José Lerma Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

José Lerma
Samuel Bernard


Acrylic on canvas, synthesizer, speakers

189 x 152 x 43 cm

José Lerma’s works illustrate the rise and fall of powerful historical figures. Either taking inspiration from episodes of Puerto Rico’s wars or focusing on portraying old celebrities such as the banker Samuel Benard – considered the most famous and richest banker in 18th century Europe – Lerma creates his paintings by building layers of ball pen doodles. The heaps of cartoon-style drawings accumulate on the canvas as if struggling for space to exist. They are later combined with an array of household materials – such as pink military parachutes – which are employed in the composition to veil or frame the emerging oversized portraits. Such is the effect of the combination of materials on a large scale that the portrayed subjects become monumental ghostly silhouettes of Baroque effigies.

José Lerma
King Charles II of England


Nylon, acrylic on canvas

236 x 179 x 5 cm

The mammoth scale of his paintings is matched by the crumpled paper accumulations, that when erected within the gallery space, seem awkward imitations of traditional marble busts. Both the kitsch aesthetic and the references to popular culture heroes such as legendary boxer Emanuel Augustus alongside the ‘homage’ to ruling historical figures, suggest a multi-temporal approach to the eternal subjects of war, love and power that populate the annals of art history.

Text © Gabriela Salgado

José Lerma
Madre Perla V-11


Acrylic on canvas, keyboard, güiro

244 x 458cm
José Lerma
& Héctor Madera

Bust of Emanuel Augustus


Paper bust

Dimensions variable

José Lerma's Biography

José Lerma
Born in 1971, Seville, Spain
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Chicago, IL


Museo de Arte Contemporaneo San Juan, Puerto Rico

La Bella CrisisMuseum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI
GloriosaSuperbaKavi GuptaGallery Chicago, IL
Van Horn Gallery Dusseldorf, Germany
David Castillo Gallery Miami, Fl
Roberto Paradise San Juan, PR

Jose LermaMuseum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
ARCO Solo projects (with Hector Madera) Madrid, Spain

The Credentialist Museum Of Contemporary Art Raleigh, North Carolina
Eddie Martinez and Jose Lerma Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton, NY
JibaroJizzRoberto Paradise Gallery, San Juan, PR

The Lightweight Western Exhibtions, Chicago, IL

I am Sorry I am Perry, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY
Spanish Revival,Galeria Marta Cervera, Madrid, Spain

El Pendejo, Galerie Loock/Wohnmaschine, Berlin, Germany
Black Room, Green Gallery East, Milwaukee, WI

Cheonan-si Chungman, ARARIO Gallery, Seoul, Korea
New Prints by José Lerma, Marty Walker Gallery, Dallas, TX

The Golden Sea, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY

Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium
Galleria Il Capricorno, Venice, Italy

Folklore of Our Times, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY
Two Beats Off, Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
As if Accepting Defeat, Galeriá Comercial , San Juan, PR


Pangea, Saatchi Gallery London, United Kingdom
HeadWestern ExhibitionsChicago, IL
Dallas Biennial, Dallas TX

Paper,Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom
The System of ObjectsDeste Foundation, Athens Greece, Curated by Andreas Angelidakis
19516 Kilometers from Milwaukee,Misako & Rosen, Tokyo, Japan
On Painting Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Gran Palma, Canarias, Spain
Cabinet of Threads, Galerie Van Horn, Dusseldorf, Germany
Tandem Press: 25 Years Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, WI
MuseoSegovia Lobillo , Malaga, Spain.
Impresiones Relieves y ResonaciasUniversity of Puerto Rico, Cayey,PR
More Than a Likeness, Mclain Gallery, Houston ,TX
Swamp Edgar Alan Poe Park Center, Bronx, NY Curated by Kari Adelaide
O tePeinas o teHacesRolos, LaProductoraSanturce, PR
Pushing It; Innovative Approaches in Printmaking Dean Jensen Gallery, Milwaukee, WI

Roberto Paradise Josh Lilley Gallery, London, United Kingdom
PasionesContemporaneas ,Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico curated by Maria de la Serna
The Way In Popular Center, San Juan, Puerto Rico Curated by Io Carrion
Someone Else’s DreamHyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL Curated by John Mckinnon
Idealizing the Imaginary, Oakland University Art MuseumMI
Chiquitolina La Quince, San Juan Puerto Rico , Curated by Jorge Roman
Handler, Western Exhibitions, Chicago, IL Curated by John Rippenhoff
Michelle Grabner: The InovaSurveyInova, UW-Milwaukee, WI, Curated by John Rippenhoff
Where My Cones At?Double Break, San Diego, CA Curated by Ryan Travis Christian
Raw Ille Fine Arts Amagansett, NY, Curated by Liz Markus
Material Breach Art Amalgamated New York, NY

