Featured Work

image of Cargo Grande

Cargo Grande

Los Carpinteros (Havana, Cuba, est. 1992)


Watercolor on paper, 2004
70 1/8 x 98 7/8 inches.

Formed in Havana, Cuba in 1992, Los Carpinteros (the Carpenters) adopted their name as a collective in an effort to renounce notions of individual authorship and refer to the traditional guild system of artisans and skilled laborers of the past. The collective is interested in the intersection between art and society, often exploring themes of form and function in a Post-modern manner.

Los Carpinteros have created some of the most important work to emerge from Latin America. Cargo Grande a work of 2004, was acquired by Pam and Bill Royall in 2009, as its prominent red ampersand directly relates to Royall & Company’s corporate logo.

A mock technical draft in the spirit of Claes Oldenburg’s “working drawings for colossal sculptures,” Cargo Grande playfully merges the functional and nonfunctional to create a vision that is more absurd than buildable. Toying with concepts of signs, symbols and letters, the artists permit themselves on paper, to convert the hyphen-shaped trailer into an ampersand-shaped trailer. Alternately, they choose to consolidate the excessive use of graphics on commercial trucks into one massive logogram: the ampersand. In so doing, their arbitrary de-contextualization of a useable symbol such as the ampersand puts it at risk of being laughably unusable. Its elegant efficiency in the two-dimensional world of writing and drawing, will not, and cannot cross apply to the rugged three-dimensional world of tractor trailers. Such exploration into the contradictory, incompatible and often humorous relationship between objects and their functionality is a hallmark of Los Carpinteros’ particular brand of Post-modern irony.