The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

SoVA Alumnus Roberto Lugo Featured in Solo Exhibition

Lugo image courtesy of Ferrin Comtemporary Gallery

Penn State School of Visual Arts alumnus Roberto Lugo's solo exhibition, Ghetto Garniture: Wu Tang Worcester, is on display at Ferrin Contemporary, North Adams, MA, through October 12, 2015. The show features Lugo’s work created during his artist residency at Project Art in Cummington, Massachusetts, where he used European decorative patterning, and rich symbolism drawn from his Puerto Rican heritage to create a hybrid of visual art traditions, which stimulate new conversations around cultural tolerance.

In addition to the exhibition, on Saturday, October 3, Ferrin Contemporary gallery will host several public events, at which Lugo will talk about and demonstrate his work, including:

CLAY IS HOT! Worcester-Wu Tang, Museums as Muse, 3:00 PM
Lugo, along with museum curators, will discuss current trends in artistic and curatorial practice involving historic reinterpretation and contemporary intervention.

DISH & DINE, 6:00 PM
Enjoy a catered dinner in the gallery with Lugo and his collaborators, served on handmade dinnerware made by a local potter, and Lugo himself. Limited seating. $75. Click here to inquire.

The extract below is courtesy of Ferrin Contemporary Gallery:

"We are pleased to offer the opportunity to Roberto Lugo at this stage in his career to build a show from scratch.” said Leslie Ferrin, director of Ferrin Contemporary and partner in Project Art. “His work and process are fully engaged with our regional community as he explores themes of tolerance, immigration, and historic material in area museums and landmarks. Combining his interest in social practice and activism with the decorative arts is an ideal use of the Project Art residency."

Lugo was raised in an impoverished Puerto Rican neighborhood of Philadelphia where he was exposed to violence and heavy drug culture from an early age. After finishing high school, he found that honest work alone could not support him, and was faced with selling drugs or getting out. He opted to move to Florida, where he worked full time and began taking courses in ceramics at a community college. Having had no formal art training in school before, ceramics, art, and academia opened up a new world for him.

He attended the Kansas City Art Institute where he earned his bachelor’s degree before moving on to Penn State where he received his master's in 2014. Lugo’s activism has taken the forms of fundraising, mentoring kids, graffiti, empty bowl dinners, videos, lectures, and participation in the communities where he has lived.

“My experiences as an indigent minority inform my version of Puerto Rican American history.” Lugo said. “With my education in critical theory, art education, art history, and studio art I have developed a studio practice that fluidly communicates with diverse audiences. I bring art to those that do not believe they need to see it and engage in deeper ways of knowing, learning, and thinking.”

Photo Caption: "Roberto Lugo Figurine: Big Pun" 2015, porcelain, underglaze, glaze, lustre, 15x9x8"

Roberto Lugo, “Figurine: Big Pun” 2015, porcelain, underglaze, glaze, lustre, 15 x 9 x 8″.

Roberto Lugo, “Figurine: Big Pun” 2015, porcelain, underglaze, glaze, lustre, 15 x 9 x 8″.

Roberto Lugo, “Figurine: Big Pun” 2015, porcelain, underglaze, glaze, lustre, 15 x 9 x 8″.