Ramón Miranda Beltrán One month after being known in that island

Ramón Miranda Beltrán (b. 1982), a multi-disciplinary artist whose work uses the materials and forms of our built environment, lives and works in his native San Juan, Puerto Rico. After majoring in fine arts at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, he earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is the recipient of a 2019 Pollock Krasner Foundation grant and a 2017 Joan Mitchell Foundation grant. His work has been exhibited in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

ON VIEW: Aquí alucinamos el futuro (Here we hallucinate the future), 2020

ON VIEW: Aquí alucinamos el futuro (Here we hallucinate the future), 2020

Some experts from Brian Fee’s interview with Ramón Miranda Beltrán.

Q: Is your practice generally motivated by historical documentation?

A: Starting with archival material is an approach I’ve taken in the past. But sometimes I take an opposite approach, in which the form comes first and only later do I associate that form with an event. For Puerto Rican Youth, I placed a stack of twelve concrete slabs memorializing the articles published by the Chicago Tribune about the Division Street riots on Division Street, where the riots happened. It was the documents that suggested the form of square slabs that mounted up into cubes. In the case of subjeto/objeto, my 2016 mixed-media series about the relationship between the materials and forms of our built environment and the ways those forms structure the relation between subject and territory, the pieces themselves suggested forms from images of the Haitian and French revolutions.

Q:  Your practice involves making and working with artist books. How did you get interested in this form? Is there a tradition of artist books in the Caribbean?

A: My MFA was in the printmaking department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It was there that I learned how to operate an offset press. I was a teaching assistant for Alex Valentine, who organaizes the Chicago Book Fair and the Yale School of Art print shop. My roommate, Brian Rush, had just started No Rush Press. And Yuchen Chan, who has made a lot of great artist books, become a good friend. So I was around a lot of book people, but I had never made one until H-AS OS, which I made to accompany sujeto/objecto. It came so naturally and easily that I definitely want to make more. Right now, I am making one for my next solo show, with text from artist Javier Fresneda. I have no idea what its final form will be. I am still seeing how it evolves. Also, there is a rich history of artist run presses in Puerto Rico, I’ve been close to La Impresora, which was originally based at MAOF and printed my book, H-AS OS, on their risograph machine.

To explore the other artists on view, click here.
To view the exhibtion One month after being known on that island, click here.

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