Pia Camil: Here Comes the Sun is the activation of a Guggenheim 60th Anniversary commission at the Guggenheim Museum in the Upper East Side, NYC on Friday, November 8, 2019 with a talk with Pablo León de la Barra, Curator at Large, Latin America, at 6:30pm and the activation at 7:30pm. From $10
Here Comes the Sun
For its 60th Anniversary, the Guggenheim is reaching out to us.
The piece is a crowdsourced fabric sculpture made of over 200 t-shirts donated by Latin communities in East Harlem and Corona, Queens.
Something we see repeatedly from Latin American artists, especially women artists, is that their practice ends up being about the people, “el pueblo” in Spanish. Being an artist is a privileged life, but if you are open (like artists must be), you can’t ignore your own community.
Camil gets it. When you come to New York City, you can’t help but be impressed by the physicality of the canyons of skyscrapers and the endless waves of neighborhoods. New York City is impressive, but what makes it a great city is New Yorkers, the people.
She is making multiple references from art history.
One reference is the Guggenheim exhibition: Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today curated by Pablo León de la Barra, Curator at Large, Latin America in 2014. It’s premise was that there is one America from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and that issues in the Americas affect the entire hemisphere, not just one region.
Camil also references Brazilian artist Lygia Pape’s Divisor (Divider, Río de Janeiro, 1968) which was reenacted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017. The piece brings art to life and life to art. Pape was saying that what separates us also unites us, and that we are together for better or worse.
Instead of a large sheet with holes for human heads to poke through, Camil takes the work further into the community through community donations of t-shirts which are sown together to make the large field.
The artist seems to be saying that a family, a community, a city, a nation, and even humanity itself is only the sum of its parts. The nation itself is made up of the people and each of us has a role to play. It’s almost the opposite of the rugged individualism that seems to dominate the times.
It’s been a rough last few years for Latinos in the United States. In the end, the Latin characteristics of strong families and a strong work ethic will overcome. These are characteristics we want in our countrymen and women.
“Here comes the sun (doo doo doo doo), Here comes the sun, and I say, It’s all right.” George Harrison, The Beatles, 1969
Here comes the sun. The light is you and me, and all of us together.
Pia Camil is Mexican contemporary artist. She was born in Mexico City, did her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She has exhibited around the world including at the New Museum.
Camil’s practice explores connections between the urban landscape, modernism and commercialism, which is essentially urban life today.
Camil currently lives and works in Mexico City. She is represented in the United States by Blum & Poe.