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Press : Media : Reviews


Banned and Recovered—Artists Respond to Censorship
Exhibition of Banned Book Inspired Artworks: Sep 08, 2010
Humboldt State University’s Reese Bullen Gallery hosts Banned and Recovered: Artists Intervention, a travelling exhibition of works by 37 artists, presented by California Exhibition Resources Alliance (CERA) and funded by the James Irvine Foundation.
(Humboldt State)

Banned and Recovered—The Times-Standard
ARCATA -- Humboldt State University's Reese Bullen Gallery will host “Banned and Recovered: Artist Intervention,” a traveling exhibition of works by 37 artists presented by California Exhibition Resources Alliance and funded by the James Irvine Foundation, from Sept. 24 to Nov. 6.
(Times Standard)

School Scene or Honors: MACLA lands grant worth $40,000
Mercury News Posted: 07/30/2010
Movimiento de Arte y Cultura de Latino Americana, or MACLA, is one of 17 organizations in the Bay Area and the only one in San Jose to receive a $40,000 Creative Work Fund Grant. Since 1994, the Creative Work Fund has contributed $8 million to advance art-making by Northern California artists. The fund was initiated by four Bay Area foundations. Victor Cartagena will use the grant to produce new work that will premiere at MACLA in the spring.


Gary Spain, noted interior designer chose Victor's "painting" for the livingroom featured in Elle Decore Magazine.

Gary Spain (living room)
San Francisco–based interior stylist and designer Gary Spain creates eclectic spaces that incorporate high- and low-end finds, global influences, and both contemporary and vintage pieces. With a creative background as an art director and photo stylist, he is frequently called upon to style editorial photo shoots, advertising shoots, and catalogue shoots that focus on interior design. Spain's work has been featured in many publications, including California Home + Design and House Beautiful. garyspaindesign.com

Cartagena in Honolulu - ...The news of the world certainly reaches here, and sometimes stems from here, and there is a long history of mutual influence between the local community and the rest of the world. This is true for the cuisine, the music, and the visual art, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to find the works of Victor Cartagena on display here.

This visual artist is based in San Francisco and comes from El Salvador, and his work has been reaching wide audiences for number of years. One of his big collaborations is with the Bay Area performance group Secos y Mojados. This is a fitting introduction to his own work, since the sensibilities are very similar. Their performances interrogate the border, physical and metaphorical, using mixed media to explore the divisions of self that happen on the way from one place to another. Like in his own solo work, there is a very lively sense of humor, serving to make visible the underlying themes that ask some of the most important questions about the world as it is right now. In Honolulu, with its own particularly complicated history of culture and movement, there is a natural fit with unexpected collisions of meaning.

"Santos y Otros Creatures": SF Weekly
Curator Victor Cartagena, who teaches at the center, says that these images conjure the kind of communion that art shares with religion ..."


Creative Capital Foundation - Performing Arts 2009 award:
Victor D. Cartagena, Roberto Gutierrez Varea, Violeta Luna, David Molina and Antigone Trimis
(San Francisco, CA) Performance Art
BORDER TRIP(tych) / TRIP(tico) de la frontera


SFBG Best of Show - The Year in Visual Arts 2008

(Huston) from the Bay Guardian (April 16, 2008)

YEAR IN REVIEW The time is right to pay tribute to the Bay Area's artists and galleries. Without further ado, here's an alphabetical guide to 2008's delights.

A is for the amazing SF art opening section at www.artbusiness.com; and for Ryan Alexiev, whose "Land of a Million Cereals," at Mission 17, hit Larry King and Damien Hirst with sugary comedy

B is Todd Bura, whose "Misfits" at Triple Base used minimalism to make one see things anew; Jonathan Burstein, whose "Visage" at Patricia Sweetow Gallery turned museum recycling into the year's best portraiture; and Luke Butler, whose "Invasion," at [2nd floor projects] tickled with Spock landscapes and Republican presidential beefcake

C is for Victor Cartagena, "The Invisible Nation," at Galeria de la Raza; Julie Chang, "Ox-herding," at Hosfelt Gallery; Ryan Coffey, "Recent Works," at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery

D is for Lauren DiCioccio, threading through the death of the newspaper era in "Lauren DiCioccio, Aliza Lelah," at Jack Fischer Gallery; and Emory Douglas, making his own activist news in "The Long Memory: Works Past and Present," at Babylon Falling

E is for David Enos, Frank Haines, and Wayne Smith, pronouncing "Zen With a Lisp," at [2nd floor projects]; and 871 Fine Arts, the Bay's best art books, now at a new site.

