Free Events

José Parlá Book Launch

WED, May 31, 2017
7–8:30 pm

Location: Floor One, Whitney Shop

Join us for a special book launch event to celebrate the release of José Parlá: Roots, published by Damiani Editore.

Multidisciplinary artist José Parlá will be in conversation with Storm Janse van Rensburg, Head Curator at the SCAD Museum of Art, followed by a Q&A, book signing, and reception.

Grounded in Parlá’s personal first-generation Cuban American immigrant family story and an ever-evolving practice that concerns exiled communities and their contribution to America, Roots offers a new visual relationship with its pictorially contemplative environment in order to consider connections between local history and the past, present, and future. Parlá produces a gestural landscape with juxtaposed characters, hieroglyphs, and words within paintings and sculptures that are deliberately created to serve as carriers of meaning. The titles of his works often create playful connotations as signifiers to specific places or times, thus becoming clues to decoding the work. Parlá’s grandfather was an aviation pioneer who flew between Key West and Mariel, Cuba, on a biplane made of sugarcane and bamboo, which he named Caña Brava. The Cuban aviator’s legacy continues to serve as an inspiration to the artist and his family. José Parlá spent his formative years immersed in the thriving underground art scenes of Miami, while frequently traveling to other cities, including Beijing, Havana, Istanbul, New York, Paris, Sydney, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, and San Juan, as well as to many other countries in which the multicultural environment and social processes deeply impacted his perception of urban space. In his practice, like his grandfather’s flight between the United States and Cuba in 1912, José Parlá highlights the cultural bonds between communities and the expression thereof.

José Parlá (b. 1973) has received critical acclaim for his works, which lie at the boundary between abstraction and calligraphy. Composed from layers of paint, gestural drawing, and found ephemera, his work evokes the histories of urban environments. He has held solo exhibitions at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New York, Haunch of Venison in London, Yuka Tsuruno Gallery in Tokyo, and the High Museum of Atlanta, Georgia. In 2013, Parlá was added to the collection of the British Museum in London and the Albright Knox in Buffalo, New York. Parlá lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

The event is free with RSVP. Email nicole_melanson@whitney.org if you would like to attend.