Coco Cultures: The Raver's Altar

Schedule of Events

Sun 10/21 - Sun 11/4: Coco Cultures: The Raver’s Altar window installation at 13FOREST Gallery

Sun 10/28, 4-6 pm: Día de los Muertos - The Raver’s Altar opening reception and events throughout Capitol Square

Sun 11/4, 2-4 pm: Coco Cultures: The Raver’s Altar - artist talk with Auddie Rodriguez

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday of reverence for one's ancestors that dates back to the Aztec celebration of Mictēcacihuātl, Queen of the Underworld. Though Día de los Muertos originated in Mexico, people across the Americas have adopted and modified the tradition with their own unique cultural contributions. Each October Capitol Square brings Día de los Muertos back into focus with Latinx memory altars, food and live music. For this year's Día de los Muertos festival 13FOREST Gallery is pleased to highlight the work of artist and designer Auddie Rodriguez, who will install The Raver's Altar, part of her ongoing project Coco Cultures, in our window.

The skater, the survivalist, the gamer, the collector, and the raver - the five egos of  Coco Cultures

The skater, the survivalist, the gamer, the collector, and the raver - the five egos of Coco Cultures


Coco Cultures is an appropriation of subcultural identities through the use of Auddie’s alter ego “Coco.” Through design branding, multi-media art production, photography and video, Coco shares the lifestyles, passions, and preoccupations of the five different subcultures she embodies. For Auddie, this multi-media presentation of Coco is a tool that interprets the ego of personal identity, while simultaneously appealing to the ego of creativity.

Auddie’s long-term, immersive project began with an exploration of five subcultural identities: the gamer, the collector, the skater, the survivalist, and the raver. For each identity Auddie, as Coco, had to acquire the knowledge, skills, and accoutrements necessary to become a member of that group. Coco manifests a gamer’s obsession with completionism, a collector’s meticulous hunt for Durand glassware, a skater’s repetitive practice of an Ollie, a survivalist’s conviction for TEOTWAWKI, a raver’s vigor for catching the moment when the beat drops, and places these crafts on the same level of importance as the obsession, meticulousness, practice and conviction that goes into the act of creating as an artist or designer.

Coco the Raver’s prayer card

Coco the Raver’s prayer card

Auddie began Coco Cultures in her final year of the Graphic Design and Interactive Design program at The School of Visual Arts, approaching the project from the perspective of a designer and not an artist. For her thesis presentation of the project, her professor challenged her to find a way to put her project out into the world. Auddie decided to kill off one of Coco's iterations; the raver was her victim. As her final presentation, Auddie had an obituary printed in a newspaper for Coco the raver, and designed a traditional memorial prayer card.

For our Día de los Muertos window installation, Auddie is constructing an altar to commemorate the life of Coco's raver persona. The altar will play with the traditions of Día de los Muertos while incorporating elements specific to the raver subculture.

Speaking about the scope of her project, Auddie explains that "Coco Cultures is for everyone or for one person, it doesn’t have a deadline and will continue until my own death, it can take many shapes, it can live anywhere, it serves the narratives of individuals and their passions; because that is what subcultures do - they display the complex blooming of the human experience with tenacity."


Window installation at 13FOREST Gallery by Auddie for Día de los Muertos


About the Artist

Auddie  Rodriguez is an artist and designer currently based in Boston. Originally from New York City, she was raised in the tri-state area and all over New York State. Auddie graduated with an Associate's Degree in Graphic Design from Bronx Community College in 2010, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the School of Visual Arts in 2013.

As an artist, Auddie has sought to develop work through the lens of her upbringing and experiences. She uses her nickname, Auddie, to erase common first impressions of race and gender in her art and design work. She identifies, first and foremost, as a woman because she has spent most of her life balancing multiple socio-cultural identities. As a second generation Puerto Rican-American, Auddie grew up having turkey for Thanksgiving and pernil for Christmas. Coming out as a bisexual woman in the early 2000s, she has spent years switching between masculine and feminine demeanors.

Auddie plans to create future work that brings into view narratives often forgotten in art and design, such as the history of colonization and immigration of Puerto Ricans, closeted bisexuality, the intersectionality of cultural identities, and stories of substance abuse, among others. Auddie continues to push emotional risk-taking in order to reminisce, realize and say something in her work.

