The Signs Pile Up: Paintings by Pedro Álvarez
Incognegro: New Work by Mark Steven Greenfield
January 26 – March 29, 2008
Opening Reception: January 26, 7-9 pm

3800 Main Street, Riverside, CA 92501
Contact: Shane Shukis
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12-5 pm; First Thursday of the month, 6-9pm

Pedro Alvarez

The Signs Pile Up: Paintings by Pedro Álvarez

The Signs Pile Up: Paintings by Pedro Álvarez
is the first comprehensive exhibition in the U.S. on the artist and his work. Pedro Álvarez (1967-2004) was one of the leading artists who established themselves in Cuba during the 1990s, a period of time that has been called the Special Period, or Periodo Especial, a time of economic crisis after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Álvarez utilized collage and appropriation in his evocative, large-scale paintings as a postmodern technique for examining cultural identity. He often juxtaposed different time periods from Cuba, along with references to U.S. popular culture from the 50s to the 90s. After moving to Spain, his interests broadened into explorations of transnationalism, among other topics. Much of the subject matter in the paintings deals with the cultural interchange between Cuba and the U.S., Afro-Cuban history, U.S. slavery, the effects of the legalization of the U.S. dollar in Cuba in the 90s, and the role of landscape painting within a highly charged socio-political context.

The exhibition is accompanied by a bi-lingual book, co-published by UCR Sweeney Art Gallery and Smart Art Press, with essays by Tyler Stallings, Kevin Power, Antonio Eligio Fernández (Tonel), Orlando Hernández, Ry Cooder, and Tom Patchett. To order, contact r.a.m. publications + dist., inc., telephone 310.453.0043, email:, website: Exhibition organized by University of California, Riverside’s Sweeney Art Gallery, and curated by Sweeney Art Gallery Director, Tyler Stallings.
Mark Steven Greenfield

Incognegro: New Work by Mark Steven Greenfield

Incognegro includes multimedia photographs and sculptures that appropriate and represent historic minstrel images and critiques race issues that are apparent through blackface performance. “Incognegro” features new works by Greenfield made over the past four years that flirt with the line between racism and political correctness. The exhibition includes a new series of lenticular prints that play with layers of meaning by juxtaposing minstrel portraits and various patterns that can be discovered simultaneously or separately depending on the viewer’s physical relationship to each work. Exhibition originally organized by 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, CA and guest curated by Julie Joyce, Gallery Director of the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at the California State University, Los Angeles.

Sweeney First, Whitney Next
University of California, Riverside’s Sweeney Art Gallery congratulates the seven artists selected to be represented in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, March 6-June 1, 2008, who have been featured in recent exhibitions at the Sweeney. The Whitney Biennial is the most important survey of the state of contemporary art in the U.S. The inclusion of so many artists Sweeney has presented reflects the gallery’s status as being at the forefront of what is happening now in the art world.
Edgar Arceneaux
Walead Beshty
Drew Heitzler
Alice Könitz
Ruben Ochoa
Mungo Thomson
Mario Ybarra, Jr.


January 26, 5:30- 6:30PM
Artists and Curator Walkthru
UCR Sweeney Art Gallery director Tyler Stallings leads a discussion of the work of Pedro Alvarez, the work in Incognegro  with guest curator Julie Joyce and artist Mark Steven Greenfield, and is joined by guest curator Lee Tusman and artist Dan Duy Nguyen to discuss the work of DEMON SLAYER!  UCR/California Museum of Photography From 6:30-7:30, Join Roberto Fumagalli, artist for the exhibition Cuba Va, and John Hesketh, artist of Los Angeles, as they discuss their works and artistic practice.
February 7, 6-9 PM
Verbal Coliseum3
VC3 is a spoken-word poetry festival held on the pedestrian mall in historic downtown Riverside in conjunction with the city’s First Thursday ArtsWalk event. The 2007 event featured Oveous Maximus, Mark Gonzalez, and Karla Diaz. In 2008, bleachers will be set up to create an arena, and local spoken-word artists will get the chance to mix it up with new professionals during a three hour, round-robin event involving prepared performances and improvisational elements. VC3 is generously supported by the Tomas Rivera Foundation.
March 6, 6-9 PM
Panel Discussion and Film Screening
6 PM The Sweeney Art Gallery hosts a panel discussion on the history of artists who have appropriated traumatic imagery from stereotyped images of African-Americans in their work and the conflicted responses their work has received from the public. Panelists include artist Mark Steven Greenfield, UCR Assistant Professor of English Vorris Nunley, Ph.D., and Sweeney Assistant Director Shane Shukis, Ph.D. in American and African-American literature.
7PM The Sweeney Art Gallery will screen Spike Lee’s 2000 film Bamboozled about a modern televised minstrel show featuring black actors donning blackface makeup that unintentionally becomes a national hit.
February TBA
International Symposium
UCR Sweeney Art Gallery hosts: Transnational Cuba and the Myth of Isolation, a one-day symposium held in conjunction with The Signs Pile Up: Paintings by Pedro Álvarez. International art critics Kevin Power, Antonio Eligio Fernandez, and Carmen Cabrera will join UCR faculty members to explore the racial, economic, cultural, and iconographic complexities of Cuba’s identity during the Período Especial (which occurred during the 90s) through the work of one of this generation’s leading Cuban artists, Pedro Álvarez. See Sweeney Web Site for more information about panel and lecture topics, times, and locations Art from the Island Nation is generously supported by the Center for Ideas and Society

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