no existe un mondo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria at Whitney Museum of American Art, through April 23, 2023

“The Whitney Museum of American Art’s exhibition no existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria brings together over fifty works by an intergenerational group of twenty artists from Puerto Rico and the diaspora whose art has responded to the transformation brought on by Hurricane Maria—a high-end category four storm that hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Organized to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the storm, the exhibition is defined by the larger context in which the devastation was exacerbated by historic events that preceded and followed this defining moment. The first scholarly survey of contemporary Puerto Rican art presented by a major U.S. museum in nearly half a century, the exhibition is organized by Marcela Guerrero, Jennifer Rubio Associate Curator, with Angelica Arbelaez, Rubio Butterfield Family Fellow, and Sofía Silva, former Curatorial & Education Fellow in US Latinx Art, Whitney Museum. no existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria will be on view from November 23, 2022, through April 23, 2023.

The exhibition takes its title, no existe un mundo poshuracán, roughly translated as ‘a post-hurricane world doesn’t exist,’ from a poem by Puerto Rican poet Raquel Salas Rivera, featured in the exhibition as an artwork. Through painting, video, installation, performance, poetry, and newly commissioned works created for the show, the exhibition looks at the five years since Hurricane Maria to highlight urgent and resonant concerns in Puerto Rico, including the trauma created by fractured infrastructures; the devastation of ecological histories and landscapes; loss, reflection, and grieving; resistance and protest; and an economically-driven migration of Puerto Ricans to the United States during an upswell of American tourism and relocation to the island.” — Whitney Museum of American Art

Rogelio Báez Vega, Paraíso Móvil, 2019. Oil on canvas, 55 × 70 in. (139.7 × 177.8 cm). Private collection
Sofía Córdova, still from dawn_chorus ii: el niagara en bicicleta, 2018. Two channel video, color, sound, on unique unistrut mount, 105 min. Courtesy the artist and Kate Werble Gallery, New York
Frances Gallardo, from the series Aerosol, 2021. Color pencil on laser etched paper, 12 × 17 5/16 in. (30.5 × 43.9 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy the artist
Sofía Gallisá Muriente, still from Celaje, 2020. Original score by José Iván Lebrón Moreira. 16mm and Super 8 film transferred to HD video; 40:57 min. Courtesy the artist
Javier Orfón, Bientéveo, 2018-2022. Inkjet print, 97 × 176 in. (246.4 × 447 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy Hidrante, San Juan
Gamaliel Rodríguez, Collapsed Soul, 2020–21. Ink and acrylic on canvas, 84 × 112 in. (213.3 × 284.5 cm). © 2021 Gamaliel Rodríguez. Courtesy the artist and Nathalie Karg Gallery NYC. Photograph by Gamaliel Rodríguez
Armig Santos, Yellow Flowers, 2022. Oil on linen, 84 × 72 in. (213.4 × 182.9 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy the artist
Gabriella Torres-Ferrer, Untitled (Valora tu mentira americana) (detail), 2018. Hurricane ravaged wooden electric post with statehood propaganda, 116 × 118 × 122 in. (294.6 × 299.7 × 309.9 cm). Private collection; courtesy the artist and Embajada, San Juan
Lulu Varona, Ir y venir, 2021. Cotton thread embroidered on Aida cloth, 25 × 37 in. (63.5 × 94 cm). Collection of Jorge Garcia

“The artists in this exhibition challenge us to understand the historical, physical, and political forces that have shaped Puerto Rico, and to see both our own responsibility and vulnerability,” said Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum. “Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is a harbinger of things to come for those who are most vulnerable, not just in the Caribbean, but worldwide.”

no existe un mundo poshuracán proposes that imagining a new Puerto Rico is absolutely and resolutely the purview of artists,” noted Guerrero, who worked in close collaboration with the artists throughout the planning of the exhibition and visited artists’ studios across the continental U.S. and in Puerto Rico. “The future of self-determination is inherently a creative act. Art can be the medium of a post-hurricane, post-austerity, post-earthquake, and post-pandemic world. This exhibition is a call to see the living and an invitation to pay tribute to the dead.”

The artists in no existe un mundo poshuracán are Candida Alvarez, Gabriella N. Báez, Rogelio Báez Vega, Sofía Córdova, Danielle De Jesus, Frances Gallardo, Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Miguel Luciano, Javier Orfón, Elle Pérez, Gamaliel Rodríguez, Raquel Salas Rivera, Gabriela Salazar, Armig Santos, Garvin Sierra Vega, Edra Soto, Awilda Sterling-Duprey, Yiyo Tirado Rivera, Gabriella Torres-Ferrer, and Lulu Varona.