Thursday July 29, 2021 – Saturday November 6, 2021
Something Broke: 2011–Windows–2021
By Mariela Scafati
97 Kenmare Street, New York, NY
Thursday, July 29th from 6–8 pm [RSVP]
Wednesdays – Saturdays, 12-6 pm
July 29th–November 6th, 2021
#somethingbroke #algoserompio @scafatiscafati @storefrontnyc
“The body, fluid barricade,” states one of 60 monochrome posters hand-painted by artist Mariela Scafati in shades that range from militant red to wild pink. For this installation, Scafati reaches back to 2011, when she presented an exhibition entitled Windows in Buenos Aires. Ten years later, she revisits and expands upon this body of work, recontextualizing it in light of the intermediate decade of transfeminist activism that has intensely impacted the artist and those around her. “I don’t know if I can define these ten years with words, but possibly with colors.”
“A self portrait in reds and pinks,” offers Scafati by way of description. Something Broke is a diary of the personal and the collective, in the form of paintings that are both poems and protest signs. It’s a window into the artist’s body as a painter, a teacher, an activist, a queer silkscreener, and – as of recently – a mother. It’s a spectrum of visceral crimsons.
It’s the color of solidarity. “Infinite happiness on the street,” she wrote in 2011. Windows was initially presented during a heated presidential election in Argentina, and at a time of great enthusiasm for the Indignados Movement against austerity policies in Spain. The work incorporated ideas from the assemblies, modes of organization in public space, and creative strategies that emerged from these efforts, many of which were inherited from Reclaim the Streets, the Arab Spring, and other global and local social movements.
It’s the color of attention. “Rush of affection for you,” she pronounced, as broadcasts from around the world seemed to be permanently streaming on the windows of her computer screen. In 2021, upon leaving a window open in her house, a neighbor passed by and said “Let me know if you need anything.” This gesture of support became more common than ever before during the pandemic, and it continues to be.
It’s the color of boldness. “Sí se puede. To smile, to cry, they are part of the same,” she declared at the time with a sense of lightheartedness. Now, ten years later, the feeling is different. It’s a sense of hope mixed with melancholy, knowing that we’ve been here before and uncertain what will happen next.
It’s the color of despair. “Constant loneliness, even between the crowd,” she remembers. Now, even as connectivity expands through WhatsApp and beyond, it’s hard to escape a feeling of isolation, as if something broke in the network that unites us.
These reds and pinks emerge from the artist’s bonds of affection through activism, and from an entanglement of art, politics, and life. They are windows that frame the subjectivities of a body that seeks to inhabit other ways of being.
About the Artist
Mariela Scafati (1973) is a painter, queer silkscreener, and teacher. She has lived and worked in Buenos Aires since 1997. In 2000, her first solo show took place at Belleza y felicidad gallery in Buenos Aires. One of her most recent group exhibitions, Transformation, was presented at the National Museum of Engraving in Argentina and at the 11th Berlin Biennial. Scafati has participated in collective and collaborative projects related to screenprinting, education, radio, and theater. Since 2007, she has been a member of Queer Silkscreeners, a non-group that calls meetings to create slogans that are printed on T-shirts for use at LGBTQIA+ pride marches, feminist demonstrations, schools, hospitals, museums, and assemblies. Since 2013, she has been a part of Cromoactivismo, a group that uses color to intervene poetically and transversally in political and social events. In 2020, she joined a collective that is constructing the Transfeminist Agroecological Garden in Buenos Aires.
Something Broke is presented as part of Building Cycles, Storefront’s ongoing curatorial program that examines building as both a place and a process. Something Broke follows three exhibitions in the cycle, Aquí vive gente, Ministry for All, and Arabesque.
A special thanks to Isla Flotante.
Storefront for Art and Architecture Team:
José Esparza Chong Cuy, Executive Director and Chief Curator
Jinny Khanduja, Deputy Director
Eduardo Meneses, Gallery and Operations Manager
Building Cycles has been made possible through the support of the Graham Foundation, as well as from BKSK, DS+R; KPF; Steven Holl Architects; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and by Storefront’s Board of Directors, members, and individual donors.