Oct 16, 2012

NEW Acquisition: Rafael Ferrer's "Magallanes"

Rafael Ferrer, Magallanes, crayon and acrylic paint on USAF Operational Navigation Chart, 1972. On view in the Security Corridor, near Walt Kuhn's Trio.

Rafael Ferrer in his backyard studio in New York (image source).
As you're walking through the Security Corridor to check out the hallway of recent acquisitions, you may notice something a little strange about Rafael Ferrer's choice of medium. No, not the crayon, or acrylic paint... but the USAF Operational Navigation Chart!

Operational Navigation Charts are the biggest scale map used by pilots. 1 inch = 13.7 nautical miles, or 16 statute miles -- this is a scale of 1 to 1,000,000!

Now draw your attention to the title... does it remind you of a famous Portugese explorer, perhaps by the name of Ferdinand Magellan, or his Spanish name is Fernando de Magallanes. Magellan obviously did not have a plane like our neighbors over at the Air Force Academy, but he is most famous for leading the first naval circumnavigation of the world (he died before it was actually completed, being killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines).

Rafael Ferrer with 3 Leaf Piece installation,
performed at the Castelli Warehouse in
New York in Winter 1968 (image source).
Ferrer's American-born, English-speaking parents raised him in Puerto Rico. Ferrer rejects a strict association with Latino culture, saying his art just has "an accent, one influenced by a Latin temperament."

He studied at Staunton Military Academy (was located in Staunton, N.Y. until it closed in 1976) and Syracuse University, but eventually returned to Puerto Rico to finish college. In Puerto Rico, he studied with Spanish Surrealist Eugenio Granell and even traveled to Paris with Granell to meet Andre Breton, the author of The Surrealist Manifesto.

In the 1960's, Ferrer's interest in process art began with his performance piece, 3 Leaf Piece. He continued to reference the concept of voyages throughout his installation pieces, similar to the theme of our new acquisition. In 2010, El Museo del Barrio featured the first large-scale retrospective of then 77-year-old Ferrer's variety of works.

“Ethnicity was born with the social upheavals of the 1960s-1970s. Hispanics and Latinos, i.e., individuals from any of the South or Central American republics, joined African-Americans, women, and gay, lesbian, and transgender minorities in the struggle for equal rights and respect.”

Stop by the galleries to check out this new acquisition, along with the EIGHT other exhibitions we have going on! Below is a video of a Penn State interview with Ferrer.

Tues. - Sun. | 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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