Wheatpaste for peace: SF Peace Billboards Project launches

San Francisco Bay Guardian's San Francisco Blog By Johnny Ray Huston. (Friday December 26, 2008)

About 100 art lovers gathered at the University of San Francisco (USF) on Memorial Day, May 26, to participate in a bus tour around the city to see 10 billboards by 10 artists from around the world that showcase their visions of what peace looks like, as part of the San Francisco Peace Billboards Project. The tour was headed by USF visual art professor Richard Kamler who first conceived the idea for the billboard project after wondering, in his words, "Why confine these images to the walls of a museum when we can take them to the community and have a significant impact?" The billboards will continue to be on display until June 22nd throughout San Francisco.

"The Question Is Known: (W)here Is Latin American/Latino Art?"

(Huston) from the BAY GUARDIAN (April 16, 2008)

Here is where — and where is here? The multifaceted title of this group show more than hints that curator Anthony Torres and the artists he's assembled challenge old assumptions about what makes up Latino art and put forth ambiguous and truthful examples of what it can be. The answers to the show's question include a hand-painted banjo by Claire Rojas, Rupert Garcia's take on the FBI's representations of Angela Davis, and a piece by Victor Cartagena, who was recently featured in the Guardian's weekly Local Artist spot. Along with fellow contributor Enrique Chagoya, who currently has an exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum, Cartagena also has a solo show — at Galería de la Raza — up at the moment.

The Answer's Still Out There Somewhere

(Hiya Swanhuyser) from the SF Weekly (April 16, 2008)

We once heard a teenager named Cuauhtémoc rail against the term "Latino." "We're not fucking Latin," he reasoned reasonably. He liked "Hispanic" even less, for similar reasons. He was also very, very beautiful, and for all these reasons, we cordially invite him to a new art exhibit, "The Question Is Known: (W)here Is Latin American/Latino Art?" Curator Anthony Torres aims to to point out the complications of racial and cultural identity, and we're pretty sure Cuahuatémoc would appreciate that. The huge group show features work by some artists who characterize themselves as Latino and Latin American and some who do not. Some are inspired by Latino or Caribbean visual traditions, and some are not. One of our favorite artists here is Sylvia Ji, whose pretty young ladies sometimes turn up in impeccable calavera make-up so you can see death in them. Elsewhere, find heavyweights like Raymond Saunders and Enrique Chagoya, Mission-School hipster Clare Rojas, and the preternaturally observant Victor Cartagena.

The Invisible Nation/La Nación Invisable a solo exhibition by Victor Cartagena

Friday, March 7, 2008 – Friday, May 16, 2008
Victor Cartagena presents 'Invisible Nation', Reyhan Harmanci, Thursday, March 6, 2008
Reviewed in SFGate March 6, 2008

Review by Jessica Whiteside of artbusiness.com: The Invisible Nation is a multimedia solo exhibition exploring all the of the emotions and social issues dealing with moving to the United States from other countries, particularly focusing on the experiences of Latin American immigrants. Cartagena's installation pieces are based on video and photographic portraits of immigrant residents, as well as on 1970s and 80s photos from Latin American archives that the artist has collected over the years. The use of large numbers of black and white passport photos in installation pieces creates a dramatic and striking visual picture of the number of people this exhibition draws attention to. The exhibition also comments on the experience of contemporary life in the age of globalization and mass migration.
Cartagena's show is overall beautifully designed, effective, and exemplifies a very thoughtful point of view with respect to the unresolved issues of immigration policy, and to the surge in anti-immigrant feelings across America. This is definitely one of the most compelling and well-conceived exhibitions I have seen-- the kind of work I would expect to see in a museum.
Comment from AB: Good show; go see.

