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Paintings & Poems

June 3, 2022 - November 15, 2022

Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) is honored to launch our newest public art installation which brings together one large painting by Rochester's own Cordell Cordaro, and two poems by New York-based poet Chen Chen. Presented in partnership with BOA Editions, this project also launches a new occasional series Paintings & Poems to combine fine art and literary arts in public space. Cordaro's painting, Yellow Striped Stockings was made during the pandemic while the artist was grieving a profound personal loss, and represents our shared isolation and determination to overcome. Chen's poems A Favorite Room and i love you to the moon & address love and loss as do many of his other works.

Pause before you read this. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath, count to seven, then let it go. Now open your eyes, and slowly read Chen Chen’s exquisite poetry. Allow the images to move through you, the language to tickle your senses, and feel the care the poet put into every single word. Now bring that attention back into the world. Your life is a poem. You are the poet.

–Peter Conners, Publisher and Executive Director of BOA Editions, and co-curator of the project

About the Artists

Chen Chen’s second book, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency, is forthcoming from BOA Editions in September 2022. His debut, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. His work appears in many publications, including Poetry and three editions of The Best American Poetry. He has received two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from Kundiman, the National Endowment for the Arts, and United States Artists. He was the 2018-2022 Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis University and currently teaches in the low-residency MFA programs at New England College and Stonecoast. @chenchenwrites

Cordell Cordaro was born and raised in Rochester NY. He is a father and a husband and for over 14 years he’s worked as a full-time artist while also advocating for other artist entrepreneurs. Recently, Cordell created work with his father for two online exhibitions: “It’s Such a Cliche” (2021) and “Coalesce” (2019). He has exhibited in numerous solo and collaborative exhibitions including “Wizard of Oz” solo exhibition (Metropolitan 2019), “Indelible Reflections” w/ Jason Barber (2018), “Quiet Nobility” (Makers Gallery, 2017), “Cordaro/Hodge” collaborative exhibition with artist Nate Hodge (Metropolitan, 2016), and “Ride-it” (Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 2015). Every year Cordell sells his work at numerous outdoor festivals including local shows such as Clothesline and Corn Hill. Through the years Cordell has achieved success selling his work both nationally and internationally.

When Cordell is not painting he is still putting his creativity to use. In 2020 Cordell collaborated with Rochester City Ballet to create a short film titled “Isolation” exploring quarantine during COVID. In 2019 Cordell’s art was on the cover of Neuron Magazine Volume 104/Number 1. He is the creator of the art magazine Art House Press (2015-2018), which saw national distribution with Barnes and Nobles in 2017. He has also created clothing and digital set designs for the Rochester City Ballet including, “Sleeping Beauty”, “All That Jazz” and “Little Red". In addition Co-directed the production "Cordaro World" for the Fringe Festival in 2014 & 2016. In 2015 Cordell was interviewed for WXXI’s Arts in Focus. In 2010 Cordell created the Corn Hill poster. Cordell has also dabbled in film and is currently working on a local documentary. @cordellcordaroart

Artists and/or Poets who are interested to learn more, or possibly propose the next Paintings & Poems installation please contact us.

Public Art at RoCo

In partnership with Christ Church and other friends, RoCo’s public art program enlivens the East Avenue neighborhood with temporary, site-specific public sculptures and special projects. Support provided by The New York State Council on the Arts, Farash Foundation, Mary S. Mulligan Charitable Trust, The County of Monroe, The Rochester Area Community Foundation, The Gouvernet Arts Fund, and Members of RoCo!