Baptized as ADÁL by legendary photographer Lisette Model, is one of the most innovative and celebrated artists working in the early twenty-first century. Trained as a photographer and master printer at the San Francisco Art Institute in the early 1970s, Adál was co-founder and co-director - with Alex Coleman - of Foto Gallery in Soho, NYC; an experimental gallery solely devoted to photography and photo-derived works as a fine-arts medium.
As have many other photographers of his generation - most notably Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Lucas Samaras - and due to his complex view of double identity, Adál has systematically explored identity issues to their ultimate consequences. From suggestive, “surreal” photographic collages in the early 1970s, to the ironic concreteness of his Auto-Portraits series, and, finally, to the creation of an ethereal, ubiquitous country where he and his Out of Focus Nuyoricans colleagues live, Adál has collapsed self-portraiture’s allegedly self-referential quality. Indeed, a great deal of his work’s satiric trademark arises from the constant mockery of the possibility of ever achieving an ultimate, definitive picture of one’s self.
Adál is also known for his collaborations with different artists. In the mid-1970’s, Adál met the late Pedro Pietri, with whom he developed El Puerto Rican Embassy Project, 1994 and Mondo Mambo: A Mambo Rap Sodi - a collaboration with musician Tito Puente and choreographer Eddie Torres, presented at the Public Theater, NYC, 1990. Adal has also collaborated with Ntozake Shange, creating the Photographic Environmental Design for the play Love Space Demands, 1992 and with Robert Mapplethorpe, in the early 1970’s, developing his distinct photographic printing style.
The book of self-portraits and selfies, I Love my Selfie in collaboration with writer/critic, Ilan Stavans was published in 2017 by Duke University Press. Also, Cuerpo de poema a book of portraits of poets from Puerto Rico and some in the diaspora was published by Editorial Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, San Juan, 2017, and Puerto Ricans Underwater/los ahogados by Strange Cargo Press, San Juan, 2017.
Adál’s received a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship and a Fellowship/Internship at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institute in 2016. Adál is currently represented in the exhibition Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas at UCR ARTSblock, Riverside, CA. He has been exhibited and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, the Museo del Barrio, NYC, the Museé Modern de la Ville de Paris France, and Musée de la Photographie a Charleroi, Belgium, Lehigh University Art Galleries. A retrospective of his work was exhibited in 2004-2005 at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University Cambridge, MA. He is represented in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC and a 40 year retrospective of his work inaugurates at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico in collaboration with the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña.