William Cordova’s this one’s 4U (pa’ nosotros) at the Boston Center for the Arts

Boston Center for the Arts, Boston

February 14, 2012

Through Sunday, April 15

Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116

Wednesday, 12–5pm
Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 12–9pm
Sunday, 12–5pm


The Boston Center for the Arts hosts the first solo exhibition in Boston for interdisciplinary artist William Cordova. Curated by Evan J. Garza, this one’s 4U (pa’ nosotros) will be on view through April 15. The show brings together new and recent works in sculpture, installation, video and collage by the Miami and New York-based artist, unmasking and remixing seemingly disparate repressed histories through thoughtful and subtle juxtapositions of familiar detritus.

The Peruvian-born artist’s work imbues displaced historical narratives with new meaning, conflating previous events with contemporary context and creating rich monuments to individuals, events, and cultural and ritual signifiers. His materials reflect the temporality of the subjects themselves, using discarded pages from books, reclaimed wood and stones, newsprint, found footage and salvaged cars to conjure intimate connections between far-reaching chronological points.

Among the works featured, the House that Frank Lloyd Wright built for Fred Hampton y Mark Clark, 2006, is a skeletal room-sized layout of the Chicago apartment where two Black Panther members were gunned down by police in a 1969 raid.

The exhibition’s titular piece, this one’s 4U (pa’ nosotros), 2010, is a multimedia sculptural installation operating as a post-Third Cinema experiment, conjuring the doctrine that filmmakers Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino originated in 1969. Conflating images of Federica García Hurtado’s 1984 film, Tupac Amaru, the last indigenous Incan leader in Peru, with images of Tupac Amaru Shakur, the late rapper gunned down in 1996, viewers are invited to explore the implied narrative between the two men.

Describing the installation, Cordova explains, “This approach brings to mind the late installation artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s piece Untitled (Alice B. Toklas’s and Gertrude Stein’s Grave, Paris), 1992, which also utilizes the concept of space and time to address past and present for those persecuted and outcast. What might seem unassuming both celebrates nature and functions as an ephemeral monument to a place, a people, and a moment forgotten or overlooked.”

“William Cordova’s practice is inextricably linked with concepts of disparity, interpretation, transformation, and re-contextualization,” says curator Evan J. Garza, Exhibitions and Public Programs Coordinator for the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Editor-at-Large for New American Paintings and co-founder of the newly established Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR). “His works create arbitrary and ephemeral juxtapositions of historical narratives and cultural iconographies that reconstruct sites, events, and understandings, and which conjure freshly rendered contexts for people and places that we were certain had all but disappeared.”

William Cordova (b. 1971) was born in Lima, Peru, raised in Miami, and currently lives and works in Miami and New York. He earned his B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996 and his M.F.A. from Yale University in 2004.

Cordova’s solo shows include: yawar mallku (royalty, abduction & exile), his first exhibition for a public space in Europe, at La Conservera Centro de Arte Contemporeáneo, Murcia, Spain (2011); buscame en el torbellino: but also time itself, Saltworks, Atlanta, GA (2011); untitled (chincanas) at LAXART, Los Angeles (2010); Laberintos, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York (2009); More than Bilingual, Fleming Museum, University of Vermont, Burlington (2009); and Moby Dick, Artpace, San Antonio (2008).

He has been featured in a number of major group shows, including: Greater New York at MoMA PS1, New York (2010); The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2010–2011); and Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008).

The BCA and Garza have partnered with the deCordova Sculpture Park + Museum in Lincoln, MA where, for an entire year, the museum will exhibit Cordova’s outdoor sculpture moby dick (for oscar wilde, oscar romero y oscar grant), 2008–2009, the bombed-out, spray-painted rear half of a reclaimed police car, a collaboration with Carlos Sandoval de Leon.
*Image above:
Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co. New York, NY.