Rodrigo Valenzuela: Garabatos | Converge 45 Social Forms: Art as Global Citizenship

(Portland, OR) The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture is pleased to partner with Converge 45 to present Garabatos, a brand new photographic installation by Santiago, Chile-born, Los Angeles-based artist Rodrigo Valenzuela at PNCA’s 511 Gallery, from August 24 until October 7, 2023. This exhibition is curated by Christian Viveros-Fauné as Converge 45’s 2023 Guest Curator.

Location: PNCA, 511 NW Broadway
Instagram: @ccac_pnca
Contact: Hannah Bakken Morris, Assistant Director CCAC,
Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm or by appointment, please contact


Opening Weekend August 24 – 27

Pearl District Gallery Tour, August 25th, PNCA Stop at 5pm


Garabatos, a new series of black and white photographs by Rodrigo Valenzuela (b. 1982, Santiago de Chile), is inspired by the artist’s investigation of Latin America’s music scene and its attendant subcultures in the authoritarian aftermath of Operation Condor, the CIA-lead initiative that neutralized socialist agendas in South America by creating a web of cooperation among the continent’s military regimes. Using archival images, magazines and films, the artist isolates bodies and movements from certain documentary images to create a vocabulary of gestures that later become “sculptures to be photographed.”    

The title Garabatos means “scrawl” in Spanish. However, colloquially, a garabato is also an insult screamed on the streets or stadia of Chile. As an artist, Valenzuela is interested in abstract gestures that are part of the collective lexicon—desperate, sometimes inchoate attempts to communicate desire or class codes. Insults belong to subcultures and are everywhere an intricate part of national identity; additionally, an insult combines popular culture, class and geography, making it rich and particular. Valenzuela seeks to analyze the guttural social responses to unfairness and anger, zeroing in a specific period of cultural production in the 1970s and ‘80s in Latin American nations like Argentina, Chile, Peru—a period in which these and other Southern Cone countries experienced similar abuses stemming from American imperialism.

Valenzuela’s photographs evoke something between a museum and a performing stage. According to the artist: “The idea is to subvert the ideology attached to the gallery or museum as a place of canonized beauty and information, and replace it with a more egalitarian and sensitive space for the dissemination of popular knowledge and bodily wisdom.”


Hannah Bakken Morris, Assistant Director, Center for Contemporary Art & Culture
Rachel Roberts, Account Executive, Cultural Counsel for Converge 45 

About CCAC and PNCA
The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture is a platform for cultural production including exhibition, lecture, performance, and publication. Housed within Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), the Center throws open its doors to the greater public to foster conversation and community. Pacific Northwest College of Art is the leading professional arts and design school in the Northwest; we are the heartbeat of learning and experimentation in Portland’s vibrant cultural ecosystem.  We spark curiosity and sharpen skills so students can build creative careers anchored in innovation, justice and civic imagination.

About Christian-Viveros-Fauné
Christian Viveros-Fauné (Santiago, Chile, 1965) has worked as a gallerist, art fair director, art critic, and curator since 1994. He was awarded Bucknell University’s Ekard Visiting Fellowship in 2023, the University of South Florida’s Kennedy Family Visiting Fellowship in 2018, a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Grant in 2009 and named Critic in Residence at the Bronx Museum in 2011. He co-founded The Brooklyn Rail in 1999, wrote art criticism for The Village Voice from 2008 to 2016, was the Art and Culture Critic for artnet news from 2016 to 2018. He has lectured widely at institutions such as Yale University, Pratt University and Holland’s Gerrit Rietveld Academie, and curated exhibitions at leading museums in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. He currently serves as Curator-at-Large at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum. He is also the author of several books. His most recent, Social Forms: A Short History of Political Art, was published by David Zwirner Books in 2018

About Converge 45
Converge 45 is a non-profit arts organization that produces a Contemporary Arts Biennial in Portland, Oregon. In collaboration with a dynamic community of artists, organizations, galleries, corporate partners, alternative venues and a guest curator, Converge 45 develops a citywide exhibition across the metropolitan area every two years. The biennial intersects regional, national and international perspectives around art and the futures it seeks. Outside of the biennial program, the organization works in continued collaboration with community partners to support Portland’s creative ecosystem by promoting the work of artists & organizations in the Pacific Northwest and improving access to broader art discourses within our communities.

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