The AP Questionnaire: Angel Abreu

Angel Abreu is an artist, curator, educator and long-term member of Tim Rollins and Kids of Survival (K.O.S.), an artist collaborative based in the South Bronx where he grew up. This summer, he joins the MFA Art Practice faculty, so we asked him to introduce himself by responding to the AP Questionnaire.

What was the last thing you made?

The last creative thing I did was to restore a painting that I made in collaboration with Tim Rollins and KOS. The painting is from a series of works based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. It was painted using Lascaux acrylic gold and given the fact that it was painted in 1987 had a patina that was difficult to match. The painting had been scratched by a 3-year old with a sharp instrument from one end to the other. It is in the permanent collection of CaixaForum in Barcelona.

What was the last thing you read?

I reread Huxley’s Brave New World. Amazingly relevant given what is going on.

What was the last exhibition you saw?

The last exhibition I saw was the Michelangelo drawing show at the Met. It fortifies my resolve that it is possible to live in perpetuity through creation.

What motivates your practice?

My practice is motivated by the simple, indisputable fact that art changes lives. It has the power to bring people together who wouldn’t do so otherwise. I am a living testament to this fact.

How has your practice changed?

I’ve got two separate practices and split my time equally between the two. The first is my collaboration with Tim and K.O.S. which involves social subversion and change as a common theme manifested through conceptual painting. The other practice is my individual venture which uses music and literature as sources to be mined using paint as the primary medium as well. Although both practices use similar sources for ideas, the individual practice was born from my need to have an outlet for projects that fall outside the scope of the KOS practice. It has taken a life of its own.

Who do you most admire?

I most admire the late Tim Rollins who was my mentor and best friend. I was blessed to be a recipient of his extreme generosity in all ways for the last 31 years. I miss him dearly.

Your favorite artwork made before your lifetime?

This is an easy question to answer. It is Marcel Duchamp’s Etant Donnés. There is a photo of me at 13 years old, looking at this work through the peep hole for the first time. I remember thinking at that moment if this is art, please sign me up!

Your favorite artwork made during your lifetime?

At the moment, anything made by Danh Vo. His current exhibition at the Guggenheim in NYC is not to be missed!