The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this wide-ranging interview conducted by Michael Flanagan and Joshua Kind with Rafael Ferrer, the artist starts by discussing how he made the transition from being a percussionist to exploring the visual arts. Ferrer purposefully did not seek any formal education in art because he realized that what he “needed to record was knowledge about things, not how to make them.” For him, the whole point was in knowing that he could teach himself, and to not depend on an institutional structure. The artist explains how he drew from his personal contact with the Surrealists and their energy during what he describes as the constrictive era of American Minimalism. Ferrer makes a strong point against the American urge during the 1960s to define art as a specialized activity at the expense of embracing a continuity of genres.
Rafael Ferrer (b. 1933) grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but has been involved in several avant-garde artist groups including the Surrealist circle in Paris, and the Minimalist and Conceptual art movement in New York City. Turning to painting and installation art in the 1970s, Ferrer is among the most prominent artists of Puerto Rican descent in the United States. Works for this exhibit were lent by Ferrer’s New York gallery representative, Nancy Hoffman.