Jesús ‘Bubu’ Negrón
(b. 1975, Puerto Rico). Jesús Cruz Negrón, fondly known as Bubu, re-contextualizes the everyday with minimal intervention and relational approximation, revealing historic, social, and economic vitality.
He studied at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas, San Juan, and he lives and works in the city’s Puerto de Tierra neighborhood, where he is part of the grassroots preservation community Brigada PDT. He was awarded the “Golden Pineapple” prize for best artist at the inaugural Bienal Tropical de Puerto Rico (2011). Negrón has exhibited widely across the globe, including the 2007 Sharjah Biennial (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates) and Tropical Abstraction, curated by Ross Gortzak at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 2005.
Recent exhibitions include Low Budget Drawings, Robert Paradise (San Juan) at ARCO Madrid, 2013; and A Reflection Room, curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates for Henrique Faria Gallery, New York, 2016.
As a self-taught artist, my practice varies from simple gestures to site specific interventions or labor-intensive manual work. I like describing my work as circumstantial art. Each project starts with a study of the context and a collective reflection of the problematic that define it; the context however always determines the medium I chose to express an idea. My work is informed and influenced by folk art, social activists, arte povera and socially engaged art. , I try to find ways through which to engage with each context’s culture, their techniques and historical failures, so as to create pieces that will trigger a discussion in the context of contemporary art.
For this residency, I hope to get to know and learn from the people, experience and share artisan techniques and discover previously unknown (to me at least) traditions as a method towards developing my projects. The goal would be to convert these experiences into artistic ethnographic documents that transcend borders between popular art and contemporary art. Puerto Rico and the Caribbean have not been excluded from the cultural impact from China. As a country in the world leader stage, China is rich in traditions and unique visual culture that has proven to be powerful enough to become globally known. I would love to explore Chinese culture more directly and experience it in situ, contrary to the present outsider and western lens that I’ve been exposed to about Chinese culture and traditions. From this, I would like to build on the foundations of a project that I have already commenced here in Puerto Rico.
Negrón was the artist in residence at Red Gate Residency, Beijing, China. April – May 2017