SVA alumnus Maximiliano Siñani’s (BFA 2014 Fine Arts) first solo exhibition in a New York City museum, “Beetles,” is on view at El Museo del Barrio until December 17. SVA Close Up caught up with him about his ideas behind the project and his experience working with the museum.
What was it like to work with El Museo del Barrio on this project?
It was like working with family. Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, the curator of El Museo del Barrio, saw the piece this past summer and loved it. Since then, she helped me to install it at El Museo. The Museum was very cooperative and by November we found a solution to do it.
Can you describe what production of this work entailed?
I was doing things without knowing what could happen next. I had a good time driving these cars within the city while I was looking for auto-mechanics, which took me a while. Luckily, I found some guys at Destination Automotive and Recovery Inc. in Red Hook who could join these Beetles. I didn’t know anything about mechanics, nor did I have a very strong attraction to cars. I learned everything while these repairmen were working on them, and sometimes I even acted as their assistant. And within the course of this year, I started to love certain cars, probably because of their forms or historical context, such as the 1956 Fargo truck, the ’60s Fiat 500 or the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
How did funding through SVA’s Alumni Society come about?
The idea for “Beetles” came about two years ago. While I was looking for grants to support the project, I heard that the Alumni Society helped to fund projects, so I applied for it and I got it. I received the Sylvia Lipson Allen Memorial Award, which practically allowed me to finish the piece.
Do you plan to do more work with cars, or large scale sculptures in another form?
Probably very large or very tiny sculptures, depending of the form of the object I decide to treat—but definitely not cars anymore.