Fotofest Biennial “El Lado Oculto de la Luna” at TANK Space

500añosdesilencio | El Lado Oculto de la Luna has been funded by the City of Houston and will be presented to coincide with FotoFest Biennial on March 12th at the TANK Space at Spring Street Studios, Sawyer Yards
Show dates: March 12th to May 11th with an opening reception + artist talk on March 15th from 6-8PM

500añosdesilencio | El Lado Oculto de la Luna (The Hidden Side of the Moon) by artist Karen Navarro presents a nuanced reflection on Indigenous identity in Argentina.
It is an exploration through installation and portraiture that makes use of modern technologies to weave, with a historical tinge, the concept of beauty and representation.
The first site-specific installation created by the artist consisting of a mural, braids made of synthetic hair and video mapping images.
The work considers the process of reclaiming one’s own indigenous heritage, the liminal space we inhabit, and the fluidity of cultural change that creates a transformation towards the future.

Buenos Aires - Houston Public Art Project - El Lado Oculto de la Luna

In January 2024, “El Lado Oculto de la Luna” (The Hidden Side of the Moon) was presented as a public art project on the streets of Buenos Aires and Houston.
The public art project inaugurated in the city of Houston on January 13th. “El Lado Oculto de la Luna” (The Hidden Side of the Moon) deployed on 160 digital screens around the city.
On January 22nd, the project launched in Argentina, Buenos Aires as a public art intervention in the streets of Palermo neighborhood and across the subway network.

Indigenous Peoples Day

Today, the second Monday in October, marks the American federal holiday that traditionally honored the legacy of Christopher Columbus – the man credited with “discovering” the New World. 

For those acknowledging the brutallity inflicted by Columbus on the Native Americans, this day transforms into Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It becomes a tribute to the resilience and cultural endurance of Native peoples suppressed during the “Age of Discovery” and the colonization of the Americas by Europe. Yet, what significance does this day hold for the ancestral homelands where Native nations lack self-governance or for lands allocated to them, constantly under threat from incursion, fossil-fuel extraction, and climate catastrophe? It unravels the deep-seated histories of settlement, privatization, development, exploitation, and alienation of both land and its people. Before the 1870s, federal policy employed violent tactics, broken treaties, and the reservation system to colonize Native lands. When tribal nations resisted, the latter half of the 19th century saw policies of forced assimilation, breaking up tribal reservation land. Fragmenting tribal lands facilitated the removal of tribes from their homelands. Subsequently, the government wrongfully seized 90 million acres of reservation land guaranteed by treaty. To the land, the holiday seems deceptive. Indigenous Peoples’ Day holds true significance only if it signifies a return of land under Native political authority. 

If we genuinely seek to honor Indigenous people, renaming the holiday is merely a small initial step. The subsequent step is repair: Material restitution, particularly through land redistribution, must be integral to the process. Reestablishing Indigenous sovereignty over the territories they’ve safeguarded since time immemorial is a genuine cause for celebration.

Colossal article: Karen Navarro Puzzles and Stacks Fragmented Portraits Into Explorations of Identity

Through fragmenting, layering, and reassembling, Navarro splices images with bright edges that draw attention to negative space, uneven surfaces, and intersections. She captures digital portraits of her sitters in front of solid backgrounds, emphasizing their direct gazes and garments. While she focuses on others, she sees the work as self-reflective and driven by “the need to celebrate diversity to reframe the representation of historically marginalized identities.” Kate Mothes

Click here to read the entire article.

Cerebral Women podcast

Cerebral Women Art Talks is a weekly podcast by Phyllis Holis that features mostly underrepresented female artists, collectors and art professionals.

The Cerebral Women platform emphasizes how art can help us understand our history, our culture, our lives, and the experience of others in a manner that cannot be achieved through other means.

The interviews are viewed as primary research that can be used and referenced in papers and articles. Providing underrepresented artists an opportunity to be academized into history is critical to their sustained success. It is imperative to help normalize documenting and solidifying the contributions of artists into the canon.

Featured guest includes, Titus Kaphar, Kennedy Yanko, Antwaun Sargent, Monique Meloche, among many others.