Auddie as Coco the Raver

Auddie as Coco the Raver

In the Presence of Absence

A Cuban-American artist commemorates Día de los Muertos at 13FOREST

Still from the video In the Presence of Absence - Jose Maria & Ike

Schedule of Events

Fri 10/27/17 - Sat 11 /11/17: In the Presence of Absence window installation at 13FOREST Gallery

Sun 10/29/17,  4-6:30 pm: In the Presence of Absence opening reception; Capitol Square's annual Día de Los Muertos celebration, activities throughout the square

Wed 11/8/17, 6-8 pm: In the Presence of Absence: an Exploration of Cultural and Ecological Loss - artist talk with Allison Maria Rodriguez


Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday of reverence for one's ancestors that dates back to the Aztec celebration of Mictēcacihuātl, Queen of the Underworld. Though Día de los Muertos originated in Mexico, people across the Americas have adopted and modified the tradition with their own unique cultural contributions. Each October Capitol Square brings Día de los Muertos back into focus with Latinx memory altars, food and live music. This year, with financial support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, 13FOREST Gallery is pleased to present the work of Cuban-American artist Allison Maria Rodriguez who will commemorate Día de los Muertos with In the Presence of Absence.

In Rodriguez's words, In the Presence of Absence is a multi-channel video installation that explores the personal, yet collective, experience of cultural and ecological loss embedded in contemporary reality. It merges two primary conceptual concerns of her practice: her personal Latinx identity and environmental conservation. Through portrayals of her hybrid Cuban-American identity, deceased family members, extinct animal species and climate change, Rodriguez creates an interdisciplinary installation that navigates between worlds. In doing so, she draws attention to the emptiness we encounter when we are disconnected from our respective cultures and other species, and to the acts of appreciation and mourning that help keep collective memory alive.

Dress included in the installation In the Presence of Absence

On view through Saturday, November 11, 13FOREST Gallery will feature In the Presence of Absence as part of Capitol Square's Day of the Dead celebration on Sunday, October 29, 4-6:30 pm. In addition, the gallery will host a reception and talk by Rodriguez on Wednesday, November 8, 6-8 pm, titled In the Presence of Absence: an Exploration of Ecological and Cultural Loss.

About the Artist
Allison Maria Rodriguez is a Boston-based interdisciplinary artist working predominately in new media, film/video and installation. With themes ranging from human migration to species extinction, her work converges on a desire to understand the space within which language fails and lived experience remains unarticulated. Rodriguez’s work has been exhibited in traditional and non-traditional art spaces internationally, throughout the United States and across New England. Rodriguez's award-winning 16mm experimental film “In Between” premiered in New York City at the NewFilmmakers Spring Festival, and went on to screen in various venues across the country. Her most recent projects include several large-scale public art video installations commissioned by Boston Cyberarts and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

Artist Allison Maria Rodriguez

Rodriguez received her MFA from Tufts University/The School of the Museum of Fine Arts and holds a BA in Language, Literature and Culture from Antioch College in Ohio, obtained also through study at Oxford University in England and Kyoto Seika University in Japan. In addition to being an artist, she is an independent curator of local group exhibitions and screenings, and a participant in artist collectives such as the Boston LGBTQIA Artists Alliance. Rodriguez has also been an artist-in-residence at The Studios at MASS MoCA and, in New York, at Arts Letters & Numbers and The Wassaic Project.  This coming January and March respectively, Rodriguez will be the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Dorchester Art Project and a resident at The Ragdale Foundation.





In the Presence of Absence is funded in part by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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Elsewhere - 13 Paintings by Wilhelm Neusser at the Goethe Institut Boston

On Friday, September 8 at precisely 6 pm the Goethe Institut Boston opened its doors for the public to walk through an installation of 13 large-scale paintings by Wilhelm Neusser. People who knew the artist had been aware of the preparatory work he had undertaken while in residency at MASS MoCA at the beginning of the summer, and then in the solitude of his Somerville studio through the remaining months. But no one had anticipated how the final paintings they were about to see had transformed the Goethe’s interior of ornate ceilings and rococo whiteness into a bright meditation on the spirit of Berlin’s suburban landscape.

ELSEWHERE - provincial perspectives, which will run through September 30, is based on Neusser’s understanding of Berlin as a sexy environment of big politics and avant-garde culture in contrast to its suburbs – the Province – in which buses run irregularly and “the local library is managed by volunteers in their mid-seventies who have trouble with the online catalog.” People are born there, come of age and then move to the city to make their mark on the world, often never to return. With an empathic brush, Neusser defines the Province's melancholia of abandoned swimming pools, vacant hayfields and empty roads without irony or harsh comment. His paintings construct a portrait that is severe, lush and psychologically complex.

