On-site 1: Carlos Motta

June 28–September 14, 2009

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center announces a new exhibition program entitled "On-site." Continuing P.S.1's long standing tradition of commissioning in-situ projects such as the "Vertical Painting" series (1997), the first incarnation of this new program will focus on wall paintings, an art form that has a long history in New York City. As part of this program, P.S.1 presents Brief History, (2005-2009), the first solo project in a New York museum by Colombian-born, New York-based artist Carlos Motta. Working primarily in photography, video and installation, Motta engages political history by employing strategies used in documentary genres and sociology in order to interrogate governmental structures, to observe the repercussions of political events, and to suggest alternative ways in which to interpret those histories.

Brief History, on view in P.S.1's Lobby space, consists of a black vinyl mural and an edition of two newspapers. This installation is part of the SOA Cycle (2005-2009) a project through which the artist examines the School of the Americas (SOA)-a Cold War institution sponsored by the U.S. government to train Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency tactics and military strategy, originally established with the aim to prevent the spread of communism in Latin America.

The large black image in the lobby titled SOA: Black and White Pain-ting # 15 (2005-09) was appropriated from a Colombian newspaper and depicts a group of soldiers advancing with guns drawn. This abstracted and de-contextualized image confronts the viewer with a war scene but does not reveal who is fighting against whom. The newspapers, which are free for visitors to take, respectively present a brief history of U.S. interventions in Latin America and a history of leftist guerrillas in the same region, both spanning the years of the Cold War.  Brief History engages a history of "enemy" ideologies.

Carlos Motta (b. Bogotá, Colombia, 1978) lives and works in New York. He has had solo shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Philadelphia (2008); Konsthall C, Stockholm (2009); Fundación Alzate Avendaño, Bogotá (2009); Smack Mellon, Brooklyn (2009) and Art in General, New York (2008); and has been included in group exhibitions such as the upcoming X Biennale de Lyon (2009); The Greenroom, CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (2008); Soft Manipulation, Casino Luxembourg (2008); 5x5 Castelló, Espai d'Art Contemporani de Castelló, Spain (2009) and Democracy in America, Creative Time, New York (2008).


  • Carlos Motta
    Brief History, 2005-2009
    Vinyl print, 17' x 9', and newsprint publications
    Photo courtesy the artist

  • Carlos Motta
    Brief History, 2005-2009
    Vinyl print, 17' x 9', and newsprint publications
    Photo courtesy the artist