Through richly hued photos and videos, Luis Gispert investigates the relationship between tradition and contemporary culture. Drawing on his urban upbringing and Cuban heritage, Gispert creates unlikely scenarios that collide such seemingly disparate worlds.
In the photographic series Cheerleaders (2001) ghetto-fabulous cheerleaders—adorned with delicate tattoos, airbrushed nails, and platinum jewelry—are arranged into fantastical poses that connect the history of painting with the baroque nature of hip-hop signifiers. The images explore cultural adaptation, and the inevitable intermingling of past and present.
In Goddess, a lip-sticked girl beatifically levitates against a chromakey green background. Her eyes are serenely closed, yet her face is burdened by over-sized hip-hop earrings. The girl gestures to the heavens with her bracelet-laden wrist like a figure from a religious painting—but also like an urban teen throwing gang signs. Gispert’s goddess sports a gold-plated gun charm where her painted counterpart would have worn a crucifix. In this work, as in the others, old school and new school co-mingle to create something in-between.
Luis Gispert was born in Jersey City, NJ in 1972. He has a BFA in film from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL (1996) and an MFA in sculpture from Yale University, New Haven, CT (2001). He has had solo exhibitions at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (2004); Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York, NY (2004); and Miami Art Central, Miami, FL (2004). Group exhibitions include the 2002 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY (2002); and Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, NY (2002). The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.