During the weeks leading up to his opening at the Goethe Institut, I had visited Neusser in his studio and seen 13 variously sized paper surfaces evolve from an initial state of yellow underpainting to finished works of art. When he said he had been working at the feverish pace of one painting a day I thought he was joking. But he was serious. He also said that when doubt crept in he could sometimes dismiss it by referring back to a cardboard model of the Goethe’s interior that he had built during his residency at MASS MoCA. It was replete with photographic wallpaper of the building’s interior and the dimensions of existing plaster wall frames into which each of his paintings would eventually have to fit. I would leave his studio impressed but nervous over his looming deadline.

After attending the September opening, painter Nicole Duennebier praised her colleague’s preparation and execution as follows: “Wilhelm's perfectly composed paintings fitted within the filigree panels of the Goethe Institut's walls prove the undeniable beauty of difference. Although his paintings are modern in execution and content they look as though they have always lived there.” It is an apt description for the environment Neusser has so painstakingly planned and created.

In terms of stylistic evolution there is something else to be found as well. With this body of large-scale work Neusser has moved the center of what he has previously described as a necessary balance between “the notion of what a landscape really is and reference points to it as a painterly, materialistic appearance on a flat surface.” At the Goethe Neusser's act of painting is recorded onto paper in strokes and thick swipes of paint that had been more typically found in his smaller-scale work. In contrast to the melancholia of the artist's new German landscapes, there is joy in their surfaces, a push/pull between what Neusser depicts and how he has depicted it.

Anyone interested in Neusser, contemporary landscape painting or the Goethe Institut should visit ELSEWHERE - provincial perspectives before it closes on September 30 and before the institute itself closes for renovations through the fall. Neusser has transformed an environment of ornamentation into one of meditation and meaning.

- Jim Kiely


All photos used with permission of the artist.

Call for Proposals

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September 15, 2017

October 27 – November 4, 2017

13FOREST Gallery, 167A Massachusetts Ave, Arlington MA




13FOREST Gallery seeks a Boston-area Latinx artist to create a temporary window installation at 13FOREST, timed to coincide with National Hispanic Heritage Month and Capitol Square’s annual celebration of Day of the Dead. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Mexico and beyond with lively and colorful traditions that honor departed loved ones. This project endeavors to celebrate the cultural significance of Latinx artists and their histories, which are underrepresented in Boston-area institutions. In conjunction with the artist, 13FOREST will design and implement programming around the installation to advance public education and engagement.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. The artist will be awarded a cash stipend of $450. 

Michelle Garcia, Dia de los Muertos Installation 2015

Michelle Garcia, Dia de los Muertos Installation 2015

– Artwork may be from a variety of disciplines, but must include a physical component to be installed in the window of the gallery.
– Performance art will be considered as a component of the installation. There may be some limitations based on gallery hours, physical space, or other factors.
– Artwork must fit in the window display space, the footprint of which is approximately 41" by 41".
– Artists are responsible for transporting work to and from the gallery.

– Please write an installation proposal no longer than two pages, preferably including example images or sketches.
– Include examples of previous work, submitted as JPEGs (maximum of 5 images).
– Each JPEG should be named as “NAME_#.jpg” where # is the submission number and NAME is your last name.
– Include an image list in your submission email, indicating submission number, title, size, process, and year.
– Please include a short biography, website links, resume/CV, and contact email address.
– Send submissions to Caitee Hoglund, Gallery Director, at

• Deadline for entries: September 15, 2017
• Notification: September 29, 2017
• Artwork installation: October 25 and 26, 2017
• Exhibition dates: October 27 - November 4, 2017
• Opening Reception: Sunday October 29, 2017, 4-6 pm
• Artist Talk and other events: To be scheduled

Dimel Rivas , Dia de los Muertos Installation 2016

Dimel Rivas, Dia de los Muertos Installation 2016


13FOREST Gallery searches New England for outstanding artists - established and emerging - to offer the very best in original art and contemporary craft. We are a dynamic gallery space that features rotating exhibitions every 6 to 8 weeks, as well as a number of public programs designed to inform and inspire creative minds.