Los Carpinteros: Ciudad Transportable
May 20—September 3, 2001
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center is pleased to present Ciudad Transportable (Transportable City), an exhibition of portable tents made by Cuban artists' collaborative Los Carpinteros (The Carpenters). Los Carpinteros are among the most innovative and internationally acclaimed Cuban contemporary artists. Working under a name suggestive of a craftsmans' guild, Alexandre Arrechea (b. 1970), Dagoberto Rodriguez (b. 1969) and Marco Castillo (b. 1971) have been making art together since 1991 and coined their name in 1994.
Ciudad Transportable is comprised of intriguing abstractions of well-known Cuban buildings (such as the state capital) and was first shown at the 7th Annual Havana Biennial in winter 2000-2001. Set against the spectacular Havana waterfront and skyline, the work drew considerable popular and critical attention, and Los Carpinteros were awarded the UNESCO Prize for Artistic Excellence, an honor they shared with four other artists. The jury included art critic Pierre Restany and P.S.1 Director Alanna Heiss, who also organized this exhibition. The work will tour to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the São Paolo Biennial later in the year.
Installed throughout three floors of galleries and in the outdoor courtyard, Ciudad Transportable, made up of ten tents of aluminum tubing and nylon canvas, explores the experience of living in urban space. Each element recalls the shape of a building: a lighthouse, a cathedral, a factory. Los Carpinteros use various materials and techniques that refer to human labor and traditional vocations, while these tents serve as metaphors for transience in contemporary urban life. In mid-June, works in the lobby and courtyard will be removed to accommodate upcoming exhibitions, while the installation on the second floor will remain on view, further underscoring the nature of the "movable city." Outside, the courtyard will be transformed for the summer months by Lindy Roy, a Manhattan-based architect and winner of the Second Annual Museum of Modern Art/P.S.1 Young Architects Program, a competition that invites emerging architects to build projects at P.S.1's Long Island City facility.
Los Carpinteros' work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid; Ludwig Forum in Aachen; Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City; Museo Meiac in Badajoz, Spain; and the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana. They have exhibited in the 1994 Havana Biennial; 1997 Johannesburg Biennial; The New Museum of Contemporary Art; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in 1998; and in New Art from Cuba at Whitechapel, London, in 1999.
Los Carpinteros: Ciudad Transportable is made possible through the generous support of The Contemporary Arts Council and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, Angeliki Intzides, Mellville and Leila Straus, Kathleen Lingo, Barbara and Ira Sahlman, Carol Ann Schuster, Marazul Charters and Cuba Travel Services, Long Beach, CA. Special thanks to Rosa Lowinger.