An Art Show That Puts 'Invisible' Workers In The Foreground | KNKX

An Art Show That Puts 'Invisible' Workers In The Foreground

Jun 5, 2017

The first things you notice upon stepping into Greg Kucera's art gallery in Seattle's Pioneer Square are gigantic oil paintings of Hispanic men standing in their work clothes or sitting on luggage. 

The portraits are by the artist John Sonsini, who picks up day laborers and pays them to sit in his Los Angeles studio. Those workers then find their images hanging in some prominent places.

"Those workers find out that the Whitney Museum owns that painting or, you know, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles," Kucera said. "Then they send their family to look at that painting. 'That's me in that painting.'" 

Kucera's gallery is full of images like this. A landscaper holding a weed whacker over a supernaturally green lawn. A housekeeper painted onto the page of a posh magazine. 

They're part of a show called  "¡Cuidado! - The Help" that runs through July 15 at the Greg Kucera Gallery. It features 12 artists taking a direct look at people and histories we tend to turn away from as a society. 

That means painting modern-day immigrants from Central America and Asia. But it means looking to the past, as well. 

Seattle artist Paul Rucker took an image from the Confederate $100 bill -- slaves working in a field -- and brought it to life through animation. 

"They're stories that need to be told, of the unseen and the hidden," Rucker said. "But they're not hidden. We choose to make the help invisible."