Splendid Little War

Angel Rodríguez-Díaz

Exhibition: Dec 10, 1998 – Jan 17, 1999

At Artpace, Rodriguez-Diaz presents two visual environments exploring issues of colonialism and representation titled “Splendid Little War.” In the gallery the artist has painted the walls black and showcases two large-scale, chalk-drawn murals. In the tradition of political muralists, Rodriguez-Diaz collages images drawn from diverse historical and cultural sources, including maps of The Caribbean and Mexico, The Virgin of Guadalupe, the Taco Bell Chihuahua, Uncle Sam, and the Alamo. A curtain of pennies divides the space from the adjacent courtyard. The artist asks that visitors leave pennies in the soldier helmets in the gallery space to benefit San Antonio’s Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.

On the Exterior, Rodriguez-Diaz used a façade of ArtPace’s building as a canvas for an enormous electric mural. A self-portrait, constructed of thousands of colored light bulbs, flashes the message “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t.” This experimental public art work injects accessibility and humor into a social commentary on cultural history and representation. Acknowledging the centennial anniversary of signing the Treaty of Paris, the piece was illuminated every evening at 6:00 P.M.

-Alexander Gray


Angel Rodríguez-Díaz

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Angel Rodriguez-Diaz was born in 1955 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He received his B.F.A. from the University of Puerto Rico and his M.F.A. from Hunter College in New York City. Rodriguez-Diaz has exhibited works throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, including solo shows at Intar Gallery, New York; Oller/Campeche Gallery, New York; Ollantay Center for the Arts, Queens New York; Mendelson Gallery, Pittsburg, PA; and the Museum of Fine Arts, San Juan, Puerto Rico. His work has been included in numerous group shows, including the San Antonio Museum of Art; Blue Star Art Space; San Antonio, TX; Museo del Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico; El Museo del Barrio, New York; Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, DC; Mexican Fine Arts Center, Chicago IL; Art in General, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York. He has been an artist-in-residence at Arts International, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Yaddo.
Rodriguez-Diaz is an accomplished painter who has pursued the social and political boundaries of portraiture since the 1980’s. His paintings celebrate the diversity of individuals through the use of masterful brushstrokes and dynamic colors. In recent years, Rodriguez-Diaz has experimented with aspects of installation, using found objects and injecting a more direct social content into his work.

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