Edra Soto: Plaza Pública

Presented as part of Counter Flags and La Residencia
Curated by Natalia Viera Salgado

For her La Residencia residency at Abrons, Chicago-based, Puerto Rican interdisciplinary artist Edra Soto presents Plaza Pública, a table custom designed for social gathering. Installed in Abrons Arts Center’s Garden, this work is an extension of Soto’s ongoing project GRAFT, which is a series of vernacular architectural interventions that take the form of immersive installations. Citing structures known as quiebrasoles and rejas found predominantly in Puerto Rico, GRAFT cites these architectural references to gesture to nostalgia and a Caribbean migratory experience.

La Residencia is a co-located residency program in partnership with Pública. A cultural space in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Pública aims to provide a platform for local and international artists to strengthen relationships between Puerto Rico and a global audience. Over the course of eighteen months, Pública Co-Director Natalia Viera Salgado will serve as Abrons’ 2020-21 Curatorial Resident and will support the development of projects at Abrons and Pública.

This program will be presented in the Abrons Amphitheater. By attending this installation, you are required to respect our Community Agreements:

• Wear a mask over your mouth AND nose at all times.
• Maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others at all times.


ABOUT

Puerto Rican born, Edra Soto is an interdisciplinary artist and co-director of the outdoor project space The Franklin. Recent venues presenting Soto’s work include Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s satellite, The Momentary (Arkansas); Albright-Knox Northland (New York); El Museo del Barrio (New York); Smart Museum (Illinois); and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Illinois). Recently, Soto completed the public art commission titled Screenhouse currently at Millennium Park. Soto has attended residency programs at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Beta-Local, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency, Headlands Center for the Arts, Project Row Houses and Art Omi among others. Soto was awarded the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, the Illinois Arts Council Agency Fellowship, and the inaugural Foundwork Artist Prize and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant among others. Between 2019-2020 Soto exhibited and traveled to Brazil, Puerto Rico and Cuba as part of the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund. Soto holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico.

Natalia Viera Salgado is a Puerto Rican independent curator and curatorial consultant based in New York City. She is also founder of :Pública Espacio Cultural, an independent art space in Alto del Cabro, Santurce Puerto Rico. Her art historical research focuses on contemporary art in relation to decolonial practices, architecture, social and environmental justice, and new media with a keen interest in hybrid and interdisciplinary projects. She has worked at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, El Museo de Barrio , Art in General, Socrates Sculpture Park and The Nathan Cummings Foundation. Viera holds a MA in Curatorial Practice from the School of Visual Arts and is currently the Assistant Curator at Americas Society, New York.


FUNDING

Plaza Pública is presented by the Abrons Arts Center as part of  La Residencia which is a collaborative residency partnership between Abrons Arts Center (New York, NY) and Pública​ (San Juan, PR) and made possible with funds provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This exhibition was also made possible with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The 2020-2021 Season at Abrons Arts Center is supported, in part, by generous grants from the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Jerome Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, and other generous Henry Street Settlement funders. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Image credit: Detail from the installation GRAFT by Edra Soto, photo by Jeanne Donegan