Christopher Grimes Gallery is pleased to present Cultural Diplomacy: An Art We Neglect an exhibition of new work by Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck. Much of the artist's work recycles the material remains of modernist art to present analyses of current political and economic issues.
In this new body of work, Balteo Yazbeck entangles art history with the global politics of oil and war. Cultural Diplomacy: An Art We Neglect offers the viewer a narrative of unexpected connections that borders on absurdity. This series is the result of a yearlong collaboration with art historian Media Farzin, which began as a conversation about the cultural symmetry between their respective countries, Venezuela and Iran, and led them to investigating the buried origins of the Cold War. Their narrative sketches out the intersection of foreign policy and corporate interest that has controlled the distribution of global power since World War II. The strategies of modernist art are employed and distorted to reveal a delicate Cold War balance of oil and bombs.
Balteo Yazbeck’s work is informed by historic conceptual art. He invades what is traditionally understood to be the domain of the curator, using exhibition design as a medium to create an aura of curatorial authority for his work. His approach undermines the notion of authorship through the explicitly quoting, appropriating or collaboratively incorporating the work of other artists, curators, and historians.
Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck (Caracas, 1972) was born in Venezuela to Italian and Lebanese parents. While in Caracas, he studied design and fine arts, and graduated with an emphasis on sculpture. Since the mid-nineties, he has shown extensively in Latin American institutions such as the Galeria de Arte Nacional, Caracas, Venezuela; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru; and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile and also participated in the VII Bienal de la Habana, Cuba. In 2008, Balteo Yazbeck had his first US major solo exhibition at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University. This year he was invited by Adriano Pedrosa, Julieta Gonzalez and Jens Hoffmann to participate in the second Trienal Poli/Gráfica de San Juan. This is Balteo Yazbeck’s first solo exhibition at the gallery and on the West Coast.