Dario Robleto

  • The First Time, The Heart (First Pulse, Flatline), 2017. Full credit below.
    The First Time, The Heart (First Pulse, Flatline), 2017. Full credit below.

Dario Robleto's essay on the work he produced at Island Press

Houston-based artist Dario Robleto served as the Arthur L. and Sheila Prensky Island Press Visiting Artist in fall 2016.

Part storytelling, original research, and rare sound archive, Robleto's The Pulse Armed With a Pen: An Unknown History of the Human Heartbeat weaves together topics as diverse as the earliest attempts to record the heartbeat as sound and image, the heartbeat and brainwave recordings currently on a probe heading for the edge of the solar system, pre-Edison sound recordings, and recent developments in the history of the artificial heart. The result is a creative intertwining of multiple histories of human exploration, in both outer and inner space.

Born in San Antonio in 1972, Robleto earned his BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1997. Robleto has had numerous solo exhibitions since 1997, most recently at the Menil Collection in Houston (2014), the Baltimore Museum of Art (2014), the New Orleans Museum of Art (2012), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (2011). In 2008, a 10-year survey exhibition, Alloy of Love, was organized by the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College; accompanied by a major monograph, the show traveled to the Frye Art Museum in Seattle.

Notable group shows include Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder at MASS MoCA (2016), SITE: 20 Years / 20 Shows at SITE Santa Fe (2015), Nouveau Festival 5th Edition at Centre Pompidou in Paris (2014), The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (2011), The Old, Weird America at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2008), and Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2004).

Robleto has been a visiting artist and lecturer at numerous universities and institutions including Bard College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. In 2013-14 he served as the Viola Frey Distinguished Visiting Professor at the California College of the Arts.

Honors and awards include the International Association of Art Critics Award for best exhibition in a commercial gallery at the national level (2004), the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2007), and the USA Rasmuson Fellowship (2009). Robleto has been a research fellow and resident at institutions such as the Menil Collection (2014), the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts (2014), Rice University (2013-14), and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History (2011).

In 2015 Robleto joined a distinguished team of scientists as the artistic consultant to "Breakthrough Message," a multinational effort that aims to encourage intellectual and technical debate about how and what to communicate if the current search for intelligent beings beyond Earth is successful. He is currently serving as an Artist-in-Residence in Neuroaesthetics at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering and at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. In 2015, he also joined the board of directors of Artspace in San Antonio. He was recently appointed the 2015-16 Texas State Visual Artist 3D.

Image credit: The First Time, The Heart (First Pulse, Flatline), 2017. Lithography on hand-flamed and sooted paper, lithotine lift, and shellac on Rising Drawing Bristol. Diptych, each 11 1/2" x 14 1/4" (unframed). Edition of 20.