I am primarily a self-taught artist working in photography, painting, video and installation. I’m exploring the challenge of experimentation, the expansion of boundaries and migrations across artistic media.
I was born in Honduras, moved to New York City as an adolescent in 1965, and graduated from Stony Brook University in 1974. While working at a dead-end job in 1975, I started teaching myself photography. I completed a course in basic color printing at the International Center of Photography (ICP), and returned six months later to share my first portfolio of color photographs of New York City. It received a very enthusiastic reception from the director of the Education Department who convinced me to show the work at the ICP in 1976. That show, entitled “New York,” was my first solo exhibition.
After working in the photographic medium for a few years, I moved to Washington, DC, and in the fall of 1978 began to teach myself painting and drawing in a bold and colorful portraiture style. I was fortunate enough to sell a painting at the beginning of my career to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hirshhorn. That sale helped to publicize my work. I have continued to paint for the last thirty-seven years. My site-specific installations date back to 1988. In 1992, my installations took a dramatic turn. Thousands of hand-painted and hand-cut recycled supermarket brown paper bags of different sizes became a new unifying element surrounding my representational images of animals and mythological personages. These installations, along with similar paintings, reflect my concerns with ecological and environmental issues. In 2000, I began producing video and, more recently, sound and mixed media.
My work has been shown in both individual and group exhibitions in museums and galleries in the U.S.A., Mexico, Spain, Canada, Brazil, Honduras, Cuba, Hungary, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and other countries. In the last thirty-nine years, I have had over forty solo painting, photography and installation exhibitions and participated in more than sixty national and international group and traveling shows. I am twice the recipient of fellowships in installation and painting from the National Endowment for the Arts (1985 and 1989), the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (1982 and 1985), the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (1993 and 1998) and The Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1991 and 2000). I was artist-in-residence in the one-year program, at The Studio Museum in Harlem (1987-88). In 1991, I was awarded a two-year Philip Morris Fellowship to complete my M.F.A. at the Maryland Institute, College of Art. Fifteen years ago I received a fellowship in painting from The New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2004, I received two grants: one from the Gottlieb Foundation and another from The Wheeler Foundation, and participated in the artist-in-residence program at the Fundación Valparaíso in Almería, Spain. In 2005, I received a Fulbright Research Fellowship to work in Oaxaca, Mexico. From 2005-2007, I lived and worked in Mexico.
In 2005, after a long absence, I returned to exhibiting photography in solo and group shows, representing the USA at the “Masters of Graphic Arts 8th International Biennial at the Municipal Museum of Art in Györ, Hungary. My participation in this biennial included the series of photographs entitled “By the Shore of the Hudson: Manhattan.” My two solo exhibitions, the first in 2008 at the Instituto Veracruzano de la Cultura, and the second at the Museo de Antropología de Xalapa in 2009, both in Mexico, culminated the photography work that I completed while I was in Oaxaca as a Fulbright Research Fellow. During the summer of 2011, I completed a large solo exhibition displaying eight years of selected paintings at the Galería Nacional de Arte in Tegucigalpa, sponsored by the United States Embassy in Honduras. In the summer of 2012, I participated in the painting biennial of the Instituto Hondureño de Cultura Interamericana in Tegucigalpa. I received an honorary mention for my two paintings. In 2013, I created an installation for the Biennial of the Americas at the Museo de las Americas in Denver, Colorado. Two years later, I finished a new installation for the Denver Art Museum, a one year project entitled "Aqua-Terra / Terra-Aqua." This exhibition featured two video projections, nine new paintings of butterflies and beetles, sound and smell, transforming my previous installation projects. In August, 2015, I opened a solo photography exhibition of a selection of twenty-three years of installations at the Museo para la Indentidad Nacional in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This summer I will open a new site-specific installation at the North Dakota Museum of Art, one of my largest projects in more than a decade.
Francisco Alvarado-Juárez, an internationally recognized New York artist born in Honduras, has had over 45 individual and 80 group exhibitions. His artwork is represented in various permanent museum collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Everson Museum of Art and Museo Pablo Serrano in Zaragoza, Spain.