Hulda Guzmán: Higüero

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    A painting focused on treetops and branches filled with leaves. On the branches are people, reaching, relaxing, pointing, and looking. A male figure wears an animal mask. In the background, an animal grazes on grass.

    Hulda Guzmán, Higüero, 2020. Acrylic gouache on linen in artist's frame, 45 x 45 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Berggruen, NY. Photo by Dario Lasagni.

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    Hulda Guzmán's Higüero (2020) installed at San José Museum of Art as part of Art + Climate Action change, with For Freedoms and Art into Acres. Photo by Frederick Liang.

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    Hulda Guzmán's Higüero (2020) installed at San José Museum of Art as part of Art + Climate Action change, with For Freedoms and Art into Acres. Photo by Frederick Liang.

A banner has been installed on the exterior of the San José Museum of Art as part of a public arts initiative titled A Cool Million, which is a public arts initiative for climate awareness led by artists and institutions to expand environmental justice programming and support the conservation of one million acres of land central to the California hydrological system. It will be on view through April 30, 2022.

Hulda Guzmán (b. 1984, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) employs her tropical surroundings to illustrate her exploration of perspective and reality. Guzmán renders a world in which children, adults, animals, plants, and invented creatures alike come together to dance, lounge, congregate, share secrets, and play—all colored and enriched by embracing nature and celebrated through the act of painting. Indeed, among the figures in her 2020 Higüero are her father with the head of a beast, children playing in the tree, and an odalisque lounging on a branch.

In speaking about her paintings recently, Guzmán stated: "My painting is a celebration of Nature, and it seeks to transmit a sense of communion, of realizing our interconnectedness and sets a perspective of being humbled by the mechanics of our planet and universe. It suggests a contemplative culture based on ecological symbiosis and respect for the delicate balance between man, wildlife and the environment. It intends to transmit a perspective of synergy, recognizing the reciprocal relationship, so that we can transcend the psychological, intellectual, and moral baggage we’ve accumulated. It is ultimately a call for urgency to revere Nature in a moment when its threat and destruction are imminent."

Partnering with For Freedoms, ACM collaborates with artists and art institutions across California to install climate-related artworks on billboards, museum facades, and museum-based signage across California and online to coincide with Earth Day 2022 (April 22). 

Institutions involved in this initiative include Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, The Broad, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Getty Museum, Hammer Museum, ICA San Francisco, LACMA, Museum of the African Diaspora, MOCA, REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater), San José Museum of Art, SFMOMA, and Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.

About Art + Climate Action

Art + Climate Action is a California-based collective uniting non-profit art spaces, commercial endeavors, art workers, patrons, and artist studios in the fight for environmental justice. They help organizations (large and small) take account of their carbon output and provide strategic solutions for achieving zero-emissions practices.

About For Freedoms

For Freedoms is an artist-led organization that models and increases creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action. They work with artists and organizations to center the voices of artists in public discourse, expand what participation in a democracy looks like, and reshape conversations about politics. Formed in 2016 by a coalition of BIPOC, queer, and allied artists, For Freedoms has organized dozens of artist-designed billboards championing the voices of artists and their communities. A Cool Million is part of For Freedoms’ ongoing Another Justice: By Any Medium Necessary initiative.

For Freedoms

About Art into Acres

Art into Acres is a U.S.-based artist-founded non-profit that supports the permanent conservation of large-scale intact forest landscapes on behalf of the art community. The conservation is focused on local, community-led and research-grounded protection of dense carbon-sinks and high biodiversity forests.