Drawings of Pepe and Meriela and Henrique by Jesús “Bubu” Negrón are part of The Back Portrait Project.
ART PROJECT: In The Back Portrait Project, Puerto Rico artist Jesús “Bubu” Negrón draws the backs of willing visitors, and then gives the sitter the original drawing as reminder of their encounter
NEW YORK, NY— In continuation of The Back Portrait Project, Jesús “Bubu” Negrón is presenting a new series of works for the High Line Art. The Back Project is a drawing project wherein the artist draws the backs of willing visitors, and then gives the sitter the original drawing, keeping a photocopy for himself. For this project, sitters are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis.
The project was conceived in 2000 for the Fiesta de la Calle San Sebastián in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, Negrón took on the role of a street sketch artist, but solely focusing on visitors’ backs. He sold each portrait on a sliding scale, depending on the financial situation of the participant. The idea of the project has, however, changed over time. When it traveled to Art Miami in 2002, The Back Portrait became Negron’s act of rebellion within the art fair. His portrait drawings were displayed among high-priced, inaccessible artworks.
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Born in 1975, Jesús “Bubu” Negrón lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He creates sculptures and performances by inserting small gestures into the everyday landscape. Some examples of such actions include creating a carpet out of cigarette butts collected by street sweepers or mending a cracking bronze public sculpture with a plaster cast.
Negrón is inspired by everyday people and workers who have become extremely proficient at their work through repetition. Some of the everyday workers who have inspired the artist include street sketch artists, gardeners, and artisans who see their work not just as paying jobs, but as a cultural practice. Negrón himself has worked among experts in these fields, blurring the lines between “artist” and “artisan,” questioning art world traditions.
Jesús “Bubu” Negrón works have been featured in exhibitions across the globe. He has had solo exhibitions in Embajada, San Juan (2016); Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, Italy (2012); and with Creative Time, New York (2012). His work has been included in group exhibition at institutions including Instituto de Visión, Bogotá, Colombia (2016) and Travesía Cuatro, Madrid, Spain (2013). His work was also included in La Gran Bienal Tropical, San Juan (2016).
Jesús “Bubu” Negrón, The Back Portrait July 25-27 On the High Line at 17th Street.