ArtReview twice named him as part of its Power 100, a list of the most influential personalities in the contemporary art world, describing him as a “curator raising the profile of Southeast Asian Art.” Like many who become authorities in their field, Patrick Flores has had many years of study, having earned degrees in art history, Philippine studies, and humanities.
In 2010, Manila’s foremost art critic and the artistic director of the 2019 Singapore Biennale was also an Asian Cultural Council fellow. He was in the US to observe how museums there curated modern and contemporary art—with an interest in finding out if one was curated differently from the other.
“I learned a lot from just experiencing the museum collections and the temporary exhibitions, as well as talking to curators,”
says Flores who is also curator of the Jorge B. Vargas Museum and a professor at the University of the Philippines Department of Art Studies. “I tried to get a sense of the vast context by choosing a wide range of museum types. It was instructive to compare scales: the encyclopedic museum like the MET in New York, for instance, and a specialized institution like the Wende Museum in Culver City in California, which focuses on the Cold War, or the university museums of Harvard and Yale, on the one hand, and a sprawling contemporary artscape like Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas.”
It was a thrilling experience for Flores, whether it was the gaining of fresh insight and information, or the little outside events surrounding it. “The trip to Marfa took around 15 hours, from Dallas via a Greyhound bus filled with newly released prisoners,” he recalls. “I sat beside a young man who was being transferred to another jail because he figured in a gang war. It was an exciting four months!”
As another batch of aspiring Filipino art scholars await to be awarded grants by the ACC—which is raising funds this Saturday, March 5, via the Asian Cultural Council Auction 2022, presented by Leon Gallery and ANCX—we asked Flores to give us his choices for the five best lots worth bidding for from the auction offerings. Consider it a guide for new collectors seeking recommendations on what to bid on, and Flores wishing the future ACC fellows the same kind of thrill he enjoyed.
Pulong-Pulong by Pablo Baens Santos
Signed and dated 1980 (upper right), oil on canvas, 34"x47"(86cmx119cm)
“A powerful work of a pioneer social realist. Intensely ominous, with faces wrought in forthright outlines. Unique perspective to signify an assembly of radical wills seen from above, a vortex of dissent forged by an irresistible force.”
Angel in the Dark by Marcel Antonio
“Lively rhythm of diverse scales and levels. Persons, things, and spaces intersect to tell an intriguing story. Technically accomplished as tone and rigor alternate, an exciting choreography of details.”
Untitled by Nena Saguil
Signed and dated 1990 (lower right), brush and ink on paper, 181/2"x24"(47 cm x 61 cm)
“Traces of blank ink form a landscape or a microcosm, or just a trail of whatever liquid staining a surface. Intuitive sensibility devoted to the ever-present meditation on ever-renewing possibility. Chance and resolve lead to spiritual, even mystical, revelation, as if to say it is not true if it is not infinite.”
Carroza by Fernando Zobel
Hand signed and dated 1952 (lower right), etching, 19"x14"(48cmx36cm)
“Emblematic of the painter’s series on Philippine Hispanic culture on which he had copious research. A deft mixture of ornament and figure, quick stroke and fulsome silhouette. Painting seizes an intractable moment, an icon ensconced in a silver carriage, borne in a heady procession.”
Seaside Embankment by Jose Joya
Signed and dated July 30, 1974 (lower right), oil on paper, 14"x22"(36cmx56cm)
“Abstraction at its most interesting. Density, tension, chromatic attractiveness come together as a luminous blue mass. The viewer tries to figure out what is happening in the picture and proves clueless in the face of initially unrecognizable appearance, which invites to be parsed to its elusive elements.”
[Visit the selections in the ongoing preview week of the Asian Cultural Council Auction 2022 at the G/F Eurovilla I, Legazpi Street corner V.A. Rufino Street, Legazpi Village, Makati. For more information on the auction, visit the Leon Gallery website. The ACC Auction 2022 is co-presented by Leon Gallery and ANCX.]
Images from Leon Gallery