Shellyne Rodriguez

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Artist Statement


My work is a broke Baroque. A broken Baroque. Or just Quebrao which is “broken” in “broken Spanish” and an anagram for Baroque so it does the job of being both things in one word. And just like that, its baroqueness hides itself within in its brokenness. That subversive way of being two things at once, of carrying within it all of the heavy shit one gets from the Western European canon while flamboyantly displaying its intervocalic consonant, which does everything to point to its class and its Carribean Latino origin is an effort to decolonizing itself.

This “being two things at once” is also a strategy of survival. Because in order to be what it is and be free, somewhat, it must be malleable. It must practice syncretism. Which is the art of subversion. And like Santeria hid its Orishas within the Catholic pantheon, it must camouflage itself. And when it fights, its guerilla war or the Capoeira hidden in the dance. My practice is an act, a gesture, a construction, and a narrative of decolonization.

This Quebrao is rooted within the traditions of Hip Hop culture, born of the poor Black & Puerto Rican kids of the South Bronx. Hip Hop is a study in reinvention, in malleability, in pulling from a variety of sources to sample and remix and reinvent. It is a play with language, a pop, a lock, a BREAK. An appropriation of the consumerist lifestyle imposed on a people through advertisement bastardized and spray-painted on trains as rolling billboards. SUBVERSION. The avant-garde rose literally from the ashes of burning buildings.

A broken baroque as a strategy for survival.

My work is Hip hop because Hip Hop is an artistic practice rooted in decolonization at its essence. Because I am a direct descendant of these poor Black & Puerto Rican kids, and from the South Bronx, this is also my culture. I consider the knowledge accumulated while earning my art degrees, using the DJ as a metaphor, as “one of the many records in the crate of music,” to pull from. Using a variety of sources and mediums, to sample and remix, to think and to make, I take on as my subject how strategies of survival appear in my community. This is often not far away from a study in the despair in my community, or the false hope, which dangles in every corner and vestibule, but also how we as a people sway and bend and duck and run and scream and mend and scratch and break and heal and push forward. And what does that look like? On paper? In an object? As a narrative? As an action? As a sound?













MFA Hunter College, 2014, Studio Art
BFA School of Visual Arts, 2011, Visual & Critical Studies


Community Selfie Mural, Community collaborative piece, Laundromat Project, Bronx NY
We Still Imagine, Make and Read Books, Artist Book fair, Space 776, Brooklyn, NY
Power to the People, Poder Popular, Mural, Art Connects, New York, Corona Queens
Tamir Rice Photo Booth, Window Project, IMI Corona, Queens Museum, NY
Wild Seeds, Temporary Agency, Happy Lucky No. 1 gallery, Brooklyn NY
After the Firmaments Crash Down…What? Thomas Hunter Space, Hunter college
Dia de los Muertos Solidarity Project, IMI Corona, Queens Museum, NY
Power, Protest & Resistence, Rush Arts Gallery, NY NY
¡PRESENTE! The Young Lords in New York, El Museo Del Barrio, NY, NY
Sublime of the Mundane, FiveMyles, Brooklyn, NY
Clorox/Envy, Stillhouse Group, Brooklyn, NY
When You Cut Into The Present, The Future Leaks Out, No Longer Empty, Bronx, NY
New Work New York MFA Biennial, Curator: Kat Griefen, Brooklyn, NY
Immediate Female, Judith Charles Gallery, NY NY
Respond, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY
Artists For Ferguson, Temporary Agency, Chashama, Queens, NY
MFA Thesis show, Hunter College, NY, NY
The Last Brucennial, Bruce High Quality Foundation group show, NY, NY
Individual Mythologies, Youme Haus Artist Space, Brooklyn, NY
Electrick, Michael Mutt gallery, NY, NY
BFA Thesis Exhibition, School of Visual Arts, NY, NY
Open & Social Realms, Student juried exhibition, SVA, Curator: Richard brooks, NY, NY


2015 Artist-in-Residence, Sculpture Dept. Hunter College, NY NY
2014 Shandaken Project Residency, Catskills, NY

Lucky Sevens: An Art Salon at El Museo, Lecture, El Museo del Barrio, May 25, 2016
Visiting Artist Conversation Series, Lecture, MoCADA May 6, 2016
¡PRESENTE! The Young Lords in New York, Artist talk, El Museo Del Barrio, July 22, 2015
Young Lords Exhibit a Timely Salute to Puerto Rican Activism by Azure Gilman, Al Jazeera America, July 22, 2015
Lay on hands: Interactive art show features trashy altars By Danielle Furfaro, The Brooklyn Paper, July 20, 2015
No Longer Empty: The Art Is Fine, But What About the Real Estate? By Corinna Kirsch, ArtFCity, July 17, 2015
In the Bronx, a Pop-up Art Show Is a Lightning Rod for Fear of Gentrification by Jillian Steinhauer, Hyperallergic, July 13, 2015
No Longer Empty- From Courthouse to Art Gallery & Beyond by Sandra Bertrand, Highbrow Magazine, July 3,2015
MoMA Blog: Moving Through the Migration Series: An Interview w/ Kerry Downey & Shellyne Rodriguez by Calder Zwicky, June 18,2015
MoMA Blog: Shadows and Selves: MoMA Collaborates with UPNEXT program by Shellyne Rodriguez, Feb. 20, 2014
Cake Vol. 1 Artist books, available at Printed Matter
Cake Vol. 2 Artist books, available at Printed Matter
Disonare Magazine: 01 Seven Deadly Sins by Shellyne Rodriguez
Seven Deadly Sins: Disonare Magazine Launch , Michael Mutt gallery, Lecture on Seven Deadly Sins series, Aug. 10, 2013

Museum Educator, Museum of Modern Art (present)
I am responsible for developing projects and providing multiple art workshops for 16 community-based organization throughout the city. These partnerships range from community services such as adult GED centers, to Juvenile detention Facilities and Alternative to Incarceration programs for both men and women. The projects I develop with the members of each group are based on relevant themes important to them, which loosely contain connections to the work in MoMA’s collection. I provide the varied audiences with workshops offsite, tours, or onsite art-making sessions in the museum. Sessions culminate into a group art show at the Museum.


Developed and taught a lifesize paper mache sculpture class to 25 teenagers ranging from 13 -19yrs as a guest artist at the museum. The course was one day a week for 10 weeks, and included discussions about the presentations of power in culture and history. The students were asked to imagine themselves as powerful or to imagine iterations of power. Students were encouraged to be ambitious and were taught step by step how to construct their sculptures from beginning to end, culminating in the 2016 MoMA teen art show.

• Organize grassroots community efforts against police violence, gentrification, and ICE raids in the South Bronx and Queens.
• Assist in the maintainance of the Bronx Social Center, a volunteer based political organizing & community center in the South Bronx.
• Currently teaching free art classes for the Community Action Summer Freedom School at the Bronx Social Center
• Organized campaign to reject artist role in luxury development rebranding in the South Bronx