Adriel Luis, our April juror, is a community organizer, artist, and curator who believes that our collective imagination can make a reality where we all thrive. His life’s work is focused on bridging artistic integrity and social vigilance. Adriel is the Curator of Digital and Emerging Practice at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, where he advocates for under-served communities to be treated and represented equitably by museums and institutions. Below, he shares his thoughts on jurying the April 2021 Open Exhibit.
“I don’t normally love selecting from anonymous art submissions. I see art as a window to the artist – when I’m drawn to an artwork, my first impulse is to find out who the artist is, where they come from, and what drives them to create. But these aren’t normal times. It has been over a year since I’ve been welcomed into an artist’s studio, marveled at their works in-person, learned about their lives face to face. Selecting works for an exhibition without knowing anything about the artist is like feeling my way through the dark – but thanks to my experience with The Art League’s Spring Open Exhibit, I found new ways to see and appreciate art.”
“There’s an uncertainty to judging a work at face value, without being able to consider the context or circumstances in which it was created. Much like everything else these days, I had to encounter jurying this show by trusting my gut, following my subjective interpretations, and finding meaning in what was presented on my computer screen. It was all of the artists – not only the ones whose works I selected – that gave me a sense of community during a time when it’s so sorely needed.”
“Embedded in the hundreds of pieces that I viewed were countless more hours that the submitters spent; all of us experiencing the same moment, and generating a multitude of visions from it. Whether they are abstract acrylic paintings or sculptures meditating on the human form, the works in this exhibition reveal introspection, thoughtfulness, and deep intentionality – virtues that I’ve come to cherish for guiding me through this period. I congratulate all of the artists involved with this show, not only for creating such a stunning body of work, but for meeting this moment with the passion and creativity that we all need.” – Adriel
Thanks so much, Adriel!