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Pablo Helguera, Remixed: Strange Oasis at Kent Fine Art

In situ view of Helguera's Strange Oasis at Kent Fine Art (courtesy Kent Fine Art)

In situ view of Helguera’s Strange Oasis at Kent Fine Art (courtesy Kent Fine Art)

Renowned artist, art educator and collaborator extraordinaire Pablo Helguera is in the house tonight for the opening of his solo show, Strange Oasis, at Kent Fine Art (210 Eleventh Ave at 25th Street). Incorporating performances with other artists, including New York and Puerto Rico-based artist Lionel Cruet, Helguera’s Oasis serves as a physical platform for bringing the journey to past projects and alternate social landscapes onto the Chelsea art scene. Helguera’s projects have spanned performance, video and installation art, but it is the process and not the packaging of his art which makes the greatest impression– Helguera is revered as a socially engaged artist continually working to meld art with community dialogue until the seams are indiscernible. The artist works to establish firm ties with communities to represent meaningful social issues through his collaborative interventions. For Oasis, Helguera brings this exploration of social practice home with a look into previous projects, re-formatted for a new audience and a new space, conceived to further the conversation with tonight’s crowd.

Helguera's work, 1899, from Brooklyn Crossing (courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

Helguera’s work, 1899, from Brooklyn Crossing (courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

Experiencing a Helguera performance or installation involves putting aside the direct binary relationship one assumes when encountering art as a matter of course: his engaging, often theatrical (but never exclusive) style envelopes visitors into the spirit of the moment. Past performances have included inviting audiences to join him in singing public protest songs or including fellow artists and curators to join him in re-presenting older dialogues on art in new, cross-disciplinary and international contexts. Tonight’s opening won’t disappoint: Friday 1/30 from 6-8 pm, expect the unexpected when you walk into Kent Fine Art. The last thing you’ll be doing is staring at paintings and looking around the room to see who else made it out (we’ve all been there.) Be prepared for some participatory art, and a peek into Helguera’s practice (for the uninitiated) of purposing art as a Rosetta Stone for social awareness.

Helguera’s work has been exhibited from Italy to Belgium to Mexico and beyond. Recent shows in New York City include his participation in the Brooklyn Museum’s Brooklyn Crossing and a performance at the Guggenheim’s Under the Same Sun. Strange Oasis is open until March 14, with special performances during the gallery’s Saturday hours (12-5). For more info, check out exhibition details at Kent Fine Art. 

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