5–6 pm ET
(Image: Rayma Suprani)
In the Studio: This Must Be the Place – Rolando Peña
Watch the video: Americas Society hosted the Venezuelan-American artist on Instagram Live to discuss his practice with guest host Carla Stellweg.
Rolando Peña in conversation with Carla Stellweg, art historian.
Join us live on Instagram from your phone, or watch on YouTube after, for a series of conversations with some of the artists of This Must Be The Place: Latin American Artists in New York, 1965-1975 to bring Americas Society's Visual Arts public programs to your home. Every other Wednesday this month, artists will dialogue with our guest host Carla Stellweg, to talk about their work and practice.
About the artist
Rolando Peña was born in Caracas on October 27, 1942. Starting in 1958, he became involved in various activities related to theater, dance, and the visual arts. At the same time, he studied dance at the National Ballet of Venezuela and with Sonia Sanoja and Grishka Holguin at the Venezuelan Central University (UCV), Caracas. He attended courses at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the UCV and at the Cristóbal Rojas School of Plastic Arts, Caracas. In 1965 he founded with José Ignacio Cabrujas the Pequeña Compañía Teatro-Danza at the UCV, and with Gladys Llovelar, he organized the Integral Dance Workshop at the Ateneo de Caracas in 1972. He was a pioneer of multimedia shows, performances, and happenings in the Venezuela of the 1960s, specifically with events such as Catalepsia and Testimonio and Homenaje a Henry Miller staged in 1965 at the UCV together the playwright José Ignacio Cabrujas. In 1963 he traveled to New York City to pursue dance studies that lasted until 1972, meeting teachers such as Martha Graham, Anna Sokolow, Alwin Nikolai, Phyllip Lamhut, and Merce Cunningham. In 1966, he was invited by Allen Ginsberg to create and direct the choreography and dance for the first psychedelic multimedia show made in the United States, The Illumination of the Buddha, along with Timothy Leary. In 1966, he founded and directed the avant-garde Latin American group Foundation for the Totality together with Juan Downey, Manuel Vicente Peña, Waldo Balart, and Jaime Barrios; in collaboration with various artists, they staged around thirty happenings and performances. During the 1980s he began the development of a dense, continuous, and critical oeuvre on the topic of oil in its different manifestations and as a factor of economic illusion and power brokerage. This line of work, which continues to the present day, includes drawings, engravings, photographs, film, video, performances, installations, and large-format sculptures for public spaces. His initial exhibition on this subject was entitled "The Tower" and presented in 1980 at the Alternative Museum in New York. In 1981 he held the exhibition "Petróleo" at the Cayman Gallery , New York. His persistent interest in and exploration of the issue of oil lead him to develop the theme of global warming with his work Make Oil Green, an interactive multimedia installation for which he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009, this exhibition being held at La Caja in the Chacao Cultural Center, Caracas, in 2010.
About the guest speaker
Carla Stellweg is an independent consultant specializing in Latin American and Latinx art and artists. Throughout her career, she has worked as a museum and non-profit director, writer, editor, curator, and professor. Carla is considered a pioneer promoter and facilitator in Latin American international contemporary art. She was and continues to be instrumental in introducing many young and mid-career artists from Latin America, Latinx-U.S., Cuba and the Caribbean producing conceptual, socially-engaged art in both new and traditional media, either working in New York or from around the world.Along with the collectives Museo Latinoamericano and MICLA, many of which are exhibited in This Must Be the Place she created the artist book Contrabienal in 1971 in response to an international call to boycott the XI São Paulo Biennial in protest of the censorship and torture in dictatorial Brazil.
More digital content from Visual Arts at Americas Society:
- Check out the current exhibition This Must Be the Place: Latin American Artists in New York, 1965–1975 and read the exhibition catalogue.
- Check out the current iteration of our Flag Series: Felipe Mujica — Estrella Distante.
- Read about the previous exhibition Terence Gower: The Good Neighbour.
- Read the exhibition catalogue for Joaquín Orellana: The Spine of Music.
- Watch videos of recent events: