Juan Sanchez (artist)

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Juan Sánchez (born July 1954) -- also Juan Sanchez -- is an American artist and one of the most important Nuyorican cultural figures to emerge in the second half of the 20th century. Born to Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, New York, his works include photography, paintings and mixed media works.[1] His pieces are held in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art,[2] the Metropolitan Museum of Art[3] and the Whitney Museum of American Art,[4] among others. He is part of a generation of artists—such as Coco Fusco, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Pepón Osorio and Papo Colo—who in the 1980s and '90s explored questions of ethnic, racial and national identity in their work, be it through painting, video, performance or installation. Sánchez specifically became known for producing brightly hued mixed media canvases that addressed issues of Puerto Rican life in the U.S. and on the island. Of his work, critic Lucy Lippard once wrote: "it teaches us new ways of seeing what surrounds us."[5]

Sanchez combines painting and photography with other media clippings and found objects to confront America's political policies and social practices concerning his parents' homeland of Puerto Rico. Sanchez often specifically addresses Puerto Rico's battle for independence and the numerous obstacles facing disadvantaged Puerto Ricans in America.[6]

Sánchez is a professor of painting, photography and combined media at Hunter College in New York City.[7]


Juan Sánchez earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Cooper Union in New York in 1977 and his Master of Fine Arts at Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts in 1980.

Honors and awards[edit]

  • John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 1988[8]
  • Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship, 1995[9]
  • New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, 2003[10]
  • Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, 2001 and 2007[11]

Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

  • Juan Sánchez: Rican/Structed Convictions, Exit Art, New York, NY, 1989[12]
  • Juan Sánchez: Printed Convictions/Convicciones Grabadas, Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ, 1998[13]
  • 1898: Rican/Struction, Multilayered Impressions, BronxMuseum of Art, Bronx, NY, 1998[14]
  • Juan Sánchez: Rican/Structions: Paintings of the 90’s, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY, 1999[15]
  • Juan Sánchez: Paintings, Prints, Poetry, Bernice Steinbaum Gallery [now defunct] Miami, FL, 2001
  • Rican/Structions: A Selection of Works by Juan Sánchez, Bernstein Gallery, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 2003[16]
  • The Masters Invitational: Juan Sánchez, Hewitt Gallery of Art, Marymount Manhattan College, New York, NY, 2006[17]
  • TRIPTYCH/TRIPTICO: RETRATOS/PORTRAITS, Zoellner Arts Center Main Gallery, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 2009[18]
  • Juan Sánchez: Unknown Boricuas + Prisoner: Abu Ghraib, at Lorenzo Homar Gallery, Taller Puertorriqueño, Philadelphia, PA, 2010[19]


  1. ^ Harper, Glenn. Interventions and Provocations: Conversations on Art, Culture, and Resistance. SUNY Press, 1998.
  2. ^ "Juan Sanchez at MoMA". Museum of Modern Art. Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Juan Sanchez at the Met". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Juan Sanchez at the Whitney". Whitney Museum. Whitney Museum. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  5. ^ Lippard, Lucy (6/8/1982). "A Small Slice of Whose Pie?". Village Voice. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ "Island Press Juan Sanchez". www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  7. ^ "Juan Sanchez at Hunter College". Hunter College. Hunter College. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  8. ^ "262 Chosen for Guggenheim Awards", New York Times, 17 April 1988.
  9. ^ Joan Mitchell Foundation: "Juan Sanchez named fellow in the Painters & Sculptors" Program, 1995
  10. ^ New York Foundation for the Arts, 2003 Fellowship announcement Archived 2006-05-28 at the Wayback Machine for Juan Sanchez
  11. ^ Pollock-Krasner Foundation: Juan Sanchez page
  12. ^ Haith Trust Digital Library, Juan Sanchez: Rican/Structed Convictions, at Exit Art, 1989
  13. ^ International Center for the Arts of the Americas. Documents related to Juan Sanchez exhibition, Printed Convictions/Convicciones Grabadas at the Jersey City Museum in 1998.
  14. ^ PR Dream: Juan Sanchez biography
  15. ^ PS1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1), Juan Sánchez: RICANSTRUCTIONS, December 1999
  16. ^ Zimmerman, Marc. Defending Their Own in the Cold: The Cultural Turns of U.S. Puerto Ricans, 2011.
  17. ^ Hewitt Gallery of Art, Juan Sanchez: The Master's Invitational Archived 2010-05-28 at the Wayback Machine, April 2006.
  18. ^ Leigh University, Calendar of Events, LU Art Galleries: Juan Sanchez: New Media Video Installation: Three Portraits Archived 2014-02-03 at the Wayback Machine, 4 March 2009
  19. ^ Repeating Islands, "Juan Sanchez at the Lorenzo Homar Gallery in Philadelphia," 24 February 2010