EXPO Chicago and ARTnews

Max Durón, Senior Editor at ARTnews, selected the work of Karen Navarro at Foto Relevance among The 8 Best Booths at Expo Chicago, From Pleated Knots to Poignant Works About Memory. Durón interviewed Navarro on Thursday during EXPO’s VIP opening preview.

He writes:

Houston-based artist Karen Navarro has long been thinking about her own migration from Argentina eight years ago. For a photo-based series titled “Neither Here Nor There” (2021–22), she has photographed several people who either immigrated to the US or whose family did so one or two generations ago. She then blows up these images to a large scale and fragments them. Next, she mounts the prints to wood and seals them with resin.

In one portrait printed across four blocks, a man’s face just barely misses the perfect alignment, with small gaps in between; in another, horizontal strips from a photograph of a woman give the effect that the image is glitching as it loads. Navarro, who was on hand during the VIP preview, said she wanted to explore the ways in which identity is socially and culturally constructed, especially for people who have immigrated to the US. The gaps in the works’ compositions represent the times where “you don’t know your own history” and how that offers an opportunity to “fill it in” with whatever you want.

Panel Discussion at CAMH

Join artist Ann Johnson for a panel discussion with Rabéa Ballin, Sarah Darro, Jennifer Ford, and Karen Navarro about the intersection of art, fashion, and design, and how it inspires their work and culture at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

This program is presented in conjunction with CAMH COURT and in collaboration with Tradeblock.

Penland School of Craft Workshop

AUGUST 13–18, 2023 | Instructor: Karen Navarro

Pushing the Boundaries of Collage: This workshop will introduce materials and techniques to push the boundaries of traditional collage. We’ll investigate the foundations of identity through portraiture collages. Students may work with their own archive or found images. The workshop will cover cut-and-paste techniques, digital manipulation and printing, painterly processes, and image appropriation. Materials will be provided, and students are also encouraged to bring their own collections of ephemera: photographs, magazines, wallpaper, cardboard, fabric scraps, etc. All levels.  Register here.

Lenscratch on Somos Millones

HOUSTON, TXKaren Navarro‘s multifaceted celebration of immigrant diasporas in the United States in her newest exhibition Somos Millones represents an expansive milestone for the Argentine artist. Accompanying her acclaimed deconstructed portraits with light works, crowd-sourced skin tones, text, demographic data, and participatory installations, Navarro dynamically reassembles fragments of public identity and the aesthetics of dislocation into the playful allure of the abstract. ” Vicente Cayuela. Click here to read the full interview.

Erika Mei Chua Holum in Conversation with the Artist

Foto Relevance invites you to the gallery for a conversation between artist Karen Navarro and Erika Mei Chua Holum, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Assistant Curator at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston. The two will discuss work in Navarro’s solo show Somos Millones (we are millions) #myancestors, which highlights first, second, and third generation American immigrants through deconstructed and reconstructed photo sculptures. Building upon her 2021 solo exhibition at Foto Relevance, The Constructed Self, Navarro’s new bodies of work expand upon notions of identity and belonging in the series Neither Here Nor There and América Utópica
Join us on Saturday, January 28th at 11am for coffee, light bites, and conversation. Click here for more info.

#MyAncestors Somos Millones is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance” 

Dovetail Magazine on Karen’s new show

Read the full article by Kate Mothes on Karen’ show: Somos Millones here.

“The relationship between Indigenous identity and immigrant experience is a complex one; both involve a sense of belonging to a place or way of life and combine in Navarro’s personal experience. Not only did she move from one country to another, she excavates an intricate relationship with her ancestral culture in the country where she was born with little familial information to work with, filling in gaps and making connections where she can. The physically and emotionally laborious process of relocating, and both building and sustaining social networks across disparate geographies, is translated into an overall expression of identity and community as a constantly evolving process.” Kate Mothes.

