Saturday, March 25, 2006

The new scenesters Pedro Velez about the art scene in Puerto Rico

Flyer for the Bukakees "I’ve been fucked" performance

New artist-run spaces are popping up under every coconut tree on the island of Puerto Rico. Judging by both quantity and quality, the scene is vital. But the perception could be misleading, especially in an uncertain economy, where any downturn is sure to hit artists the hardest. The fact is, this small Caribbean colony of the United States can’t support its own cultural product.
Faced with this reality, young artists are increasingly forming collectives and pooling their energies in mutually beneficial ways. These "New Scenesters" have taken to heart lessons learned from local musicians, launching their own exhibition spaces, publications, performance groups and social organizations in order to survive, not only economically but emotionally.

Alia Farid with her work 3Ayuni, at Tagron in San Juan

For 3Ayuni, Farid attached a group of fake eyelashes to the wall in a work of considerable delicacy that also seems to deal with questions of genre and displacement.

It was at one of those after-opening hangouts that we came across a flyer with the image of a topless woman and a headline that read "The Bukakees" and "I‘ve been Fucked." The advertisement was for a private performance of the Bukakkes, a group founded by Bernice Gonzalez that is part punk band and part performance art troupe. The all-girl set ranged from hardcore punk to sweet pop. Gonzalez’ voice is drowned out by her instrument, the bass guitar, which she can barely play.

Overall, the act is aggressive and confusing, not least because the troupe seems to include a person who hangs out in the audience, harassing viewers by insisting, constantly, "I’m in the Bukakees, I’m with the band." At the end of every song, and there are only two, the sexy debutante gives a speech to the audience, in which the word "fuckers" is used vehemently. This anti-feminist performance is one of the smartest and most entertaining I’ve seen in a long time.

read more at artnet

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