Unfinished PaintingsLos Angeles Contemporay Exhibitions (LACE), CA Curated by Kristin Calabrese
Go Figure, Dodge Gallery, New York, NY curated by Eddie Martinez
Green Gallery at 47 Canal47 Canal, New York, NY
Irritable AbstractionJulius Caesar, Chicago, IL Curated by SuzaneDoremus
Painting…Expanded Espacio 1414 Santurce, PR Curated by Marisol Nieves
Dirt Don’t Hurt Jolie Laide, Philadelphia, PA Curated by Bill Saylor
Espacio Entre MedioChemi’s Room, San Juan, PR
1ra BienalTropicalLoiza Puerto Rico Curated by Pablo Leon De la Barra
To tell the Truth Monya Rowe Gallery Curated by Joe Pfleiger, New York, NY
De Bayamon a La 15, Cart Wash, Santurce, Puerto Rico

Lush Life; Lehman Maupin Gallery, New York, NY Curated by Franklin Evans, Omar Lopez Chahoud
Don’t Piss on my Leg and Tell me it’s Raining Apex Art, New York, NY
MuseosPortatiles, Parking 01 Can Xalant, Contemporary Center, Barcelona, Spain
One for all Trinity University Curated by Jessica Halonen, San Antonio, TX
From NY with Love Don’t Projects, Curated by Glorimarta Linares, Paris, France
Mobile Updates ,Sloane New York,NY Curated by Amanda Schmittt
Go Figure TheHogar Collection, Brooklyn, NY
The Power of Selection III Western Exhibitions Curated by Travis Chrisitan, Chicago IL
One Degree, Middlesex College, Edison, NJ Curated by Joe Pfleiger and Phillip Vanderhayden
2009 Submerging Artists,KölnischerKunstverein, Curated by General Store, Cologne, Germany
Wallgasm, Angstrom Gallery, Curated by John Riepenhoff, Los Angeles, CA
From New York with Love, curated by Glori Linares, Candela Gallery, San Juan, PR
Rattled by the Rush,Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, IL
Objet PetitA,Spoke (With CrisitinaTufino) Curated by Matthew Dupont, Chicago, IL
Good News, Curated by Amanda Schmitt, Porter Butts Gallery University of Wisconsin-Madison
Cadaver CorpseSpace 1028 Curated by Tessa Perutz, Chicago IL

Learning by Doing, curated by Alison de Lima Greene,Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX
Works from the Permanent Collection,Milwaukee Art Museum, WI
En SusMarcas, curated by Rebeca Noriega,Universidad delSagradoCorazón,PR
NY Motion 1.0,curated by Elvis Fuentes and Paco Cano,Instituto Cervantes, New York, NY
Alogon,Alogon Gallery, curated by Gaylen Gerber, Chicago, IL
Ice Cream Show,Loyal Gallery,Stockholm, Sweden
Selected Works,Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know, (Neutral Capital Collection)Samson Projects, Boston, MA

The S Files,curated by Elvis Fuentes,Museo del Barrio, New York, NY(catalogue)
STUFF,Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Collection of Burt Aron, Detroit,MI
VAC Colección Valencia Arte Contemporaneo,Institute Valencia d’art Modern, Spain (catalogue)
Cerca Series (with Neutral Capital Collection),Lui Velazquez Gallery,Tijuana, Mexico
Someday Never Comes, curated by Eddie Martinez,Ziehersmith Gallery, New York, NY
New Labor( as part of Neutral Capital Collection),Leroi Neiman Gallery,Columbia University, NY
Cerca Series (with Neutral Capital Collection), Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA
Second Annual Dining Room Show, sponsored by Andrea Rosen Gallery,Amaganssett, NY
Passport to the Arts Sponsored by The New Yorker, the Xchange, New York , NY
2006 Farewell to Icon, curated by Maya Schindler and Karl Haendel, Anna Helwing Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Panic Room, curated by Jeffrey Deitch& Kathy Grayson, Deste Foundation, Athens, Greece (catalogue)
Constant Disturbance,curated by Jean Moreno, Centro Cultural Español, Miami, FL
Exposición de Apertura,curated by Julieta Gonzales,Espacio 1414, Santurce, PR
Fresh (auction),Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL
The Lovers (in collaboration with Jesus Bubu Negron), Canada Gallery,New York, NY
2x2, (auction) Dallas Museum of Art, TX