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.
The author, Joshua Kind, contends that Ferrer may be included in the category of contemporary artists interested in naïve style forms. In assemblage art, which is often deliberately amorphous, such qualities as the artist’s qualms are hidden from the creator himself and the public. But in Ferrer’s two-dimensional works, there is far less ambiguity about style, which appears to be naïve. To have been born in Puerto Rico, the author further argues, is to have absorbed the cultural awareness of Hispanic America—South, Central, and the Caribbean—which is marked by the psychological and intellectual violence of the pull between what seems to be mythical and dispossessed (i.e., the American Indian), and the urbane outlook imported by the Old World. In the Caribbean, where Ferrer comes from, that view is complicated by the African heritage that is intertwined with what is Native and European influence. In an attempt to pinpoint the melancholy power of freedom while being in despair, Ferrer’s “primitivism,”—as Kind calls it—is a kind of both sad reality and frustrated aspiration.
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.