KALW podcast Jean San Jose, Program Diretor of Intersection for the Arts, comments on Invisible Nation halfway through the program.

Robert Hurwitt, Chronicle Theater Critic - Tuesday, March 6, 2007
'Place to Stand' an impressionist collage on prison - haunting film loops enhance the visual impact of Victor Cartagena’s stark, striking but perhaps too resonant cell-block set.

Labor Tea Shows by Victor Cartagena, From Milwaukee to Kansas City

Milwaukii Institute of Art and Design
Personal Culture: New Art from Latin Americans challenges assumptions through quest for identity

Visual Art Picks, VITAL Source Magazine, Vol. 7, Issue "Last Call" by Amy Elliot

Cara and Cabezas Contemporary, and Kasas City, MO, (November 29, 2008 - February 6, 2009)

Review - Mid America's Visual Arts Magazin, Posted on November 29, 2008 by revieweditor
Opening tonight with a reception at 7 p.m., The Voice that Reaches You features work by three artists —  Julio Cesar Morales, Victor Cartagena, and Josue Rojas — and one journalist, Sofia Jarrin-Thomas. The exhibition includes video, installation, audio, and painted works.  A site-specific mural by Rojas accompanies prints of his original paintings and video interviews of young El Salvadoran deportees. Morales’ watercolors are drawn from photos taken by the U.S. Border Patrol; Cartagena’s multimedia installation, Labor Tea, uses found passport photos from the 1970s and 80s to address the negation of history and identity that occurs during migration and immigration; and Jarrin-Thomas’ El Salvador Oral Histories Project, audio interviews of refugees in Massachusetts from El Salvador’s civil war, complement the visual work.

bang! bang! toy gun exhibition by Victor Cartagena started in Miami and now has a life of its own...

Francia, Paris: Wynwood the Art Magazine
“Bang! Bang! Toy Gun,” 2008 is, in my opinion, the pièce de résistance at the festival. Located in a side room, the effective installation by Victor Cartagena (El Salvador) at once questions and surprises the spectator. Here the observer becomes the observed. From the depths of the room, a dubious hooded individual follows us unperturbed, relentless, while he aims at us with his finger on the trigger ready to fire. A curtain of suspended toy pistols keeps visitors at a distance. The only common element which appears to link human beings is violence. The projected image is monochromatic and the grain of the film suggests a documentary style which accentuates the sense of realism so important to Cartagena’s oeuvre. - by Janet Batet

Homage and Remembrance: The Past is Present - (November 1 - December 14, 2008)

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art - Curated by Anthony Torres, this exhibition is centered in a contemporary translation of holidays that commemorate changing seasons and life passages, which pay homage to and remember those who have come before us, such as Samhain, Yom Kippur (Yiskor), All Saints Day, All Hallows, All Souls Day, and Día de los Muertos.
ARTIST TALK - (Sunday, December 7, 2008 at 3:30 pm) A free program for attendees of all ages will take place on Sunday, December 7th at 3 pm with “Homage and Remembrance: The Past Is Present” artists Helène Aylon, Claudia Bernardi, Victor Cartagena, and Rob Keller for an informal discussion facilitated by guest curator Anthony Torres.

Banned Librarian: The Past is Present - (November 1 - December 14, 2008)

African American Museum and Library, art, censorship, Oakland
Banned & Recovered: Artists Respond to Censorship. The show includes some truly beautiful pieces including an installation by Oakland artist Victor Cartagena in tribute to one of my favorite poets, Roque Dalton. Dalton’s poems rain down from the ceiling and cover the walls, while the doorway to the room reminds us: “Yes, we are not made of ‘words alone,’ but Dalton’s words were banned and he lost his life because of them.” Another great piece brings Toni Morrison’s Beloved to life, and another depicts the burning of Harry Potter books in cities across the U.S. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_/ai_n28115380



Excerpt from “The Performing Archives of Victor Cartagena” by Kenn Watt

V. Cartagena prints from 1999 are featured in a book written in Greek by Demetra Metta, portions of which have been translated into other languages. http://www.komvos.edu.gr/masks/masks2.html


