Segmented Realities

by Joseph McKeown

Segmented Realities  by José Parlá at the Standard Hotel.

Segmented Realities by José Parlá at the Standard Hotel.

Artist José Parlá's recent artwork, titled Segmented Realities, is about immigration, so it's appropriate that it sits kitty-corner from our office in front of the Standard Hotel. Using his hands to shape the thick paint on these concrete slabs, the sculptures represent the translated memories from various places of his upbringing: San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he partly lived as a child; Miami, Florida, where he was born and raised; and Havana, Cuba, where his family originates from. In Document magazine, Parlá says the separate pieces "play the role of immigration" and the sculpture as a whole "carries the history of...who we are as people, who I am as a person[.]" Claire Darrow, creative director for the Standard hotels, likes the contrast between the hotel’s sleek glass and metal architecture with the artwork's rough concrete slabs. “They remind me of what the neighborhood used to be like,” she says in the New York Times, “what’s missing from the neighborhood now.”