Partnering with the The Latinx Culture Club and the Center for Peace, Equity and Justice, Head of School Bo Lauder, an avid art collector, led recently a Latinx art discussion with faculty, staff and students. Bo showcased pieces by five Latinx artists, and unveiled Amantes, a 20x30 screen print by Dominican-American artist Tiffany Alfonseca. The print will join the School’s permanent collection and will be hung in Hunter Hall or the Townhouse building.
Bo began the discussion with a piece by Beatriz Milhazes, a Brazilian-born collage artist and painter whose vibrant large scale pieces are rooted in collage, painting, and found objects. Attendees considered her process and use of color and geometry to create layered works that weave inspiration from her homeland with European Modernism of the 1920s.
Following Milhazes piece, the group examined Untitled by Jorge Pardo, a Chromogenic color print benefitting the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS. Bo recounted his acquisition of the piece by the Cuban artist and asked students to consider his possible sociopolitical statements, longing and loss at the height of the AIDS crisis.
Bo then presented a dreamy work from Cuban photographer José Picayo before moving on to a hand carved sculpture from Oaxaca, Mexico. While appearing fragile, students learned that the colorful piece can be manipulated and transformed, similar to a toy. Students also viewed a mesmerizing motorized sculpture by contemporary Argentinian-Spanish artist, Felipe Pantone, whose work is at an “intersection of technology and fine art.”
The session ended with the crowd favorite: Amantes by 28-year-old Tiffany Alfonseca, which was unveiled to the Friends community for the first time as Bo unpacked it at the presentation. The Dominican-American artist “creates vibrant and colorful artworks that celebrate Black and Afro-Latinx diasporic culture.” Bo described the new work as “contemporary New York'' and cited its importance “at a time when gender is not necessarily a defining element.”
Students gushed over the piece, describing it as “beyond romance” and a “platonic, intimitate vision of what lovers are.” One student enthusiastically commented that the work reminded her of the caring community at Friends. Another saw a reflection of the deep devotion his father had for him growing up.
The community can look forward to seeing a selection of the works Bo presented on permanent display as part of the School’s growing and diversifying collection, which he hopes the community will enjoy and that teachers will integrate into their lessons.