Aperture Foundation and Instituto Cervantes, a non-profit organization that contributes to the cultural advancement of Spanish-speaking countries, have partnered to celebrate and interpret the art of flamenco through photography in two concurrent exhibitions opening February 4 and 5 at Aperture Gallery and Instituto Cervantes respectively, just prior to the launch of the 10th annual New York Flamenco Festival on February 11. Pastora Galván, an important new figure in flamenco dance will perform at the Aperture opening. Flamenco singer La Tremendita and guitarist Paco Cruz will perform at the opening at Instituto Cervantes. Both shows will remain on view until April 1, 2010.
This exhibition is coproduced by Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo and Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, with the collaboration of Centro Andaluz de Flamenco, and is made possible thanks to the generous support of Antonio Banderas Fragrances by PUIG. The exhibition debuted at the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Sevilla in April 2009 and is curated by José Lebrero Stals.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Instituto Cervantes, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo and Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales to make possible these exhibitions about the art of flamenco as seen through the lens of the camera,” said Juan García de Oteyza, Executive Director, Aperture Foundation. “Aperture has long celebrated the intersection of photography and other art forms, including publishing the critically acclaimed photographic biography of dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham.”
“We are honored to partner with Aperture, an institution known and respected worldwide for nearly sixty years for its stellar contribution to the field of photography,” said Eduardo Lago, Executive Director, Instituto Cervantes, New York. “These exhibitions salute the photographers, from masters to emerging innovators, who have documented flamenco over the past one hundred and fifty years. We hope that they will inspire and educate visitors, from serious flamenco fans to aficionados of dance and Spanish culture.”
Whether as social phenomenon or musical expression, flamenco has been of enduring interest and inspiration to photographers from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. While some photographers from outside of Spain went in search of it or encountered it by chance, to others flamenco and its practitioners are an essential, if not innate, aspect of their cultural heritage and their photographic work. This artistic form—also considered a way of life or being—has generated fascination in cultured urban circles, remaining one of the most secret, mysterious, and seductive manifestations of twentieth-century European popular art. Marginalized and ostracized, the world of flamenco took root in an economically backward region of southern Europe, culturally peripheral and marked by a history of authoritarianism and local despotisms. This exhibition of more than one hundred and fifty years of images, frequently taken by foreigners rather than Spaniards, is an extensive survey of how photographers of different eras have approached the universe of flamenco, whether documenting the dance itself, gestures that recall it, or the culture that is developed around it.
This exhibition in two parts features such artists as Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Brassaï, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Francesc Catalá Roca, Inge Morath, Martin Parr, Man Ray, and Miguel Rio Branco.