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Reynaldo Rivera

May 16, 2024


The first solo museum exhibition of artist Reynaldo Rivera (b. 1964, Mexicali, Mexico) includes recent and iconic works, as well as never-before-seen photographs from his archive. Spanning the 1980s through today, the presentation features over forty black-and-white and select color photographs, alongside a newly edited film, that reveal their subjects as they desire to be seen, against stereotype: as stars in a film of their own making. Raised between California and Mexico, Rivera eventually settled in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles and into the artistic and activist milieu around post-punk. A self-taught photographer, Rivera’s first subjects were those closest to him, including his sisters, who remained muses for decades. His work draws on the drama and deep emotion of boleros and rancheras, the glamour of both Old Hollywood and the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, and predecessors like Brassaï and Bresson. Rivera’s sensual portraits—whether staged or captured behind the scenes—depict an everyday intercultural bohemia. Canonizing lovers, sisters, and idols both famous (Alice Bag, Annie Lennox, Daniel Martinez) and lesser known (Cindy Gomez, Miss Alex, Ceri Zamora), Rivera’s lens skillfully harnesses available light to expose even the darkest corridors.

Reynaldo Rivera lives and works in Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions have been organized by Reena Spaulings Fine Art, Los Angeles and New York (2023, 2021). He has participated in group exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2023), the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta (2023), and the Princeton University Art Museum (2022). His work featured in Made in L.A.: a version at the Hammer Museum and the Huntington Library, Los Angeles (2020). His first monograph, Provisional Notes for a Disappeared City, was published by Semiotext(e) in 2020. Rivera’s photographs are in the permanent collections of MOCA, Los Angeles; the Getty, Los Angeles; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The exhibition is organized by Lauren Mackler, guest curator, and Kari Rittenbach, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1. 


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Reynaldo Rivera. Pamela and Pablo, Echo Park. 1994. Courtesy the artist and Reena Spaulings Fine Art.

Reynaldo Rivera. Bianco, Echo Park. 1992. Courtesy the artist and Reena Spaulings Fine Art.