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Artist Michael Vasquez in "Staging the Self" - National Portrait Gallery
Interview with artist Michael Vasquez, his works are part of our exhibition "Portraiture Now: Staging the Self" on display from August 22, 2014 through April 12, 2015 ( ). “Portraiture Now: Staging the Self” features the work of David Antonio Cruz, Carlee Fernandez, María Martínez-Cañas, Rachelle Mozman, Karen Miranda Rivadeneira, and Michael Vasquez, all artists of Latino background, who make us aware of how identities are constructed and negotiated via portraiture. Seeking to relieve portraiture of its charge to memorialize individuals and convey essential aspects of their identities, they use it instead to explore the ambiguities and changes in individual character. Theatricality is central to their inquiry, as they represent narratives remembered or imagined from their own family histories, or superimpose portraits of their loved ones over themselves, looking for what is shared or unique in individuality, searching like an actor for a character. As they present themselves in a staged manner, portraiture loses its aura of certainty, and becomes an evolving map for finding oneself and others. Michael Vasquez was raised by his mother and earned a BFA from the New World School of the Arts (Miami) in 2001. Vasquez’s work, in both large-scale painting and sculptural photo assemblages, represents the society in which he grew up: the male world of the streets and gang life. The artist’s bravura paint handling is equal to its subject: dramatic, shocking, and even violent. But it is also imbued with the pathos of young men coming up, trying to find themselves amid a world of trouble, creating a community from what is at hand. Being from that life, Vasquez uses his work to race past questions of objectification and condescension to force our attention on the world of men marginalized and ignored by the American mainstream. --- Music: "Feel Good (Instrumental)" by Broke For Free From Free Music Archive Used via Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License
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3 min 41 sec
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