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Cuchifritos Gallery Project Space

120 Essex Street, New York
Tuesday - Sunday: 12 - 6 pm




Nobutaka Aozaki is working at the Essex Market. Extended residency at Cuchifritos
Sep 29-Oct 22
As a culmination of his 6-month residency at Artists Alliance Inc, the former LES Studio Program artist, Nobutaka Aozaki, will continue to work on his ongoing projects, using Cuchifritos Gallery as his studio. While working, the gallery-turned-studio will be open to the public. Visitors are invited to meet with the artist and discuss his developing projects, some of which began during his residency at AAI and are inspired by the LES neighborhood. About the proposal, Nobutaka said The works I do demand more time and I hesitate to accelerate the process. I would like to propose an alternative idea for Cuchifritos Instead of having an exhibition, I would like to use the gallery as a studio and continue to work. The gallery/studio is open to the public while I am at work there. This way I can continue to develop works that I like and further explore the neighborhood. Also, by being there, I can interact with general public. I am interested in Cuchifritos architectural character and location inside the Essex Market as my work often questions the distinction between commodity and art, and the systems and exchanges surrounding them. I hope this idea integrates well with the concept and context, the hybridity of Cuchifritos. It would be a special opportunity for me to work within the market along with the various vendors. Nobutaka Aozaki is a New York-based artist born in Kagoshima, Japan. He brings a wry and playful approach to his multifaceted practice, often focusing on the transactional nature of both art and life in the city. His work frequently combines performance and sculpture, developing from everyday interactions with people on the street. He completed his MFA at Hunter College in 2012. He has been awarded the Artist Files Grant from A Blade of Grass Foundation, the Artists Fellowship from New York Foundation for the Arts, and C12 Emerging Artist Award from Hunter College. Recent exhibitions include Transportation, ISCP, New York, Crossing Brooklyn, Brooklyn Museum, New York Queens International 2013, Queens Museum, New York What is the Real Value of Wealth, Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia Tina, SPIKE, Berlin and Where Do We Migrate To?, Varmlands Museum, Karlstad, Sweden Statements, Tokyo. He has participated in the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Queens Museum Studio Program, the Artist in the Marketplace AIM program at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Center For Book Arts workspace residency program, and LMCC Swing Space residency program. His work has been recently discussed in Spike Art Quarterly, The New York Times, The Atlantic Cities, The Huffington Post, ArtAsiaPacific, and Cabinet Magazine. Artists Alliance Inc. is 501c3 not for profit organization located on the Lower East Side of New York City within the Clemente Soto Vlez Cultural and Educational Center. Cuchifritos Gallery and the LES Studio Program are supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Cuchifritos Gallery programming is made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation and individual supporters of Artists Alliance Inc for their continued support. Special thanks go to our team of dedicated volunteers and interns, without whom this program would not be possible.

Bitter Bites: Tracing the Fruit Market in the Global South
Oct 27-Oct 27
Bitter Bites: Tracing the Fruit Market in the Global South examines the history, geography, and economy of the fruit market in the contemporary global scene, and reflects on how this phenomenon has shaped cultural identities. Fruits, both natures bounty and a man-cultivated good, are the epitome of todays neocolonial dependencies, especially in relation to excessive consumerism. The insistence for cheap produce year-round has reinforced and exacerbated the divide between first world and third world and how consumers rarely understand that our cheap bodega fruits are the result of these colonial based economies. Often regarded as an exotic commodity, fruits have been considered a symbol of the Other, a metaphorical representation of the people who harvest the fields, created by those who demand the lands products. This exhibition addresses a series of global networks and everyday experience concerns that approach the topic from different perspectives, mediums, and visual languages through the work of three artists: Daniel Santiago Salguero, Claudia Claremi and Rajaa Kahlid. The fruit market is often under recognized today, yet it is also highly visible. In New York City, for instance, one can find fruit carts on almost every street corner regardless of the differing character, ethnicity and socioeconomic makeup of each borough. Yet, how these crops manage to reach our tables is often unknown to most consumers. According to a recent New York Times article, 20 million bananas are distributed around New York City each week, coming mostly from Ecuador. Not only is the global environmental footprint of such consumerist phenomenon dramatic, but it also transforms the local landscapes, social structures, and even traditions, of the fruit supplier communities abroad. Moreover, these inequitable power relations also trigger sexist, racist, and classist misrepresentations of those living in the worlds warmest regions - think of Carmen Mirandas popular ad for Chiquita Banana. Bitter Bites: Tracing the Fruit Market in the Global South reveals the economic, political, and cultural implications of the fruit trade today. The show has a transnational scope that mirrors that of the global fruit market, including artists from Bogot, Madrid, and Dubai, whose works navigate myriad contexts ranging from Southeast Asia to the Americas. The pieces in this exhibition present and interrogate the problems of the fruit market in both the domestic space and the public sphere, surveying the evolving shape of this reality, beginning in the colonial times until today. Fruits Tunnel, a site-specific installation created by Colombian artist Daniel Santiago Salguero, is comprised of the accordion-shaped assemblage of different brightly coloured papers with abstract cut-out spaces throughout their centers. Salguero metaphorically compares the journey that millions of migrants undergo in order to enter the United States with the most common routes of fruit transport: from South to North, and from East to West. While the migrants experience is usually performed clandestinely, the fruits itinerary is explicitly shown here in the brightly coloured paper. In The Memory of Fruits, Cuban-Spanish artist Claudia Claremi creates an unorthodox archive of forgotten fruits from Puerto Rico. She gathers the testimonies of several San Juaneros in order to recuperate the memory of local fruits that are no longer cultivated in Puerto Rico in favor of those preferred by the international import and export market. In this work, not only does the artist call attention to contemporary manifestations of economic, territorial, and cultural colonialism but she also restores part of the collective identity of Puerto Ricans, as these fruits are, literally, part of their memories. In Mango Story, a new work by Rajaa Khalid, the Emirati artist reflects on the history of mangoes as an emblem of soft power, and on their use as a diplomatic gift in the international relations between Southeast Asia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Establishing a parallel between diplomatic gestures and branded corporate gifts, the artist has created a series of mango-shaped paperweights in which the tenderness of the fruit imagery contrasts with the implacable rigidity of the office supply. Bitter Bites: Tracing the Fruit Market in the Global South illuminates how international exchanges involving fruit today, either in the form of diplomatic gifts or as products of the year-long demand for tropical fruits in cold climates, reproduce worldviews arising at the origins of Western modernity that continue to jeopardize the ways of life of the so-called Other.