Jorge Soto-Sanchez, a prominent figure of the Nuyorican movement, who suffered an untimely death in 1987, left a body of work which celebrated his Puerto Rican heritage and explored the formal issues of art. He was an artist who was completely at ease with the expressionist tradition in western art and who brilliantly used this aesthetic to create his own mythology of Puerto Rican/Caribbean history. The deconstruction of official Puerto Rican history and it reconstruction in his hands is vibrant and totally urban. Even his reconstructions of European masters such as his Titianesque nudes confront the very urbanity which is the soul of his aesthetic.
The exhibition, which features seldom seen works ranging from acrylics on canvas with found objects, to pen and ink portraits on rice paper, to studies of nudes from Gray’s Anatomy on paper.
Since its founding nearly four decades ago, AHA has supported, nurtured and in many instances launched the careers of hundreds of Latino artists and arts administrators in New York City. Through its new gallery, AHA will provide a much needed venue in New York which will bring together community with artists and arts professionals to explore the role of art. The Jorge Soto-Sanchez Gallery will be a vibrant and interactive space providing a forum for expression and dialogue, while nurturing the work of artists and curators, and anchoring it with the participation of local journalists, academics, and critics who share a passion and commitment to the arts.
AHA Executive Director, Beni Matías explains, “I am honored to inaugurate the gallery with a celebration of the work of Jorge Soto-Sanchez through the curatorial lens of Mario César Romero. Mr. Romero, who was named in 2006 by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer as an El Barrio Historian, has spend over four decades as an art historian and has worked in various capacities with many cultural institutions, including El Museo del Barrio, MoMA, and El Instituto de Cultura Puertoriqueña (Puerto Rico). The Judith Rothschild Foundation awarded him with a grant for archiving, documenting and preserving Mr. Soto-Sanchez’s body of work.”
AHA gratefully acknowledges the support of the Judith Rothschild Foundation whose support underwrote the first phase of Mr. Romero’s work. In addition, AHA and the curator wish to thank the Ramos-Soto family for generously providing artwork on loan for this exhibition.
This exhibit is funded by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, The New York State Arts Council, JPMorgan Chase, University of Rutgers, and individual donors.