6ta avenida (1957)
This painting alludes to the location of the Guatemalan presidential house at Ciudad de Guatemala, where president Carlos Castillo Armas was assassinated under unclear circumstances on the night of July 26, 1957. The painting represents the 3rd entrance to the building located contiguously to the then office of the head of presidential security, colonel Enrique Trinidad Oliva. Accused of being involved in the death of Castillo Armas, Trinidad Oliva was used as a political scapegoat but was later absolved.
In the painting, the relief that decorates the entrance is changed to the pattern of the Dominican dictator Rafael L. Trujillo’s presidential uniform, a symmetrical motif that resembles those used in cliched decorations associated with the tropics. This work is part of a series by the artist, Calligeris, which was the codename given by the CIA to the Guatemalan colonel, Carlos Castillo Armas, in the covert operation PBSUCCESS in 1954.
José Morbán’s work draws from archives, found photographs, documents and other memorabilia from the place now called Dominican Republic. The artist tries to make sense of their personal history and, more broadly, the history of the island. Morbán's work creates fictions as a way to revise the Dominican collective memory and the figures who shape it—exploring political power and its physical manifestations, as well as the instrumentalization of media for political gain.
José Morbán’s practice attempts to make sense of their personal history and, more broadly, the history of the island where they were born and live. The artist’s work draws from archives, found photographs, documents and other memorabilia from the place now called Dominican Republic to create fictions that revise the Dominican collective memory and the figures who shape it. Morbán’s work explores political power and its physical manifestations, as well as the instrumentalization of media for political gain.
José Morbán was born in the Dominican Republic in 1987. The artist graduated from the School of Design at Altos de Chavón in Romana, Dominican Republic.
Exhibitions of Morbán’s work include: Tropical Is Political: Caribbean Art Under the Visitor Economy Regime at Americas Society in New York City (2022); Pal Patio at Calderón in New York City (2022); Tropo, Trompo, Trampa at Lucy García Contemporary Gallery in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (2021); Landmark at KM 0.2 in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and one month after being known in that island at Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger in Basel, Switzerland (2020).
In 2021, Morbán participated in the Art Omi residency program in Ghent, New York.
Morbán’s work is in the permanent collection of: the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection; the Centro León Museum in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic; and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.
Morbán is a co-founder of ONTO (@ontopub), an artists publication based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, with a satellite in New York City.
Morbán lives and works in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.