body ornaments, wood and rock  carvings and paintings and lots of ceramics both pottery and sculpture. Pre-colonial Caribbean art is documented at its best between 1000 and 1492.  

By the 1990’s, there was not exactly a return to those ancient ideas except in how those themes represent one of the major goals of artists: definition of self within the current time.   

This brings us to the current Museum of Contemporary Art’s exhibition in La Jolla: Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora1990s–Today showing from April 18 through July 21, 2024. 

This exhibition demonstrates with the selection of 24 artists, who are either living in the Caribbean or have ancestry there, that they have moved long past the jolly image of bright flowers and colorful birds.  

The wall labels use any number of metaphors to try to relate the work to each other in a contemporary dialogue in five main categories. Territories refer to bodies and identity changing through migration. Formal Rhythms draws attention to the movement through space as well as the movement caused when materials, techniques  and subjects change. Landscapes brings up resource exploitation and colonialism.  Exchange challenges the geopolitical relations with Arab, Asia and America. Image Making reminds us of historical references. These works can easily slide between these labels so it is important to looks at the individual works.

Álvaro Barrios - blue for the sea

Álvaro Barrios - red for violence

Lorraine O'Grady

Lorraine O'Grady - a palm tree made of pine leaves

Peter Doig

Daniel Lind-Ramos - a beach warrior

Engel Leonardo - faceless goldmining dolls

Maksaens Denis - spirit of the dead and guardian of cemeteries

Ebony G. Patterson

Suchitra Mattai

Suchitra Mattai (detail)

Suchitra Mattai (detail)

Alia Farid - mosque inspired kilim carpet

María Magdalena Campos-Pons - a walk through the sugar fields...spears as the sharp leaves, 

María Magdalena Campos-Pons (detail)

Julien Creuzet

Julien Creuzet - metal floor silhouettes

Working in cities across the globe, the exhibition’s artists also include Candida Alvarez,  Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker, Christopher Cozier, Jeannette Ehlers, Tomm El-Saieh, Rafael Ferrer, Denzil Forrester, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ana Mendieta, Keith Piper, Freddy Rodríguez, Zilia Sánchez, and Adán Vallecillo.  

As explained in the press release,  “Forecast Form challenges conventional ideas about the region and reveals the Caribbean as a place defined by constant exchange, displacement, and movement rather than by geography, language, or ethnicity.” It is organized by Associate Curator Isabel Casso, who worked on the exhibition at MCA Chicago, where the exhibition originated. Casso said “MCASD is proud to be the final and only West Coast venue…”  

Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora  at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
April 18 through July 21,

Public and Members’ Programs 
May 25, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Lecture on the Move: Dr. Jade Power-Sotomayor and Maru Lopez
July 13, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. — With Guavas In Your Eyes Workshop: Natasha Kozaily
July 18, 6 – 7 p.m. — Rebellion & Movement: Bomba Liberté
Public tours: Every Saturday at 2 p.m. Free with paid admission.

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