Kenny Rivero’s work, which spans paintings, collage, drawings, and sculpture, explores the complexity of identity through narrative images, language, and symbolism. His aim is to deconstruct the histories and identities he has been raised to understand as absolute and to re-engineer them into new wholes, with new functions. His process allows him to explore what he perceives as the broken narrative of Dominican-American identity, socio-geographic solidarity, familial expectations, race, and gender roles. Rivero cites the hybrid qualities of salsa, hip-hop, house music, jazz, and merengue—as well as Vodun and Santeria, which were present in his daily life growing up—as core influences on his decision-making in the studio.
Kenny Rivero (b. 1981, New York, NY) lives and works in New York, NY. The artist received an MFA from Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT (2012) and a BA from School of Visual Arts, New York, NY (2006). He is the recipient of numerous residencies and awards including Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant (2018) and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Residency, Skowhegan, ME (2017); among others. Recent institutional solo exhibitions include The Floor is Crooked, The Momentary, Bentonville, AR (2021); Palm Oil, Rum, Honey, Yellow Flowers, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Vermont (2021); and Laylah Ali and Kenny Rivero: Two Truths, Esther Massry Gallery at the College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY (2020). Rivero’s work is in the permanent collections of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; and Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL; among others.