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Becerra’s New Haven


I stopped in to see Rodger Lapelle at his Old City gallery last week. Rodger’s a pal and a great supporter of artblog. Libby told you about her recent chat with him here. The gallerist is always full of news, good bad or otherwise. He is a networker and a talker and has a nose for art world gossip and business news. Well, Lapelle’s news the day I was in affected his own business: Roland Becerra had written to say he needed to postpone his October show due to his film project, a full length animation called “A New Haven,” which was gobbling up all his time and energy. Much disappointment ensued at this news. We here at artblog love Becerra’s art and any postponed show means a postponement of our enjoyment. Here’s a review I wrote for the Weekly that later was reprinted at artnet with lots of pictures. It’ll give you to a sense of Becerra’s suburban, candy-coated my family as horror story sensibility.


But of course as it is with bad news, there’s some good news packaged in. The young artist is making a movie. How cool is that? There were two movie trailer dvds in the Becerra letter and Rodger gave me one of them to view. It was labelled “Teaser Scene.” (Is that a movie term of art?) I watched the DVD on my computer and because I’m not literate on how to get screen dumps of DVD images, instead, I took some photos and will share them here.

(image is from the dvd. It shows kids in costume for some small town parade or pageant)


The funniest thing about the trailer, and I don’t know if this is my computer, Becerra’s DVD or if this is what’s meant by a “teaser scene” but the whole short cut is washed in a pastel haze. It’s like seeing something through a veil. For another painter I would have accepted the veil but for Becerra, whose palette tends to the florid zone of the crayon box, I found it odd.

(image is candy dropping from a pinata. Becerra, by the way, went to PAFA and then got an MFA from Yale. “A New Haven” presumably is a reference to that Connecticut town that houses Yale.)


So just to see what would happen with a little Photoshop magic, I hit the “image-auto levels” command and found that they have a highly refined and exquisite color sensibility underneath the haze. Now what is intended by Becerra I can’t say but I am showing you a few of the veiled and unveiled shots just for purposes of comparison.


(image above is an elfin-like child eating candy, post pinata bursting. left is the Photoshop-enhancement)


The story, as much as I could piece together from a narrative-less, wordless trailer set to nice dreamy travelling music in a minor key is that there’s a Cherry Blossom festival, with kids in costume; a pinata that looks like a flower; candy that falls out when the pinata is bashed; and a woman who looks very very sad who stands in isolation from the rest of the partying.

(image above shows the pinata that holds the candy that floats down slowly and gently like pretty rain in the dreamy animation. left is the image enhanced by Photoshop)


The clip I saw was straight Becerra m.o. — pageantry, costumes and a deep back story that includes secrets and sadness — everything packaged with a kind of shell-shocked sensibility. I’m intrigued and want to see the rest.

There is supposedly a website for the project (the teaser scene gave the url as but it’s not live yet or at least I couldn’t access it.

Meanwhile, Lapelle says Becerra’s show in his gallery will take place a year from now. What’s a gallery owner to do but roll with it?


(last two images are of the sad woman, veiled and enhanced by Photoshop)