Press Release Firelei Báez: Bloodlines
For immediate release
Friday, December 9, 2016
The Andy Warhol Museum announces Firelei Báez: Bloodlines, opening February 17, 2017. Báez, born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, creates large-scale paintings and drawings that explore gender, race, and the history of social movements in the Unites States and the Caribbean. The exhibition includes four new works exhibited for the first time in a museum. It is on view though May 21, 2017.
“Firelei Báez is a contemporary force. Her work challenges the viewer to think critically about historical systems of oppression still at work in the present day,” says Jessica Beck, The Warhol’s associate curator of art. “The work is beautiful and sumptuous, but the beauty is overlaid with subversive messages about race and power. The women depicted in her work, although mythical, are grounded in the present and adorned with contemporary and historical patterns of resistance.”
Báez probes the ambiguity of race with works like Can I Pass? Introducing the Paper Bag to Fan Test for the Month of June, which shares the complexities of identity politics at work in much of Andy Warhol’s practice.
Báez explores Caribbean histories, folklore, and diasporic narratives from a female viewpoint, revealing histories that are not always highlighted in mainstream culture. The labor intensive, delicate, and colorful works depict textiles, hair designs, and body ornaments that showcase female subjects as strongly connected to both a past and present.
In several paintings women are featured in elaborate tignons, eighteenth century headdresses imposed by law for women of color in New Orleans and a tradition that although imposed as a form of oppression became, through elaborate patterning and design, a symbol of power and beauty. Also featured in several works are Azabache, gemstones carved into fists and worn in Latin American cultures as protection from evil spirits, and panthers, a symbol claimed by the Black Panthers, the African American revolutionary party founded in the 1960s.
Bloodlines features seventeen works, including four new works that are exhibited in a museum for the first time. Báez will create a site-specific artwork in the exhibition space in The Warhol’s second floor galleries. Created with students from the local community, the wall painting points to Báez’s belief in painting as ritualistic and ultimately communal.
Accompanying the exhibition is the catalogue Firelei Báez: Bloodlines, published by The Pérez Art Museum Miami, with an introduction by the museum’s Director Franklin Sirmans, an essay by Assistant Curator María Elena Ortiz, an interview with Naima Keith, and a contribution by writer Roxane Gay. It will be available in The Warhol Store.
Firelei Báez was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, and lives and works in New York. She received a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Cooper Union School of Art and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has had solo exhibitions at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and at Pérez Art Museum Miami, as well as residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts, the Joan Mitchell Center, the Fine Arts Work Center, Lower East Side Printshop, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace. She received the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors award, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman award in painting, the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting, and the Chiaro Award from the Headlands.
Exhibition-related programs will be announced at a later date.
Firelei Báez: Bloodlines is organized by Pérez Art Museum Miami Assistant Curator María Elena Ortiz. The Pittsburgh presentation is coordinated by Jessica Beck, The Warhol’s associate curator of art. The exhibition and its presentation at the Pérez Art Museum Miami was made possible by BNY Mellon with additional support from Chloé.
The Warhol receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; and The Heinz Endowments. Further support is provided by the Allegheny Regional Asset District.
The Andy Warhol Museum
Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the place of Andy Warhol’s birth, The Andy Warhol Museum holds the largest collection of Warhol’s artworks and archival materials and is one of the most comprehensive single-artist museums in the world. The Warhol is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
Established in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. The museums reach more than 1.4 million people a year through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.
Credit and copyright
Firelei Báez, Sans-Souci (This threshold between a dematerialized and a historicized body), 2015, collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, museum purchase with funds provided by Leslie and Greg Ferrero and Rose Ellen Meyerhoff Greene, photo by Oriol Tarridas Photography.