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Kenny Rivero

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Kenny Rivero

Kenny Rivero's aim is to deconstruct the histories and identities he has been conditioned to understand as absolute, in order to reengineer those parts into new wholes, with new functions. This process allows him to explore, and come to terms with, the broken narrative of Dominican American identity, socio-geographic solidarity, familial expectations, race, and gender roles. As a result, he considers the products of his practice syncretic in nature.

The hybrid qualities of salsa, hip-hop, house music, jazz, and merengue have an influence on the processes. Similarly, Vodun and Santeria, both present in his daily life growing up, have also influenced the way he makes decisions in the studio. As his creative capacity teeters between these various forms of ephemeral creativity, he often finds resolution in the inclusivity offered by making art. This resolve is what allows him to humorously, and painfully, tell the stories that he has lived through. Always fascinated by paint’s ability to preserve history and indicate time, much like the rings of a tree, as a child, he would intentionally hack away at his bedroom wall to reveal the evidence of the apartment’s past lives and imagine the people whose experiences were linked to the colors he found. Some of his paintings feature imagery that seems to be extracted from infinite layers of paint, while in the sculptures, he uses a uniform color of paint to fuse together objects that would otherwise exist separately. In found material, he can see infinite potential for storytelling. The accumulation of paint that results from the restoration of public and domestic spaces, discarded material from old buildings, blank pages from old books, or a bedpost used during his initiation into Santeria, become material for the objects that he makes and catalysts for the narratives he invents.

Kenny Rivero (b. 1981) was born in Washington Heights and continues to live and work in New York, NY. He received his BFA in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and gained his MFA in painting and printmaking at the Yale University of Art in New Haven. Today, on top of continuing to produce thoughtfully layered narratives through the medium of art, he is a teaching artist at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and is adjunct faculty in the Visual and Critical Studies Department of the School of Visual Arts, both in New York