Contemporary Passions: American, European and Latin American Art from the Serapión and Belk Collection

Contemporary Passions: American, European and Latin-American art from the Serapión & Belk Collection is an exhibition that pays tribute to the artists’ passion for depicting the frenzy of emotions, neurosis and apprehensions of contemporary times. It is also an introduction to the passionate world of collecting as seen through the collection of Margarita Serapión and John T. Belk III, which reveals the modern and post-modern artistic vision of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The Serapión & Belk Collection began to take form in the 1970s and is recognized for both the challenging nature of its images, as well as the vast range of artists who created them. This exhibition grants the opportunity to present over 90 works belonging to American artists including Jim Drain, Inka Essenhigh, Tony Matelli, Kim McCarty, Ryan Mendoza, Elizabeth Olbert, Roxy Paine, Richard Prince, Paul Henry Ramírez, Julia Randall, Julian Schnabel, Andy Warhol, and Pae White. As well as works by European artists such as Bene Bergado, Amie Dicke, Pia Fries, Thomas Hirschhorn, Damien Hirst, Matthias Koster, Kiki Lamers, José Lerma, Enrique Marty, Dirk Meinzer, Claes Oldenburg, Bernardi Roig, Jenny Saville, Matthias Weischer, Rachel Whiteread, and Santiago Ydáñez. Along with works by Latinamerican and Caribbean artists Alejandro Aguilera, Jennifer Allora y Guillermo Calzadilla, Inés Aponte, José Bedia, Carlos Betancourt, Javier Cambre, Carlos Collazo Mattei, Leonidas Correa, Carlos Dávila Rinaldi, Rabindranat Díaz Cardona, José García Campos, Alexis Leyva Machado(Kcho),Edwin Montalvo, Vik Muñiz, Jesús “Bubu” Negrón, Enoc Pérez, Christopher Rivera, Carlos Rivera Villafañe, Arnaldo Roche Rabell, Gamaliel Rodríguez, Giovanni Rodríguez, Melquiades Rosario Sastre, Aarón Salabarrías Valle, José Luis Vargas, Pedro Vélez and two Canadian artists: Rodney Graham y Jonathan Pylypchuk.

For their generosity and collaboration with this project we would like to express our gratitude to Margarita Serapión and John Belk, friends of the museum for over two decades. Thank you for sharing this magnificent collection with our audiences. Serapión and Belk assert: “We are temporary custodians of the artworks in our collection. We feel more like art lovers, rather than art collectors. We want to share what we have, preserve artworks, lend a helping hand to artists, and assist the museum’s mission to educate, share, and promote the appreciation of a life surrounded by art.” Contemporary Passions is the ideal opportunity to expand on and contribute to the public’s education on the subject of collecting and demonstrate that from a philanthropic point of view, collecting is not an investment, but a passion; this practice is not solely a study of the art market, but rather an intimate understanding of the objects themselves.

The Museo de Arte de Ponce’s presentation of the Serapión & Belk Collection was part of the contemporary history of the institution as well as its continuous efforts to encourage a spirit of giving and preservation. Serapión & Belk always tell their family members, “You should collect. You should choose your own generation of artists to follow.”