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Exhibition of works of art from the Serapión & Belk Collection opens at the Museo de Arte de Ponce
Christopher Rivera (Puerto Rico, 1982), Deep Dreamer, 2008. Graphite on canvas, 73 x 48 1/2 in. (185. 4 x 123.2 cm). John T. Belk III, Esq. & Margarita Serapion, Esq. Collection.

PONCE, PR.- Last Saturday, August 11, the Museo de Arte de Ponce hosted the opening of the new exhibition Contemporary Passions: American, European, and Latin American Art from the Serapión & Belk Collection. This show represents an innovative initiative by the museum that will allow the general public to see and admire works of great artistic value owned by a husband-and-wife team of important private collectors, Margarita Serapión and John T. Belk III. The show will run though December 3, 2012.

Contemporary Passions pays tribute to artists who have portrayed the spirit of their and our times, and it reveals contemporary visual culture’s broad range of creative vision. The exhibit covers 46 years of art history, from Pop Art through modern and conceptual art to the multiple manifestations of postmodern art, in a magnificent display of both figurative and expressionist works.

The collection began to take shape in the seventies, and today it is distinguished by both the challenging nature of its images and the breadth of artists represented in it. “We are so grateful to Margarita and John for their generosity in sharing their extraordinary collection with all of us in Puerto Rico and all the visitors to the island. Contemporary Passions reveals the frenzy of emotions, the neuroses, and the Angst of the contemporary world, and it can also be seen as revealing the passion within the world of art collecting to preserve the modern and postmodern artistic vision of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries,” said Agustín Arteaga, executive director of the Museo de Arte de Ponce.

Margarita Serapión and John T. Belk III explained that they began this collection out of their attraction to works they discovered over the years, not because of any commercial value that the works might have. “We feel that we’re art lovers more than art collectors. We want to share what we have, conserve art works, lend our aid to artists, collaborate with public institutions, help museums to teach, and, more generally, foster an appreciation of a life lived with art.”

According to María Arlette de la Serna, the exhibition’s curator, Contemporary Passions affords the museum a great opportunity to bring viewers into closer contact with periods and movements representative of the history of visual culture from the sixties to our own time. In this show, viewers will encounter challenging images in painting, sculpture, and works on paper, such as the prints of electric chairs made by Andy Warhol in 1963 for his series Death and Disaster. Warhol began this series in 1962, and it included paintings and prints based on photographs, taken from newspapers, of tragedies involving famous figures, such as stories about Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy.

“We hope that Contemporary Passions will also encourage collectors who own works of extraordinary artistic value, and whose collections represent coherent visions, to make those collections available for many people to enjoy,” noted de la Serna, who has also written the essay for the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition.

Model Offset Printing helped underwrite the printing of the catalogue, which is on sale in the museum shop. Volunteers and students from the internship program donated more than 550 hours in cataloguing the works and otherwise helping to make the exhibition possible.

The public is cordially invited to experience this extraordinary exhibition at the Museo de Arte de Ponce.

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