The new Calderón Ruiz gallery will open in September in the South Street Seaport area of Manhattan, with a focus on supporting Latin American artists who are too often under-represented on the market.
The 1,800-square-foot gallery, founded by market veterans Nicole Calderon and Mike Ruiz, will open on September 7 at 106 South Street with an exhibition of two Southern California artists Jaime Muñoz and Esteban Ramon Perez.
Calderon said that she sees the lack of representation and the need for it. She also added that she is confident that they can help lead conversations that will make it possible to acquire Latin American art, whether with a patron or institution.
Calderón Ruiz will be one of the few to do so in New York. Some market observers, including Arlene Davila, author of the 2020 book The Art of Latin Art, view the lack of support for Latin American artists as a form of erasure and have called for change. Davila said that they must ensure that collectors expand so that it becomes an ecosystem in which they, as the Latin community, can take responsibility.
Calderon and Ruiz said their gallery aims to create such a supporting structure.
There’s not a space that does this — and that’s exactly why we’re doing it, ”Ruiz said.
Calderon and Ruiz met about three years ago. Calderon, who founded the art agency AVFTF and was previously director of the Timothy Taylor Gallery, was director of the Tina Kim Gallery at the time, and Ruiz headed the Future Gallery he founded in Berlin for about ten years.
After working together on deals with common clients, they began talking about their experiences in the United States as Hispanics. Calderon was born in Puerto Rico and is Puerto Rican, while Ruiz was born in Texas and is Mexican American.
From these conversations, the idea of gallery opening grew. During the lockdown, they made a joint decision regarding the gallery opening.
At first, the new gallery will not represent artists, but plans to do so in the future – with a mixture, according to Ruiz, of emerging artists who provide the support young artists need, as well as more authoritative names to contextualize the program.
At the gallery opening, the two dealers wanted to present a show they felt might not be typical of New York. They reached out to Muñoz early on in discussing the new gallery, and he suggested that the exhibition be a two-person show with his childhood friend Ramón Perez.
Muñoz will exhibit four large-scale paintings and two drawings. Ramon Perez will present six paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Following the first exhibition, Calderón Ruiz will present another two-person exhibition in October with works by New York artists Daniel De Jesus and Schellin Rodriguez.
The Calderón Ruiz gallery’s November exhibition will be a group exhibition curated by Tiffany Alfonseca, featuring works by Raelis Vasquez, Kenny Rivero, Boni Ramirez, Jose Morban, Diego Espaillat, Devin Osorio, and Delvin Luga.
Other planned exhibitions include shows by Tiffany Alfonseca and Nora Maite Nieves.
Calderón Ruiz’s program aims to showcase the diversity of Latin art that the gallery’s founders consider being multifaceted. Ruiz said that this demographic group of artists is often reduced to one, but in fact, many different identities are combined into one category.
EAGLE AND SERPENT
7 SEPTEMBER – 9 OCTOBER 2021
Calderón Ruiz is delighted to present his first exhibition, The Eagle and the Serpent, a two-person exhibition featuring artists Esteban Ramón Pérez and Jaime Muñoz. The title of the exhibition “The Eagle and the Serpent” underlines the historical heritage of Mexico: the eagle, the image of the local sun god Huitzilopochtli and the serpent, reminiscent of the colonial notions of evil and sin.
As the name suggests, both artists delve into the history of the Mexican diaspora, which is a mixture of colonial iconography and Mesoamerican symbolism.
Both artists elevate everyday objects and iconography that are of great importance in their communities, using a distinct visual vocabulary that stems from the sasquatches aesthetic – the sensibility of the working class is rooted in living reality. Elements of kitsch such as cargo trucks, religious iconography, lowrider steering wheels, and a gilded pintado all visually confirm the attitude cultivated by West Coast Latinos.
The use of discarded or recycled materials in canvases, leather goods and sculptures speaks volumes about the sustainability of these communities. As part of the exhibition, Perez presents a series of new leather goods and sculptures.
Perez continues to study drawing, piercing, scarring, and skin stitching with a tattoo needle in his new work. Perez’s pendants and feathery sculptures draw inspiration from nurturing threads, needles, natural fibers, and farms.
Muñoz’s project also unfolds as a reflection of personal history and community. With a background in construction and graphic design, Muñoz conveys his compositions with a precision that prefers complexity to modesty over baroque plains, while infusing images of colonial and indigenous peoples with a working-class aesthetic.