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We didn’t ask permission, we just did it…

September 9, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - February 12, 2023 @ 5:00 pm


The exhibition We didn’t ask permission, we just did it…, guest curated by Manuela Paz and Christopher Rivera of Embajada, revisits three seminal series of exhibitions in Puerto Rico, from 2000 to 2016, that ushered in an independent spirit of art making that is now prevalent in the region: M&M Proyectos’ PR invitationals, organized by Michy Marxuach; the Gran Tropical Bienals, founded by Pablo León de la Barra; and Cave-In, initiated by Mike Egan. The original projects, which took the form of idiosyncratic biennials, happenings, or interventions by artists working in an array of unconventional mediums and international in scope, in part spurred the self-reliant gallery community flourishing in San Juan, Puerto Rico today. The exhibition conveys the sense of the ambition, collective action, and self-sufficiency of the artist-makers in and from Puerto Rico, despite infrastructural limitations.

The exhibition draws on the archives of each project, following a timeline and featuring a selection of original artworks, documentation, and ephemera paired with recreated artworks commissioned for this exhibition. The presentation at CAM extends into multiple spaces of the museum, including the Front Gallery, Street Views, an intervention in the café, and a selection of sculptures in the courtyard.

We didn’t ask permission, we just did it… is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by guest curators Manuela Paz and Christopher Rivera of Embajada, San Juan.

The exhibition is generously supported in part by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Whitaker Foundation, Berezdivin Collection, Bernard I. Lumpkin and Carmine D. Boccuzzi, Nada and Michael Gray, and Eric and Tamara Schimmel. Special thanks to Barrett Barrera Projects. Street Views is generously supported by the Whitaker Foundation. The artist talk is sponsored by the Robert Lehman Foundation.

Image: Ignacio González Lang, Open Mic. Fortaleza #302 (detail), 2000. Featured in M&M proyectos’ PR ‘00 Paréntesis en la Ciudad, Artistic Director Michy Marxuach, October 9–14, 2000, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Courtesy the artist and Michy Marxuach.


September 9 @ 6:00 pm
February 12, 2023 @ 5:00 pm
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Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108 United States
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