La ciudad en las nubes is going places! This time my series was shorlisted along other 31 incredible projects for the 7th edition of the PhMuseum 2023 Women Photographers Grant. Our work is in consideration for €10,000 in cash, and will be projected at Photo Vogue Festival 2023 (Milan, 16-19 November). The jurors for this edition are Anna Goldwater Alexander, Director of Photography at WIRED, Bindi Vora, Visual Artist and Curator at Autograph, Holly Roussell, Curator at UCCA & Guest Curator at Paris Photo Curiosa and Taous Dahmani, Curator of Louis Roederer Discovery Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles & The Eyes Magazine Editor. I feel very happy and grateful for this recognition. You can see all the selected projects here: https://phmuseum.com
Very pleased that my latest project Terra obscura got selected as a Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 series. https://www.photolucida.org/top-50/claudia-ruiz-gustafson. This project was completed at my residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2022.
Grateful for these generous comments from the jurors:
“Clean and striking when it needs to be to immediately communicate the message. And the message is quite clear without going overboard. I find images 8 and 9 to be quite daring—taking on two of the pillars of photographic history is quite brave. And welcomed very much. Thank you for submitting. Beautiful work. I look forward to seeing what else you make.”
“Your work demonstrates a remarkable talent for constructing layered and complex visual images, working with photography in novel ways. As you continue to evolve as an artist, I encourage you to embrace even bolder experimentation. It's through pushing the boundaries of photography that you can often discover the most remarkable and innovative forms of artistic expression. I'm excited to see how your work will evolve as you explore synergies with other creative practices, such as drawing, collage, and printmaking. These interdisciplinary connections have the potential to take your art to new and exciting heights. Please know that your contributions to the world of art and culture are highly valued, and I look forward to witnessing your continued growth and success as an artist.”
“These works combine fine calibrations and aggressive collisions, and -- powerfully -- not just of visual elements but of meanings, histories, and representations. I've long been a fan of Robert Heinecken, an influential artist and educator in Los Angeles where I live. Here is one of Heinecken's comments: "I am interested in what I term gestalts; picture circumstances which bring together disparate images or ideas so as to form new meanings and new configurations." As you state in your narrative, the camera was another weapon in the wars of domination. It seems appropriate to take these images and turn them into shouts for liberation because, in our age, whoever controls the images controls the culture.”
“Love the anthropological feel and the combination of ingredients here. This makes me feel like I've been given access to your entire process. I think this would be an incredible book and exhibition.”
“Collage can be a difficult thing. You present interesting work as I learn alot about you as a person. Issues close to the heart are important to present and to create awareness to others of these issues.”
“You are dealing with important issues. And of course they are huge and go far beyond photography. But there is enough blood on the lens to keep you busy through a long career. I applaud your work.”
This year, I had the fortune to receive the Houston Center of Photography Fellowship given by Elizabeth Ferrer, curator and writer specializing in Latinx art and photography. I am writing this post during my week at Houston where I am having a solo show. I love this beautiful city and working at the HCP where everyone has been very warm and generous with me. Today we finished installing and I cannot be more happy with the outcome. Here some installation images of the exhibition. The opening reception will be on Friday, December 9th from 6pm to 8pm.
How can I describe a town like Woodstock, NY: healing, magical, beautiful, spiritual, fun, artistic and more. My AIR experience at the Centre for Photography at Woodstock-Kingston was everything I expected. My housemate was Sarah May, a young artist who works with textiles and cyanotypes. We had many great conversations over dinner and some local adventures exploring the town including thrift stores and flea markets where I found materials for my collages. I was able to complete my work Terra Obscura and start printing for my upcoming exhibition of La Ciudad en las Nubes in Houston. Here's a slideshow from pics from that fabulous month.
I am very happy to announce that I am a 2022 Woodstock Artist-In-Residence! https://www.cpw.org/news/press-release-announcing-2022-woodstock-air/ This has been a dream of mine for a long time and I am grateful to the jurors Aldeide Delgado, Kris Graves and Qiana Mestrich. I cannot wait to spend a month this fall working on my ongoing project Terra Obscura immersed in this incredible community of visual makers.
I had the honor to be the Guest Curator for the last issue of Fraction Magazine in which I feature four extraordinary Latin American and Latinx visual artists: Flor Ruiz from Peru, Carol Espindola from Mexico, Diego De la Vega from Peru and Vivian Poey, Cuban American based in the U.S. Take a time to enjoy these rich stories: http://www.fractionmagazine.com/issue-156
I am super happy to share that the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the first and oldest art museum in the U.S., founded in 1805, has acquired five prints from my series Maria, these works will be accessioned into the museum’s permanent collection. I am very grateful for the trust of Brittany Webb and Juan Omar Rodriguez and of course to The Print Center for giving us artists this annual opportunity. And just to add an odd note, a couple of weeks ago I wrote in my planner the name of this museum for a summer visit since I was intrigued about a painting from Peale: The Artist in His Museum. I have been thinking about "wunderkammers" a lot lately. This totally keeps me going.