Opening Somos Millones at Foto Relevance

Somos Millones, a solo exhibition of works by Karen Navarro, will be on view at Foto Relevance from January 13 through February 25, 2023. Somos Millones (we are millions) is a visual expression of identity through the artist’s uniquely deconstructed and reconstructed portraits of first, second and third generation American immigrants. Navarro’s mixed-media works investigate a sense of belonging as influenced by race, migration, and the artist’s own indigenous identity. By exploring her ancestral culture, and her experience as an American immigrant, she creates connections between a vast constellation of identities in the present time — connections which reinforce a vision of a more just future. Navarro utilizes crowdsourced skin tones, data, and language to craft deeply resonant portraits and experiential installations, inviting the viewer to see the world through her gaze. More info here.

#MyAncestors Somos Millones is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance” 

2022 FotoFest Biennial, “If I Had a Hammer.”

Texas A&M University presents Karen Navarro, “The Constructed Self” as part of the 2022 FotoFest Biennial, “If I Had a Hammer.”

The show is currently on view and runs until Oct. 27, 2022. 

You are invited to the artist’s talk and reception.

Artist talk: Wed. Oct. 5th 3-4 pm. 

Reception: Wed. Oct. 5th 4-6 pm. 

789 Ross Street

3137 TAMU Langford, Building A

College Station, TX 77843

The FotoFest Biennial 2022 takes place on September 24 – November 6, 2022 in Houston, Texas at Art Alley at Sawyer Yards in Arts District Houston and throughout the city of Houston. 

Foto Fest exhibitions are free and open to the public.

EXIT Magazine - Issue 87 - Portrait Typologies

Karen Navarro’s work is featured in this issue of EXIT examining portrait typologies. Read below for a description of the issue:

There are hundreds, thousands and millions of portraits floating around in our individual and collective me­mories: portraits from the history of art; portraits of famous people; of friends from yesterday, today and every future; of my family and all the families that ever existed; of delinquents in millions of police mugshots in every country in the world; everyday selfies; portraits of weddings, baptisms and birthday parties; of all the dead people we did not want to let go of completely… EXIT 87 Portrait Typologies is, precisely, an issue that brings together portraits from their widest diversity. 

Fragmentation in por­trait is present in Karen Navarro’s project, while Humberto Rivas brings us back to a more classical, black & white, portrait. 

Central theme artists: Roger Ballen, Nancy Burson, Germán Gómez, Pierre Gonnord, Katy Grannan, Pieter Hugo, Bill Jacobson, Juan Rodrigo Llaguno, Nikki S. Lee, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Hellen Van Meene, Nelson Morales, Zwelethy Mthethwa, Karen Navarro, Catherine Opie, Humberto Rivas, Carlo Van de Roer, Thomas Ruff, August Sander, Andrés Serrano.

Photo World Magazine (China): Karen Navarro: Building Yourself

“Argentine photographer Karen Navarro is an artist with a multidisciplinary background, mainly in photography and sculpture. Over the years, she has focused on topics such as identity and belonging, and is very good at creating portraits.
A few years ago, Navarro’s series “The Constructed Self” captivated me with its flamboyant colors. In my opinion, this series of portraits not only has aesthetic value but also triggers viewers to think about personal identity, self-expression and the image of people in the current social media age. Navarro tries to expand the boundaries of portrait photography through the combination of two-dimensional photography and three-dimensional sculpture.
As a young artist, Navarro’s work received worldwide attention. She was shortlisted for The 2020 Photo London Emerging Photographer of the Year Award and awarded The Houston Artadia fellowship. Her works have been exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston (CAMH), Lawndale Art Center, Elisabet Ney Museum, Melquig Fair in Amsterdam, Netherlands
(Melkweg Expo), Tigre, Argentina, etc., and published in international journals such as “Art News”, “The Guardian”, “Rolling Stone” (Italy) and “Vogue”.  —Veronica Sanchis

Art Dirt: Discussing Recent Exhibitions about America, press

América Utópica on Glasstire, Art Dirt podcast: “Watching the five-minute tour that Karen Navarro did, which is posted on Glasstire by the way, she’s describing her own relationship to racial identity not being white but also not really feeling ownership over having a darker complexion. It seems like in making the work she was trying to get a consensus or like looking for input from a greater audience like what is racial identity. The work is this beautiful grid patchwork of variations of skin tone and then the neon words America posted in front of it. And, it absolutely has a flag-like quality.” —William Sarradet.
Click here
 to listen to the podcast.

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