Westbrook, Lindsey, “Victor Cartagena at MACLA,” Artweek, February, 2007

Veltman, Chloe, “Unchained Melody: Music and poetry, not plot, create A place to Stand’s emotional impact,” SF Weekly,

March 21-27, 2007

Spicer, Jakki K., “The Art of Survival,” East Bay Express, 12/13/2006

Harmanci, Reyhan, “Staying Alive: The Art of Survival,” Visual Arts, 96 Hours, SF Chronicle, 11/23/2006

Swanhuyser, Hiya, “Enounter Intelligence,” SF Weekly, July 12-18, 2006

“Encuentros/Encounters,” Datebook, SF Chronicle, 2006

Avila, Robert, “Devil times four: Campo Santo sends some noteworthy notes to Satan in Haze,” SF Bay Guardian April 26-May, 2, 2006

Kramer, Seph, “Interview with Victor Cartagena,” umläut, Volume 3, SF School for the Arts, March, 2006

“The Culture of Violence:  Bang! Bang! Toy Gun,” Art.es: international contemporary art, No16, 2006, (Spain)

Lidgus, Sarah, “Victor Cartagena and Elizabeth Oppenheimer: Intersection for the Arts,” ArtNexus, 2006

California Homes, The Magazine of Architecture, The Arts & Distinctive Design, February 2006

Trends Magazine, Volume 21, No 2 featuring work by Victor Cartagena

Winn, Steven, “Remembering a departed friend with language, music, movement,” Datebook, SF Chronicle, 12/7/2005

Mizota, Sharon, “Perpetual Motion/Movimiento Perpetuo,” Our Critics Weigh in on Local Exhibits, 10/26/2005

“Perpetual Motion/Movimiento Perpetuo,” Mission Arts Monthly, August/September 2005

“TinT Exhibition: Papagiannis/Cartagena,” black:white the magazine, 2005

“Ampersand International Arts,” ArtBusiness.Com, 3/18/05

Avila, Robert, Hot Spot: Domino, SF Bay Guardian, 1/30/2005

ArtLA, l’ecosistema della cultura contemporanea, press release, 1/28/2005

Sacco, Graciela, “Photo New York,” New York Art Magazine, 2004

Farruggia, Erick, “Vivir o Matar: el dilemma,” holaHoy.com, 7/31/2004

Metta, Demetra, “Opseis tou Prosopeiou,” University Studio Press, 2004

Martinez, Julio César, “Artistas Latinos en el Museo de Oakland,” El Latino, No.381 VOL. X, 11/27-3/12/2002

Rebbapragada, Narasu, “Latino art’s best-kept secret: Fundraiser benefits El Salvadoran vets,” The SF Examiner, 3/12/2002

Moore, Michael Scott “Into the Light,” SF Weekly, 11/5/2002

Hurwitt, Robert, “Latino History Dances, Frolics in 7 Visions,” SF Chronicle, 10/29/2002

Eight Days a Week, SF Bay Guardian, 10/23/2002

Villagrán, Nora, “Aficionados, Latino Art Attracts Growing Community of Collectors,” San Jose Mercury

News, San José, CA, June 6, 2002

Furtado, Ryan, “Professional artists team with students to create exhibit,” Golden Gate [X]press, 2/28/2002

Hurwitt, Robert, “Mission Indians Intense and Moving,” Datebook, SF Chronicle, San Francisco, 2/20/2002

Rosenstein, Brad, “Blood Story,” San Francisco Guardian, 3/6/2002

Westbrook, Lindsey, Critic’s Choice: art, “Capital Culture/Media Punishment,” SF Bay Guardian, Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2001

Pfeuffer, Charyn, “Media Punishment: At Intersection For The Arts,” SF Station.Com, Sept. 24, 2001

Crump, Anne, “Celebremos,” Ex Files, SF Examiner, September 10, 2001

Hom, Lisa, “Capital Culture/Media Punishment & capital (culture/media) punishment_witness room,” SF Weekly, Sept.2001

Lidgus, Sarah, “Hot Spot,” SF Bay Guardian, September 12-18, 2001

Golonu, Berin, “Previews: Victor Cartagena,” Artweek, September, 2001

Rowlands, Penelope, “Bay Area Expansion,” Art News, September, 2001

Fisher, Jack “Big-Time Assist for Local Talent,” San Jose Mercury News, SV Life, June 25, 2000

