Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tropicalamerican at the Triennial Poli/Grafica inaugural site

Un evento cultural internacional auspiciado por el
Gobierno de Puerto Rico dirigido por el Instituto de
Cultura Puertorriqueña  y coordinado
por el Programa de Artes Plásticas.

Equipo curatorial: Gerardo Mosquera (Curador en Jefe),
Vanessa Hernández Gracia y Alexia Tala.

24 de octubre

 7:00 pm | Sede Oficial | Inauguración 
Actos oficiales de Inauguración de la 4ta Trienal Poli/Gráfica de San Juan y Apertura de la Sede Principal Antiguo Arsenal de la Marina Española

Muestra personal
Carlos GaraicoaHistorias, como líneas, dibujadas sobre mí
Hernaín Bravo, Waltercio Caldas, Elena Damiani, Annalee Davis, Paula Dittborn, Frances Gallardo, María Elena González, Karlo Andrei Ibarra, Voluspa Jarpa, Lucia Koch, Ricardo Lanzarini, Nicola López, Mônica Nador, José Ortíz Pagán, Amalia Pica, Sandra Ramos, Verónica Rivera, Nicolás Robbio, Graciela Sacco, Rosemberg Sandoval, SEMEFO, Edra Soto, Alicea Villareal

Edra Soto

(Puerto Rico, 1971)

Vive y trabaja en Chicago
Obtuvo su maestría en Bellas Artes en el Chicago Art Institute (2000) y asistió a la Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture en Maine. Su trabajo hace un paralelo entre los materiales básicos que utiliza, la fusión de sus raíces caribeñas, africanas y españolas, y la influencia angloamericana. Ha expuesto su obra en la UNO St. Claude Gallery (University of New Orleans), el Hyde Park Art Center, el Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, la Galería Agustina Ferreyra en Puerto Rico y la Morgan Lehman Gallery en Nueva York. Fue reconocida como 3Arts Fellow y ganó el ArtSlant Prize (2014). Ha realizado residencias con la Fundación Ragdale (2010) y la Fundación Robert Rauschenberg (2014). Es directora del espacio de proyectos The Franklin, situado en el patio de su casa en Chicago. Este proyecto ha sido apoyado por el fondo 3Arts, el Propeller Fund y Notheastern Illinois University.

Teaching at the Hyde Park Art Center

Fall Session: October 6 - December 8
Happy to report that I am teaching a professional development class for professional artists!!

The Bridge Program fosters generative dialogue among a select group of artists in a seminar-style course designed to push your art practice to the next level. Led by Edra Soto, independent artist and owner of the alternative exhibition space The Franklin, and Jen Tremblay, School and Studio Manager at the Art Center, you'll work in an intensive, small-group setting to refine project ideas, better articulate the central concerns of your practice, deepen the conceptual grounding of your work, and situate your practice within a wider art world context. You'll participate in critiques, writing sessions, essay discussions, and a public artist talk at the culminating program showcase in the Art Center's Muller Meeting Room and 4833 Project Space. Advanced artists in all media are encouraged to apply.

Monday, September 07, 2015


Dan Sullivan and Edra Soto
Morgan Lehman Gallery
DOMINODOMINO is a meticulously crafted jatoba wood table with corian inlay, inspired by the cement domino table common to Puerto Rico. The immersive installation is evocative of a game room where playing dominoes invites and challenges connections amongst friends and strangers. All are invited to sit at the table and play.

Field For Play

September 9 – October 23, 2015
The O’Connor Art Gallery is pleased to present Field for play, an exhibition featuring the work Alberto Aguilar, Jorge Lucero, Victoria Martinez, and Edra Soto, curated by Marcela Andrade. The exhibition will have an opening reception on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, from 5-8 p.m., and will run through Friday, October 23, 2015.
Rather than bringing pre-existing works into the gallery and hanging them on the walls, the artists in Field for play will transform the space into interactive works that will rely on the participation of the community at Dominican University to continue with their momentum and possibly lead us in unexpected directions. Artists Alberto Aguilar, Jorge Lucero, Victoria Martinez, and Edra Soto will set the stage for the O’Connor Art Gallery to become a hub for interactions and experiments to take place, which may involve storytelling, music, games, theatre, building and science. In addition to being visually dynamic, these interactive works seek to foster curiosity and help us see things new ways, building on the community of the University and its commitment to the creative arts.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Barack Obama Presidential Library curated by Jorge Lucero

Jorge Lucero, a University of Illinois art professor, created a Barack Obama Presidential Library art exhibit in the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago.

Imagine THE BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY made up of objects and artifacts contributed and made by everyday people. Imagine that the educational content related to those objects was written, not by anonymous museum staff, but by You!

