Adál’s artistry is neither conventional nor pleasing for the spectator, as it is acquired through the continuous questioning of the particular condition of Puerto Ricans in the United States. The blurry portraits in this collection reflect the Nuyorican experience, but such a lesson becomes an ethical one: we are requested to learn to appreciate them in their opacity, because just as Rev. Pedro Pietri proclaims in the accompanying text, the Out of Focus Nuyoricans are proud “to not be figured out,” ever. If there is anything we should clearly get out of these out-of-focus portraits it is that to look fuzzy to some and opaque to others is not a condition to be feared or dreaded, but an achievement to be attained.
This book was published as a companion to the exhibits “Auto-Portraits/Blue Bananas on Fire” and “Blueprints for a Nation” at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies in 2004.
Adál’s Out of Focus Nuyoricans plays on the political implications of lack of focus for a marginalized group. They began as ‘passport photos’ for his Puerto Rican Passport project and haven’t lost a bit of their satirical bite.
Adál Maldonado is Director of El Puerto Rican Embassy.
David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies