Americas Society presents 'Tropical is Political: Caribbean Art Under the Visitor Economy Regime'
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Americas Society presents 'Tropical is Political: Caribbean Art Under the Visitor Economy Regime'
Yiyo Tirado, Caribe Hostil, 2020. Blue glass neon. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Km 0.2.

NEW YORK, NY.- Americas Society presents Tropical is Political: Caribbean Art Under the Visitor Economy Regime, an exhibition that explores the themes of natural and fiscal paradise, examining their geographical coincidence in the Caribbean and the impact of tourism and the “visitor economy” on art and cultural production from the region. This term denotes the ways in which a society is transformed by economic activity – services and goods consumed – of visitors, wherein the economy is reconfigured to serve the visitor.

Curated by Marina Reyes Franco, Tropical is Political will display works by nineteen contemporary artists working within the Caribbean sphere and its diasporas, including Gwladys Gambie, Allora & Calzadilla, Carolina Caycedo, Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Abigail Hadeed, Joiri Minaya, José Morbán, Dave Smith, Yiyo Tirado, and Oneika Russell, among others. The presentation will feature several new and site-specific artworks and installations, and it will be on view from September 7 through December 17, 2022.

In contemporary times, Caribbean economies have transitioned from monocultures (particularly sugarcane) exported to North America and Europe to being the receivers of visitors from the wealthiest countries, attracted by postcards of pristine beaches and the promises of a tax haven. “This exhibition approaches the Caribbean as a region subject to a particular set of structural circumstances—a product of the visitor economy regime,” said Marina Reyes Franco. “Centered around three main focal points: the body, territory, and finance, the selection of works in this exhibition delves into the effects of tourism on Caribbean artists and their cultural production, and how the neocolonial relationship embodied by the tourism industry affects how Caribbean cultures are represented for visitors.”

Across video, painting, installation and photography, the artists in Tropical is Political problematize and interrogate definitions of tropicality. As evident in the title of the exhibition, these works disrupt the façade of the tropical as a paradise and instead show the political, cultural and economic machinations which create those fantasies. Together, the artworks create a varied and multifaceted picture of how the visitor economy manifests across the Caribbean region.

Following the presentation of the exhibition in New York City at Americas Society, the show will travel to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico in San Juan in early 2023.

The exhibition will be accompanied by the publication of a pocketbook featuring images of all artworks, as well as curatorial texts. Americas Society will host a series of public programs, both in-person and virtual, accompanying the show, including panel discussions with the curatorial team and scholars of Caribbean art and sculpture, public conversations with the artists in the exhibition, and regular free gallery tours.

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