Participation is EASY and open to everyone interested in the idea of a presidential history composed and presented by as many people as possible. ARTISTS, STUDENTS, TEACHERS, NEIGHBORS and GROUPS are all welcome to participate.

THE BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY is open from June 1st to August 31st, with an opening reception June 5th from 5pm to 9pm, 2015 at Hyde Park Free Theater 1448 E 57th Street, Chicago, Il, 60615.

Here's a look at my contributions:

Uploaded on Oct 1, 2009
Ladies and gentlemen, your President is a robot. Or a wax sculpture. Maybe a cardboard cutout. All I know is no human being has a photo smile this amazingly consistent.

- Anonymous YouTube entry

May 13, 2015
Obama’s Gulf Meeting Protocol: Shake Hands, Smile, Ignore Repression, Repeat

- Medea Benjamin and Nalini Ramachandran fro

Saturday, May 23, 2015, 4:17 AM
Presidential hissy fit! Obama smiles as toddler unleashes White House tantrum

- Jason Molinet for

Happy Hours at the Antiquarian

Hyde Park Free Theater 

Edra Soto will host Happy Hours on the 29th from 5 to 7 pm at the Hyde Park Free Theater and is exited and looking forward to bringing some of her traditions to the Antiquarian, (HPFT bar)
Edra Soto will create a tasting comprised of appetizers that she used to find at social gatherings or parties while growing up in Puerto Rico during the 80's era.
These items form part of the hybridized diet strongly influenced by mainstream American culture.
Politically incorrect, genetically engineered, unpronounceable, romanticized processed foods that became paramount of the cultural patrimony of the island.
Simultaneously, a hit-parade selection of mainstream American music, highly influential to the generation of this era.
Adventurous eaters and listeners welcomed!

SPECTRA at UNO St. Claude

The UNO-St. Claude Gallery will host SPECTRA, an exhibition organized by guest curator Edra Soto, during the months of June and July. Soto is a Chicago-based artist and native of Puerto Rico who runs THE FRANKLIN, an artist-run project space in her home’s backyard in Chicago, Ill. This group show is comprised of works by Soto and two other Chicago artists, Damon Locks and Maria Gaspar, which explore concepts of politics, power, people and landscape, and personal tradition and history. The works include installation, sculpture, sound and other “compelling visual elements.” The title of the show refers to the “broad range of varied but related ideas, objects, etc. that form a continuous series or sequence,” apparent in the links that form among the artworks.
The gallery, located at 2429 St. Claude Ave., will hold an opening reception on Saturday, June 13, from 6-9 p.m. Soto and Locks will hold a performance/lecture regarding the exhibit prior to the opening reception from 4:30-6 p.m. Exhibit dates are June 13 – August 2, 2015. Regular gallery hours are Sat-Sun, from 12-5 p.m.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DOMINODOMINO at Morgan Lehman Gallery

Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan

May 7 - June 13, 2015

The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act. - Marcel Duchamp

For the past 10 years, Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan have worked as collaborators. During her years studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Soto solicited Sullivan’s services as a fabricator. Later on, Sullivan started a career in furniture design and became an expert in the trade. As intellectual collaborators, they share and discuss possible ideas to be materialized in conceptual form. Among their most significant collaborations is THE FRANKLIN, an artist-run project space located in their backyard. Dedicated to multi-disciplinary practices, THE FRANKLIN is a designed project space that is aesthetically specific but versatile enough to meet the needs of exhibiting artists.

During a visit to Puerto Rico, Soto and Sullivan encountered a traditional domino table made of cement in the county plaza of Ponce. The utter simplicity of its form made this piece of cement food for thought. Soto and Sullivan were further influenced by the popular rumor of the 1920’s that Marcel Duchamp stopped his artistic practice in order to dedicate his life to master the art of playing chess. Immersed in ideas of art and design, Soto and Sullivan decided to create a high-end version of this particular cement model. 

Their great affinity for the game of dominoes led them to create an immersive installation evocative of a familiar game room that conveys how playing dominoes invites and challenges connections among friends or strangers. The act of playing a game demands physical or mental focus while relinquishing pleasure. However, it is also an act of leisure that Sullivan and Soto can compromise to, equally excited in seek of a thrill.

Among its various meanings, “domino” is a word rooted in power, originating from the Spanish verb to dominate. DominoDomino intends to portray the various power plays embedded in ideas of collaboration; the figurative and administrative meaning of commonwealth; the inevitable variants that multiracial coupling disperses from a cultural inherence of ideals and traditions; the ambiguous nature of work versus leisure time. 

The domino table, meticulously crafted by Sullivan and the centerpiece of this installation, was made with jatoba wood and tinted with a dark patina. The graphic detail is made with inlaid corian, inspired by decorative iron screen designs commonly found in Puerto Rico. Decorative iron screens became ubiquitous in the architecture of post-war Puerto Rico due to the security they provided and their ability to allow for cross ventilation. Mid-century Spanish design elements added character. Today, these screens are viewed as much as a protection device as a language that pertains to the island’s visual culture. 