Golonu, Berin “Previews: Benchmarks,” Artweek, June 2000

Von Proyen, Mark “San Francisco e-MAIL,” Art Issues, March/April 2000

Kundahl, Gustavus , “Collector-Curator’ at Catharine Clark Gallery,” Artweek, February, 2000

Mitta, Demetra , “Victor Cartagena’s Carnivalesque world,” PANSELENOS, January 9, 2000 (Greece)

Stefanidou, Thaleia, “Victor Cartagena: Oracles,” ANDI, October 15, 1999 (Greece)

Hamlin, Jesse, “Artists Under Construction: Craftspeople teach kids trade, and let their imaginations run

wild at Zeum,” Datebook, San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 1999

Kyne, Barbara, “Domesticity: Home Sweet Home,” Artweek, September 1999

Brenneman, Christine, Metroguide Visual Arts Picks, San Francisco Metropolitan, July 5, 1999

Martínez, Julio Cesar, "Sin Casa,' Exposición de los hermanos Victor y Carlos Cartagena," El Latino, 7/ 99

Scherr, Apollinaire, Visual Arts Over There, A Critical Guide to S. F. Events, East Bay Express, 6/25/99

Coleman, Sarah, "Sin Casa," Art Museum/Gallery pick, SF Bay Guardian, June 23, 1999

Rosenfeld, Esther, "Reclaiming the Self: The Art of Victor Cartagena," Cambio, May, 1999

Sherman, Ann Elliott, "Binding Freedom," Metro, September 17-23, 1998

"Tamoanchán regresa a su patria," La Prensa Grafica, July 14, 1998

Cohn, Terri, "Art as a Healing Force: Creativity, Healing and Spirituality," Artweek, January 1997

E.M., "Go Unnoticed: images of (re)generation," El Mensanjero, July 23, 1996

Thym, Jolene, "Society's ills reflected 'In the Light of Goya,'" The Oakland Tribune, February 22, 1996

Bonetti, David, Bay City Best, "In the Light of Goya," San Francisco Examiner Magazine, Dec. 10, 1995

"Generation/Relation," Artweek, July 1994

Sherman, Ann Elliott, "Latino Visions," Metro, June 23-29, 1994

Tuchman, Laura J., "A world without borders," San Jose Mercury News, March 20, 1994

D'Amico, Rob "Opening the doors of art to Latin American exiles," Hills Publications, 9/1992


University of San Francisco School of Law, Spring Exhibition, Murphy Family Rotunda Gallery, 1/24-5/25, 2007

Photosynkyria 06, 18th International Festival of Photography Thessaloniki

“Cultura: Revista del Consejo Nacional Para La Cultura y El Arte,” Concultura- Numeros 91/92, El Salvador, Sept.2005-April 2006

“The Culture of Violence:  Bang! Bang! Toy Gun,” MACLA, San Jose, Center for Latino Arts, CA, 2006

“Visions from the New California,” An initiative of the Alliance of Artists Communities (Support: James Irvine Foundation), 2004

SKETBE Catalogue-2003

KALA Catalogue-Ecuador-2003

KALA in Belarus-Embassy of the USA in Belarus/KALA Arts Institute/National Museum of Art of Belarus, 11/2-26/2002

El Corazón de la Muerte: Altars and Offerings for Days of the Dead, Oakland Museum of California, Heyday Books, Berkeley CA and Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA

Espíritu Sin Fronteras: Ofrendas for the Days of the Dead, Oakland Museum of California, 10/12-12/1, 2002

1st Interbalkan Forum of Contemporary Miniature Art, 2002

 “Co-Lab,” San Francisco State University, San Francisco, Spring 2002

Sight Unseen, -120th Annual Exhibition, San Francisco Art Institute, January 2002

Poetic Paradox, 10 years of Innovation in Latino Art, MACLA, Center for Latino Arts, San Jose, California, 2001

"Tamoanchán," Hispanics In Philanthropy, 1995 Annual Report





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 Victor Cartagena © 2013