Renny Molenaar was born in Aruba and raised in New York, where, from the late 1980s, he became an active figure in the New York art scene. He attended Pratt Institute, Rutgers University, Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop and the Skowhegan School of Art, and his work has been shown at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Artists Space, Bullet Space, Nuyorican Poets Cafe and the Longwood Arts Project. A long-time teacher and curator, he founded a gallery in the South Bronx, served on the board of the Bronx River Arts Center and with his wife, artist Rocio Cabello, launched iMPeRFeCT Gallery, a not-for-profit alternative arts space in Germantown, Philadelphia where they now live.
In 2018, Renny was invited by guest curator Dora Espinoza to exhibit five paintings from his Disappointing Patriotic Sex Paintings series in The American Dream: The Latino Experience in America, a group exhibition at the Belskie Museum of Art & Science featuring works by contemporary artists who are part of the Latin American diaspora. The museum approved the work, but two days before the opening, several museum board members who felt that painting on actual US flags is offensive decided to remove the paintings from the exhibition, citing an unconstitutional legal principle to justify their action. Incorporating US flags in an artwork is a form of expression that enjoys full protection under the US Constitution.
Renny wrote about the experience of having his work censored in an open letter:
“This kind of behavior haunts our memories and our imaginations… it is an assault on our every right to express ourselves. The irony isn’t only in the title of the exhibition, but that the work is political, […] as it concerns sex, art and censorship itself.”