In Conversation: Angel Otero and Julie Rodrigues Widholm

  • Wed 29 May 2024
  • 5 – 6 pm

On the occasion of the opening of ‘Angel Otero. That First Rain in May,’ please join us in West Hollywood for a conversation between artist Angel Otero and executive director of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), Julie Rodrigues Widholm.

In his first exhibition with the gallery in Los Angeles, Otero’s personal recollections of his upbringing in Puerto Rico are woven throughout a group of new paintings and sculptures in which technical innovation becomes the means for conveying memory through materiality. In surreal and fragmentary scenes, Otero mines his own history to make sense of the current moment, animating everyday objects and environments that are loosely based on the domestic spaces of his youth.

The exhibition’s title draws from a popular saying in Spanish, ‘La Primera Lluvia de Mayo,’ that stirred Otero’s imagination in childhood. Local lore held that the first rain in May brings luck to those drenched by it; children and adults alike bathed in these inaugural downpours, a ritual in which natural forces conjured seemingly magical ones. The presence of water pervades Otero’s work, symbolic of the artist’s psychological and material explorations self-reflection and a synthesis of ideas flow through his paintings like currents that the viewer can feel.

This event is free; however, reservations are required. Click here to register.

The conversation will be followed by the opening reception from 6 – 8 pm at Hauser & Wirth West Hollywood.

About Angel Otero
Angel Otero was born in 1981 in Santurce, Puerto Rico, where he resided until moving in 2004 to obtain his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He currently splits his time between New York and Puerto Rico. Otero was the subject of major solo exhibitions in 2017 at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, NY, and in 2016 at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. In 2009, Otero was included in the exhibition ‘Constellations’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, shortly after receiving his MFA. Otero’s work is in numerous public and private collections including The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx NY; DePaul Art Museum, Chicago IL; Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Turkey; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City MO; Long Museum, Shanghai, China; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago IL; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh NC; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York NY; Speed Art Museum, Louisville KY; and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond VA.

About Julie Rodrigues Widholm
Julie Rodrigues Widholm is the executive director of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) at UC Berkeley, where she leads the strategic and artistic vision to ignite cultural change for a more inclusive and artistic world in art and film exhibitions, collections, and programs. Prior to BAMPFA, Rodrigues Widholm was director and chief curator at DePaul Art Museum (2015–20), where she launched a multiyear Latinx Art Initiative to generate greater visibility and critical discourse for U.S.-based artists of Latin American descent in art museum collections, exhibitions and public programs. Key exhibitions and publications at DPAM include "LatinXAmerica," “Barbara Jones-Hogu: Resist, Relate, Unite,” “Brendan Fernandes: As One,” and “Julia Fish: Bound by Spectrum,” among others. As a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago (1999–2015) she focused on international contemporary art and artists from Latin America. She curated: “Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico City,” “Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks,” “Amalia Pica,”"Unbound: Contemporary Art after Frida Kahlo," “Doris Salcedo,” (co-curated with Madeleine Grynszten) and “Kathryn Andrews: Run for President.” She has authored or contributed to more than twenty-five publications. Her curatorial projects have been presented at museums across the United States, such as Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, Nasher Museum at Duke University, MIT List Visual Arts Center, and Nasher Sculpture Center, among others.