One of a limited edition of domino sets, also crafted by Sullivan, is set on top of the domino table for audience members to play. This domino set comes with a set of instructions of Soto and Sullivan’s preferred playing method. 

Another integral component of this installation is an edition of prints made by Soto. Tropicalamerican is a limited edition of evocative representations of the American, Puerto Rican, and Chicagoan flags. For this installation, Soto and Sullivan selected the ink-jet print on archival paper version made by Soto during her residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in the summer of 2014. Rigorously crafted, these representations were made using a variety of tropical leaves from Rauschenberg’s Captiva terrain, collaged with simple shapes derived from traditional quilting practices. Once the collages were made, they were photographed and translated into a digital format. Tropicalamerican approaches the patriotic art tradition that for centuries artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and David Hammonds, among others, have followed with the intent of canonizing events, aesthetics, and American culture. 


Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan design, fabricate and currently run operations of THE FRANKLIN,an artist-run project space located in their homeʼs backyard in Chicago, Illinois. THE FRANKLIN was selected one of the Top 5 New Art Galleries on 2012 and 2013 for the Newcityʼs Top 5 of Everything and Chicago Magazine. This project has been funded by Northeastern Illinois University, 3Arts 3AP Program, and The Propeller Fund. Soto and Sullivan will be having their second collaborative exhibition at Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York in May of 2015. They are currently working on the project Your New Blue, a commission to artistically renovate the CTA Western Blue Line Station.

Edra Soto is a Chicago based artist born and raised in Puerto Rico. She attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she obtained her Masters of Fine Arts in 2OOO. Immediately after, she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent presentations include: Hyde Park Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, Galeria Agustina Ferreyra in Puerto Rico and Field Projects in New York City.Trough a partnership between Alliance of Artists Communities and 3Arts, Soto attended the Robert Rauschenberg Foundationʼs Residency Program in Captiva, Florida in June of 2014. Her work has been included on the international IV Trienal Poli/Grafica de San Juan, Latinoamerica y el Caribe, curated by Gerardo Mosquera, Alexia Tala and Vanessa Hernandez Garcia, opening in the fall of 2015. On 2016, Soto will be presenting her first solo exhibition titled GRAFT in New York at Cuchifritos, a non- profit project space of the Artists Alliance Inc. located inside the Essex Street Market in the Lower East Side. GRAFT will travel to Chicago and will be presented at Sector 2337 in 2017.

Dan Sullivan was born and raised in Maine, and studied in Minnesota before moving to Chicago in 1997. After years working in both the trades and the arts, Dan began his own business in 2005, working primarily as a general contractor. Using his experience and contacts in the trades, Dan founded Navillus Woodworks, a custom fabrication business. Navillus Woodworks has done custom commission-based work for museums, institutions, art galleries, commercial spaces, as well as individuals and architects. With his wife, conceptual artist Edra Soto, he has collaborated on sculptural pieces that have been exhibited widely in venues including the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. Dan is also a founding member of Dock 6 Collective, a group of designers and custom fabricators located in Chicagoʼs Hermosa neighborhood.

Morgan Lehman Gallery 

535 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011
T. 212.268.6699 & F. 212.268.6766

GRAFT at the Riverside Arts Center

Material Normal Monumental

Participating Artists: Alberto Aguilar, Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera, Maria Gaspar, Jorge Lucero, Victoria Martinez, Maddie Reyna, Edra Soto, Rafael E. Vera
April 12 – May 9, 2015
Reception: Sunday, April 12, 3 – 6pm
Curated by Alberto Aguilar, in association with his Crossing Boundaries Residency through Arts + Public Life and Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.
Exhibition essay by J. Gibran Villalobos and Wil Ruggiero (JGV/WAR)
A diverse group of Hispanic/Latino/a artists show works using everyday materials to present varied perspectives around the monument and monumentality. Although grouped through these simple common factors, each artist in this exhibition conceptualizes complex individualities about hybridity through their unique contribution to the exhibit. These blended identities are characterized by the particular nuance of being Hispanic/Latino/a in the United States (currently residing in Chicago), often existing within multiple languages and cultures while trying to make a personal contribution to contemporary art discourse.

Riverside Arts Center

32 E. Quincy St.
Riverside, IL 60546

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chairs For Charity

Chicago Magazine &
Chicago Home & Garden Magazine presents
Chairs for Charity 
Thursday, March 26 from 6-8:30PM
at EuroFurniture
2145 W. Grand Ave.

Dan  (Navillus Woodworks) and I collaborated in this knock off Eames chair upholstered with beach towels.
Aiming for the highest by using the lowest...