I am looking forward to 5 Years of Aspect Initiative at the Danforth, an Invited Group Show where 33 New England photographers will be exhibiting new work. This event is curated by Jessica Roscio and Steven Duede. Art is important for our society and I can hardly wait to celebrate art and artists next month. Please, join us.
I am very excited about the upcoming Crossing Cultures: Family, Memory and Displacement 4.0 exhibition that I started curating in 2019 which has been travelling around Massachusetts. We are now six artists with roots in four regions. Participating artists: Astrid Reischwitz, Nilou Moochhala, Vivian Poey, Shabnam Jannesari, Nicolas Hyacinthe and myself. Please mark your calendar for our In-Person Reception with the Artists on Friday, March 11th at 5pm at A.P.E. Arts Gallery in Northampton.
My recent image, 1492: La Niña, la Pinta, y la Santa María was chosen for the Women Photograph 2021 Year in Pictures. Every year, Women Photograph showcases 100 images of their members across the globe, highlighting assignment work, long term documentary projects, and personal stories from the past year. I was especially pleased that this image is probably the only one that doesn't exactly fit in the photojournalism/documentary category, but it was still included in this powerful group of images that raise innumerable humanitarian issues. The selection was done by Tanvi Mishra, a Delhi-based photo editor, curator, and writer. https://www.womenphotograph.com/news/2021-year-in-pictures
Caption: "A naked, mixed-race woman with long dark hair is leaning on a table. On her back we see the three caravels in which Columbus arrived: the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María, navigating her body. The woman symbolizes the native and wild America. This image represents a contemporary version of the colonization of our bodies, our land, and our minds."
Last week I received the great news that La Ciudad en las Nubes was granted the Michael Reichmann Project Grant Award. Photolucida offers this Critical Mass award made possible by a generous endowment gifted to them by the Luminous Endowment for Photographers – an organization created by the late Michael Reichmann in 2007 to provide financial assistance to deserving photographers and their projects – worldwide. This grant will allow me to continue working on Mi Pais Imaginado. So grateful to Photolucida for this honor and for the support my work is receiving. Please take a time to explore the other four projects that also received this grant from Vanessa Leroy, Daniel Mebarek, Andrea Orejarena + Caleb Stein and Olga Sokal. I am extremely honored to be among them. https://www.photolucida.org/cm21-michael-reichmann-grant-recipients/
¡Otro sueño convertido en realidad! Happy to announce I am a 2021 Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 among a very diverse group of artists. The project selected La Ciudad en las Nubes is about decolonizing narratives surrounding the discovery of Machu Picchu and it's part of a larger work in progress. I am very excited about this project. To view the list of winners visit: https://www.photolucida.org/critical-mass/top-50
Selected comments by Photolucida Critical Mass jurors:
“This is such a beautiful investigation of how imperialist/supremacist thinking rewrites histories, especially in the pages of publications that have established themselves as experts on cultures they've purposefully rendered invisible. Your collage choices, redactions and overlays of images are not only visually stunning, but deeply contextual and really force the viewer to engage in this revision of history in an accessible way. Excellent!”
“This is work that claps back at the white dominant narrative in surprising and appropriately critical ways. I love how the frame in "The Framing of Machu Picchu" is the precise yellow of the National Geographic brand. This kind of work holds America and its nationalistic take on its own history accountable in ways that are necessary and important. I look forward to seeing more of this work. Have you considered this as a book?”
So happy and grateful to see La Ciudad en las Nubes featured on LENSCRATCH Journal. Please take a time to read this thoughtful interview by Daniel George. This project is about Machu Picchu, the myth of the discoverer and dismantling narratives of oppression. This keeps me going...
To read the full interview in two languages visit: http://lenscratch.com/2021/09/claudia-ruiz-gustafson-la-ciudad-en-las-nubes
I have no words to express how proud and honored I feel to have been awarded 2021 Photography Fellowship by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This generous grant will be used towards the completion and expansion of my ongoing work, a trilogy, Mi Pais Imaginado. More info here: https://artsake.massculturalcouncil.org/2021-artist-fellowships
Part 1: La Ciudad en las Nubes
Part 2: En Busca de un Mito
Part 3: Terra Obscura
This show is so beautiful, dreamy, whimsical and meaningful to me. Now showing at Concord Art. My work from Historias Fragmentadas in conversation with the impressive work of Tracy Spadafora. The pairing of our work was made in heaven. Grateful for the vision of Executive Director Kate James.