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Artist's Work Explores Religious, Political Themes: Ernesto Pujol Begins 2002 Art Lecture Series

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NEW PALTZ -- After classes at SUNY New Paltz begin, the Student Art Alliance commences its 2002 Art Lecture Series with a talk by Cuban-born installation artist Ernesto Pujol. Pujol's lecture begins at 7:30 PM in Lecture Center room 102 on Wednesday, January 30, 2002. The event is free and the public is welcome to attend.

Images of Ernesto Pujol's work are available at Pujol is an artist whose work crisscrosses boundaries among sculpture, painting, photography, and performance art. While his methods are diverse, most of his imagery draws on the history of religious art, possibly as a result of his several years as a cloistered monk and missionary in Central and South America. Pujol abandoned the priesthood for art-making in the late 1980s, and has since mounted numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the Western Hemisphere, Africa, and Europe.

In Conversion of Manners, a recent exhibition at El Museo del Barrio in New York City and the Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans, Pujol presents a series of photographs of himself in an assortment of monastic robes. In these large self-portraits, Pujol often faces away from the camera, and is framed against a sterile whitewashed wall, lending an esthetic quality to the images. Others in the series, however, are less dire, and suggest the pious devotion of monastic life. In one, animals surround Pujol, giving him the aura of Saint Francis.

Born in Havana and raised in San Juan, Pujol has received grants from the NEA/Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Regional Fellowship program, as well as the Pollack-Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and Cintas Foundations. His work is included in the public collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City, the Casa de las Americas in Havana, and El Museo del Barrio in New York. Pujol has also participated in the Johannesburg Biennale (South Africa), the Saaremaa Biennaal (Estonia), and was the first Cuban-American artist to participate in the Havana Biennial (Cuba). In 2000, he was an NEA Museums panelist, and in 2001 he participated in the Endowment's colloquium, Artists Making Work.

Images of Pujol's work are available at the following Web page: Additional information about upcoming arts events at SUNY New Paltz is available online at or by calling 845-257-3872. The Student Art Alliance, a funded member of the Student Association, sponsors the Art Lecture Series. To learn more about the School of Fine and Performing Arts at SUNY New Paltz, visit

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