Nineteen Notes for Nineteen Flags is occasioned by the nation-wide initiative, Elena del Rivero: Home Address. The latter is a multi-platform installation, defined by nineteen flags designed and suspended across the United States to commemorate the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, which legislated women’s right to vote in the United States. Del Rivero’s multiples, emblazoned with a common abstract, geometric pattern also wear the stains of history in recognition of all whose rights were not protected by the landmark legislation—particularly women of color who continue to fight against racial discrimination in voting.

In her work, del Rivero transfers often-overlooked or underestimated textiles from the kitchen into the public sphere. The large-scaled dishtowels rhyme with the geometries of flags commonly on display; they also belong to the artist’s interrogation of geometric abstraction. Her serial exploration locates grids of feminine-coded material culture as antecedents for “vanguard” developments in the male modernist canon. Del Rivero’s flags celebrate the everyday labor invested in the perpetual making of a participatory democracy.

In New Orleans Elena del Rivero: Home Address is presented by Rivers at Tulane University in partnership with Amistad Research Center and at Xavier University in partnership with Xavier’s Center for Equity, Leadership & the Human Spirit. We extend particular thanks to Kara Olidge and Christopher Harter at Amistad Research Center, Ron Bechet and David Robinson-Morris at Xavier University, and Henrique Faria Gallery for your partnership and support in realizing this multi-site endeavor.

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Elena del Rivero (b. 1949, Valencia, Spain) is a multi-disciplinary artist known for her works on paper and paintings as well as her sculptures, installations, and performances. Del Rivero finds inspiration in everyday life experiences and in symbolic meaning, especially double entendres. She welcomes improvisation and spontaneity into her works and practice, allowing her projects to evolve and grow with time. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2019) and has had solo exhibitions at the New Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.

John A. Tyson is an immigrant, a parent, and an art historian specializing in modern and contemporary art. His scholarship has been supported by a Henry Luce Fellowship in American Art and a Helena Rubinstein Fellowship in Critical Studies at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. From 2015–2017, he was the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow in the Departments of British and American Paintings and Modern and American Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Art. He is currently an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston.