The Bronx Museum of the Arts Unveils "José Parlá: It's Yours"
Of all the artists that have emerged from the streets and into the contemporary art lexicon, José Parlá feels like an original. Even when we put him on the cover of Juxtapoz back in 2009 for our special Barnstormers issue, it was about how his expansive practice and experimentation with writing and lettering that drew us in and made us feel like this was an artist that was going to be very influential in the future. And that time seems to be now. After major exhibitions and installations around the world, Parlá just opened José Parlá: It's Yours at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, on view through August 16, 2020.
We will be having an extensive conversation with the artist in an upcoming print edition of Juxtapoz, so please be on the lookout for that. From the museum:
José Parlá: It’s Yours will be the first solo museum exhibition of the internationally renowned artist in New York City. The new paintings evoke the artist’s personal connection to the Bronx, as well as the borough’s influence, which have helped to shape how Parlá views painting history and cities around the world. José Parlá: It’s Yours is organized by guest curator Manon Slome.
While celebrating Parlá’s roots in the hip-hop energy of the Bronx, this series of paintings address the suffering caused by redlining policies, the waves of displacement imposed by gentrification, and structural racism. It’s Yours encourages viewers to question ownership in New York’s rapidly changing neighborhoods.
Parlá’s work is deeply connected to experimentation and innovation to conjure complex memory abstractions as he challenges traditional painting methods. The rich building up of surface and Parlá's signature gestural line resemble the layers of city walls, reflecting the movement and textures of neighborhoods, the marks and traces people leave behind, and the energy and challenges of the streets. In addition to large-scale paintings in the museum’s gallery, the exhibition features Parlá’s sketchbooks and drawings from age ten to seventeen as well as site specific responses in the lobby and outdoors that seek to integrate the museum with the city.