Julia Rothenberg is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Queensborough Community College, where she teaches courses in Introductory Sociology, Sociology of the Arts and Urban Sociology. Her research addresses questions in the sociology of art and culture and urban sociology from the perspective of critical theories. She has published articles on the arts, gentrification and social inequality in West Chelsea in New York and a book on the Sociology of the Arts. Her recent research includes an investigation of the role of the university in tandem with arts and arts entrepreneurialism in gentrifying historically Black neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago and another project on green development in Long Island City, Queens. She is also working with students in her Sociology of the Arts class on the impact of the Covid pandemic on community based arts institutions in New York City. Julia earned an MFA in Painting for Queens College and a PhD in Sociology from the Graduate Center.
Peter Pacheco is, in a certain sense, an outsider artist. He is no outsider to formal training or art history, but his artistic practice and impressive oeuvre, part of which is exhibited here at the QCC Art Gallery, has been honed in private, in the evenings and days off from his job as a nurse in an intensive care facility in a public hospital, intentionally outside the gaze of the gallerists, critics, and collectors of the commercial art world in whose company many artists strive to be included. Peter, working in his studio on the top floor of the two-story post-war bungalow he shares with his partner, Avery, has crafted his unique painterly language and vision without regard for art world status.
This privacy has allowed Peter to develop a profoundly rich and complex body of work, but, as the artist acknowledges, his solitary practice has cut him off from the feedback loop central to art's significance. As he puts it: “art is meant to communicate, to speak to an audience.” We are very fortunate to be able help complete the task of Peter's paintings, to interrupt the solitude that has nurtured a vision which is private, yet speaks to universal human experiences of loneliness, terror, alienation and the sublime joy rendered by human perception, sensuality and connection.