Download the HENI News app

Angel Otero Takes a Trip Down Memory Lane

2 min read  ·  10 May 2023

Angel Otero. Photo by Javier Romero. Courtesy of Hauser and Wirth

Angel Otero. Photo by Javier Romero. Courtesy of Hauser and Wirth

Angel Otero is on the HENI News radar after making his successful debut with a mega gallery in its New York and Hong Kong spaces.

Angel Otero's work has gained significant attention in the art market, with his HENI Score—a unique artist sentiment index— increasing by 107% in the past three months. His auction market sales have totaled $3.23m over the past two years. Recently, works such as Butterflies Drinking Crocodile Tears (2016) and All Smiles (2019) sold for $258,900 and $242,700 respectively at Phillips, Hong Kong, both for more than their upper estimates.

Otero’s profile was boosted when he joined the mega gallery Hauser and Wirth after a decade of representation by Lehmann Maupin and also Vielmetter, Los Angeles. He has also shown at Kavi Gupta, Chicago. In 2022, Otero had solo shows in Hauser and Wirth's New York and Hong Kong spaces.

To find out more about the artist and gain an insight into his work and rising market, see Angel Otero’s HENI Dashboard. A unique feature of HENI News, HENI Dashboards allows you to discover thousands of artists who you may not be familiar with along with well-known names.

Born in Puerto Rico in 1981, Otero studied in Chicago before moving to New York. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn. He also has a studio in Puerto Rico and one in the Hudson Valley. Otero is best known for blending abstraction and representation in his work, which often refers to memories of growing up in Puerto Rico, as well as his innovative use of materials in creating his paintings.

Otero creates what he calls "oil skin" paintings by layering oil paint onto a silicone sheet, peeling it off, and then manipulating the resulting "skin" onto a canvas or other surface. This technique creates a complex texture and depth within the painting. His large-scale paintings have been said to resemble tapestries.

In 2020, he told Hyperallergic about the greater figurative content of his paintings, partly prompted by the Covid pandemic. Otero said: “I had a group of old paintings in my Brooklyn studio, some made ten years ago, that I didn’t feel were particularly successful — they were abstract and grounded in art historical references, Picasso, de Kooning, Gorky — but they still felt a bit vague to me. I mounted them on a truck and drove upstate to the Hudson Valley], and used them as a sort of starting point to paint compositions based on different interiors, primarily from my grandmother’s house in San Juan, where I was raised.”

A fast rising star since a student, Otero had his first major solo museum show at the Bronx Museum in 2017, less than a decade after graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.