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Pérez Art Museum Miami Announces José Parlá: Homecoming, Opening Fall 2024

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is thrilled to announce a forthcoming exhibition, featuring a new series of never-before-seen works and a site-specific mural, by multidisciplinary artist José Parlá, opening November 14, 2024. Celebrating the spirit of resilience and returning to one’s roots, Homecoming is a testament to the profound connection between personal history, art, and creative expression.


Portrait of José Parlá. Photo by Lazaro Llanes


“José Parlá’s practice blends and translates a myriad of cultures, resulting in a colorful narrative,” said PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans. “We’re excited to present this collaboration between artist and curator Maritza M. Lacayo, two Miamians in their own right, as we know it will deeply resonate with our community and our audiences.”


Born in Miami to Cuban émigré parents, Parlá was raised between mainland United States and Puerto Rico amidst the vibrant Caribbean and Latin American cultural landscapes of the 1970s and 1980s. Gathering inspiration from various cultural carriers (including Cuban, hip-hop, and reggae music), Parlá embarked on an artistic expedition—receiving the Scholastic Art Award, earning a scholarship to study at Savannah College of Art and Design, immersing himself in the community of New World School of the Arts, and ultimately moving to New York City, where his practice found a global stage with multiple international exhibitions.


Homecoming is deeply rooted in my personal journey, shaped by the rich history of my origins. In this new series, each painting is created as an homage to my native home of Miami,” said José Parlá. “By using a process of layering ink, paint, plaster, and collaged posters that were once posted on the city's walls, each painting bears the imprints of the region’s displacement, immigration, adaptation, and the transformation of words into gestures, made using the names of localities, countries, and its peoples. These abstract gestural marks become indelible echoes in the tapestry of historical psychology and geography, serving as a poignant universal narrative.”


Homecoming will be an elaborate, two-part exhibition—and a radical departure from the traditional use of space in a museum. For the first portion, visitors will have the unique opportunity to observe Parlá’s dance-like technique in real time as he paints a site-specific mural. The second portion will see the museum gallery transformed and converted into Parlá’s studio—a room full of paint-covered tables, a lively vinyl Cuban-inspired records collection, and decades of Parla’s archival memorabilia. In addition to the completed mural and studio recreation, the exhibition will also feature a number of all-new works that Parlá created upon his return to painting. The result is a process-focused exhibition highlighting an expressionistic painter who conscientiously engages with issues relating to Cuban (and broader diasporic) identity.


The exhibition not only represents a homecoming to Miami but also marks a return to himself and his practice. In 2021, Parlá contracted a life-threatening case of COVID-19—he was hospitalized and endured a four-month coma during which he suffered a stroke and significant brain bleeding. Homecoming will present new and existing works that Parlá created upon his return to his studio.


“José Parlá’s practice and work appeals to a much broader audience than just the committed museumgoer,” said PAMM Associate Curator Maritza M. Lacayo. “Homecoming celebrates an artist whose artistic career began in Miami while also reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic. As a child of immigrants and having moved throughout his entire life, Parlá’s personal story will also echo those of our Miami community.”


José Parlá: Homecoming is set to open on November 14, 2024.


MORE ON JOSÉ PARLÁ


José Parlá (b.1973) creates paintings and multidisciplinary works based on his interest in hybrid forms of abstraction. He draws inspiration from various mediums including music, calligraphy, dance, and the decay of urban architecture and advertisements. His works poetically challenge ideas about language, politics, identity, and how we define places and spaces. Parlá’s relationship with mark-making is physical and textural, incorporating the body’s gestures into a painterly stream of consciousness composed of areas of addition, erasure, and layering that challenge the status quo of visual culture.


Parlá was born to Cuban parents in Miami, Florida, and lives and works out of Brooklyn, New York. He studied painting at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia; the New World School of the Arts, Miami, Florida; and Miami Dade College, Miami, Florida.


Solo exhibitions of Parlá’s work have been organized at institutions such as The Bronx Museum, New York (2022); Gana Art Center, Seoul (2022); Istanbul’74, Istanbul (2019); Hong Kong Contemporary Art (HOCA) Foundation, Hong Kong (2019); Neuberger Museum of Art, New York (2018); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah (2017); Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), New York (2017); Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas (2016); High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2015); amongst others.


Public arts projects include permanent large-scale commissions including Far Rockaway Writer’s Library, a collaboration between Snøhetta and Parlá, New York (2023); Amistad América, University of Texas, Austin (2018); One Union of the Senses, ONE World Trade Center, New York (2015); Nature of Language, in collaboration with Snøhetta, Hunt Library at North Carolina State University, Raleigh (2013); Diary of Brooklyn, Barclays Center, New York (2012); Gesture Performing Dance, Dance Performing Gesture, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), New York (2012); The Bridge, and The Names that Live and Sometimes Fade While Time Flies, Concord City Place, Toronto (2010).


Select group exhibitions and biennials include The Culture: Hip Hop & Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (2023); Brooklyn Abstraction, Four Artists, Four Walls, Brooklyn Museum, New York (2022); Reflections, Gana Art, Seoul (2019); Glasstress, Fondazione Berengo Art Space, Venice (2019); Beyond the Streets, New York (2019); Yasiin bey: Negus, Brooklyn Museum, New York (2019); Victors for Art, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (2017); Post No Bills: Public Walls as Studio and Source, Neuberger Museum of Art, New York (2016); Seeing, Saying, Images and Words, Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, North Carolina (2016); Wrinkles of the City: Havana Cuba: JR & José Parlá, the Havana Biennial, Havana (2012); amongst others.


Parlá's work is in several public collections including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Miami; The British Museum, London; Buffalo AKG Art Museum, New York; El Espacio, Miami; POLA Museum of Art, Japan; The Neuberger Museum of Art, New York; and The National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana.


Parlá has received numerous awards, including the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship (2023), the Hirshhorn Museum Artist x Artist honoree (Hank Willis Thomas x José Parlá) (2023), National Young Arts Foundation Award (2022), Americans for the Arts National Art Award (2022), Americans for the Arts Public Art Network (2019), Miami Dade College Alumni Hall of Fame Award inductee (2016), Brooklyn Arts Council honoree (2014), Institute of Contemporary Arts(ICA) London – Grand Prize (2013), Heartland Film Festival - Best Documentary Short and Best U.S. Premiere for Wrinkles of the City, Havana (2013) Scholastic Art Award.


By ML Staff. Courtesy of PAMM


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