Exhibition view of “Waterweavers” with work by Alberto Baraya (left and center), and Abel Rodríguez (right) (photograph by Bruce White)

The Bard Graduate Center Gallery, a center for decorative arts, design history, and material culture, presents two new exhibitions on view through August 2014.

Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture, on view through August 10, uses the trope of the river as a conceptual device to explore the intricate ways in which culture and nature intertwine across disciplines. Today, when a majority of the population lives in cities, rivers continue to serve as the sole access to remote areas and to play a new role as the axis for a different type of economics: the black market that fuels the armed conflict that has plagued Colombia for decades.

The exhibition includes 17 artists, designers, and craftspeople: Ceci Arango, Alberto Baraya, Monika Bravo, Alvaro Catalán de Ocón, David Consuegra, Nicolás Consuegra, Olga de Amaral, Clemencia Echeverri, Juan Fernando Herrán, Jorge Lizarazo, Susana Mejía, Abel Rodríguez, María Isabel Rueda, Lucy Salamanca, Tangrama, Marcelo Villegas, and Carol Young.

Waterweavers is curated by José Roca, the Estrellita B. Brodsky Adjunct Curator of Latin American Art at Tate Modern and Artistic Director of FLORA ars+natura in Bogotá, with the assistance of independent writer and editor Alejandro Martín.

Also on view in the Focus Gallery until August 3 is Carrying Coca: 1,500 Years of Andean Chuspas, a show examining one of the most enduring and resilient forms in the rich history of Andean weaving traditions — the coca bag, or chuspa. The exhibition reveals how the history of the chuspa is a consequence not only of variations in Andean textile traditions but also of the story of the sacred and contested substance they carry.

Carrying Coca is curated by Nicola Sharratt, a BGC–AMNH postdoctoral fellow in museum anthropology and a research associate at the Field Museum in Chicago.

For more information, visit

Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture continues at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery (18 West 86th Street, Upper West Side Manhattan) through August 10.

Carrying Coca: 1,500 Years of Andean Chuspas is on view through August 3.

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