José Parlá Uses His Art to Solve Visual “Problems”

The artist's paintings and sculptures incorporate found objects and graffiti.


Visitors to José Parlá’s second solo show (through October 18) at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in Chelsea are greeted by a riot of color on multilayered, richly textured paintings and sculpture as well as a massive hot-pink mural that sprawls across the entire back wall of the gallery. The show, titled “In Media Res,” takes its name from the literary term that is a well-known practice of plunging into a story line partway through a chain of unfolding events. (A prime example of this is Homer’s Iliad.)

artnet News sat down with the ever-energetic Parlá to discuss this latest body of work and how it tells the story of his life, from his music and art-filled childhood in Miami and Puerto Rico, to his early experiments with painting and extensive travels around the world. Parlá explained how he sees paintings as visual problems that need to be solved; those “solutions” can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years.

The artist, who lives and works in Brooklyn, has been extremely busy with major projects, including the creation of Diary of Brooklyn (2012), a 70-foot-long permanent mural for Barclays Center in Brooklyn. He’s also produced a large mural for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). In 2012, the Havana Biennial selected The Wrinkles of the City: Havana, Cuba, a film collaboration between Parlá and French artist JR; the film was shown in 2013 at Bryce Wolkowitz.

In conjunction with the current exhibition, the gallery is publishing a monograph with Damiani Editore. The book will be available in December, with a release timed to coincide with Art Basel in Miami Beach.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Article topics
Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In