These days, Cordova splits his time between Miami and the various international locations where he has artist residencies. Most recently that was Berlin; in 2014 it will be California. In the meantime he organized an art auction for Arts for Learning, a local nonprofit that focuses on artistic development of underprivileged kids, that runs Nov. 4-17. It includes art from his old colleagues Gispert and Espinosa along with Los Carpinteros, Jose Bedia, Lou Anne Colodny, Glexis Novoa and Young. Cordova’s work will be in the November show at the Studio Museum of Harlem, and he and Novoa will have a duo exhibition at the Bridge Red gallery — partially run by his old mentor Robert Thiele — during Art Basel.
And he put together palimpsest, the lovely, complex group show that features a wide variety of artists — younger and older, men and women, different races and backgrounds — that opened earlier in October.
These are unassuming works at first glance, rather quiet and subdued in coloring and size. There’s a delicate ink on paper from recent New World School of the Arts grad Dona Altemus, and a fabulous mixed-media painting hanging from the ceiling from Salvatore La Rosa, a veteran artist who has been painting often in the shadows for decades.
“I want the shows [he curates] to reflect generations of talent,” Cordova says. “I want to acknowledge the pioneers, those who have been working here for years. And also the new generation, those who are not influenced by the mainstream” and the market, he explains about the choices of artists. None of the art is made specifically for this show. Cordova makes studio visits and talks with artists and eventually picks out work that will fit with a loose theme.
This time, that theme is of traces or markings of things, lives, histories that remain mostly hidden but still can be discovered. The works from the 10 artists are mostly abstract, made from an interesting assortment of materials. The “traces” are more obvious in some works than others.
While Cordova emphasizes diversity in age, gender and cultural backgrounds, he also wants to keep a continuum in the exhibits he curates (he has created several in the last couple years here, including last year’s Art Basel show at the ArtCenter/South Florida). To that end he often shows the same artists, in this case for instance he brought back Yanira Collado and her partially “redacted” lines of texts on book pages made of fabric. And Leslie Hewitt, who is also represented by his New York gallery, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., who makes photography-based sculptures that explore architectural histories.
Throughout the years, Cordova has collaborated with Cuban-born artist Novoa, and will again for the Art Basel show at Bridge Red, which opens Dec. 1. It will include video, photography, film, sculpture and site-specific painting. But “it’s also work that has rarely been seen by any public,” Cordova says. “We think it important to open up the conversation within our communities that defy categorization and the limits often set up by art markets or ourselves.”