Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz : El Mero Chile / The Full Monty & Nueva York – San Antonio

March 2, 2017 @ 6:00 PM – March 3, 2017 @ 9:00 PM
FL!GHT Gallery
134 Blue Star
San Antonio, TX 78204
Justin Parr
(210) 872-2586

Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz: El Mero Chile / The Full Monty

Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz: Nueva York – San Antonio

Closing: 6-9 pm, Thursday, March 2 (exhibition

continues through March 3, 2017)


134 Blue Star

(210) 872-2586

Blue Star Arts Complex in San Antonio, Texas

FL!GHT opens two exhibitions featuring rediscovered

early works by renowned painter Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz

on February 2.

SAN ANTONIO (December 23, 2016) – FL!GHT in the Blue Star Art

Complex presents two exhibitions devoted to Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz

that shed light on the origins of the Puerto Rican native’s dazzling

portrait technique. A search of the artist’s studio revealed nine rolled-

up canvases and a number of other paintings that had not been

unpacked since the artist moved to San Antonio from New York in

1995. The majority of these rediscovered paintings are on display at

FL!GHT. Most of them have never been publicly exhibited, and none

of the rediscovered paintings have been seen by anyone in over

twenty years.

After achieving considerable success as an undergraduate,

Rodríguez-Díaz received his BFA degree at the University of Puerto

Rico in Rio Piedras in 1978. He moved to New York City in 1978,

where he found a place within the gay and Latino communities.

Rodríguez-Díaz received his MFA degree at Hunter College in New

York City in 1982.

Rodríguez-Díaz utilizes dramatized self-portraiture as a vehicle for

social commentary and political criticism. He views portraiture as a

distillation of the sitter’s essential traits, as well as an opportunity to

celebrate diversity and the dignity of the self.

El Mero Chile / The Full Monty in the FL!GHT Salon gallery

The Salon gallery exhibition celebrates the beauty and sensuality of

the male body with paintings made in New York between 1983 and

1992. The rolled-up paintings found in the artist’s studio include an

untitled painting from 1983 that combines influences from El Greco

and Francis Bacon, and “The Cannibal” (1988), a hyper-masculine

nude that addresses Caribbean stereotypes. It includes “Adam” (1991),

Rodríguez-Díaz’s most famous nude. A large-scale portrait of a black

man who has seemingly jumped out of a tropical fire, Adam is a

critique of African slavery in the Caribbean and of colonial wars of

conquest. It became a cause célèbre when it was censored in a New

York exhibition in 1992. Rodríguez-Díaz quit painting male nudes that

year because most exhibition venues would not display them. He

regards these restrictions as a form of prior restraint. FL!GHT is

against censorship in the arts and is proud to present this exhibition,

which is the first one devoted to Rodríguez-Díaz’s nudes.

Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz: Nueva York – San Antonio in the FL!GHT

main gallery.

The main gallery exhibition emphasizes Rodríguez-Díaz’s New York

period and it features many of the recently rediscovered

paintings. One of the highlights is an undated double self-portrait from

1987 that references Frida Kahlo with a skeletal pelvis and a large,

disembodied heart. It is the most dramatic example of four paintings

on colored and textured fabric in this exhibition that inspired the

painted fabric patterns that are featured in most of Rodríguez-Díaz’s

subsequent paintings. Kahlo utilized self-portraiture to create complex

narratives and her art is the most important precedent for Rodríguez-

Díaz’s utilization of self-portraiture as a vehicle for social criticism.

Rodríguez-Díaz experimented with a wide range of painterly effects

and artistic sources in the works in this exhibition. Paintings made in

San Antonio include a partially finished portrait based on Franciso

Goya’s “Naked Maja”.

Reception dates:

6-10 pm, February 2 & 3 and March 2 & 3.


“The Penis in Art: A Short History,” by Guest Curator Ruben C.

Cordova, date and time to be announced.

Rodríguez-Díaz’s Exhibition History and Public Collections:

Rodríguez-Díaz has been exhibiting since the 1970s. His solo

exhibitions include: Blue Star Contemporary, San Antonio; Instituto

de Mexico, San Antonio; Southwest School of Art, San Antonio;

Beeville Museum of Art, Beeville, TX; Taller Boricua Gallery, New

York; Intar Gallery, New York; Oller/Campeche Gallery, Department

of Puerto Rican Community Affairs in the United States, New York;

The Step Gallery, New York; Ollantay Center for the Arts, Queens,

NY; Mendelson Gallery, Pittsburg, PA; Zolla/Lieberman Gallery,

Chicago; the IPC Museum of Fine Arts, San Juan, Puerto

Rico; Cayman Gallery, New York; Carnegie Library, San Juan, Puerto


The artist has participated in numerous group shows, including some

at: Museo del Chopo, Mexico City; El Museo del Barrio, New York;

Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, DC; National Museum

of Mexican Art, Chicago; Art in General, New York; the Museum of

Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York. He has been an artist-in-

residence at Arts International, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art

Foundation, Yaddo, and Artpace in San Antonio.

Rodríguez-Díaz’s work is in the following permanent collections: The

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; El Museo del

Barrio, New York; The National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago;

San Antonio Museum of Art; San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio;

The Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi; the Mexic-Arte

Museum, Austin; The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; El Museo de

Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico, San Juan; Instituto de Cultura

Puertorriqueña, San Juan; Museo de Historia, Antropologia y Arte,

Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, among others.

About the guest curator:

Ruben C. Cordova is an art historian, curator, and photographer. He

holds a BA from Brown University (Semiotics) and a PhD from UC

Berkeley (History of Art) and has taught at UC Berkeley, UT Pan

American, UT San Antonio, Sarah Lawrence College, and the

University of Houston. Cordova has curated or co-curated twenty-

eight exhibitions, including the Mel Casas exhibition at FL!GHT in


About the gallery:

Since 2002, FL!GHT has exhibited the work of hundreds of artists

from down the block and across the globe. San Antonio’s “Best Art

Gallery”* was born in a small grain silo just downriver from its fourth

and current location in the Blue Star Arts Complex. Founding

Director Justin Parr and Senior Creative Co-conspirator Ed

Saavedra have established their gallery’s reputation for presenting

consistently excellent yet challenging work in a relaxed, inclusive


*San Antonio Magazine, 2015

twitter: @marnball
instagram: @flightgallery