Page 1

2 |

Lia Menna Barreto, Rebanho (Herd), 1992

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colecci贸n Patricia Phelps de Cisneros


Some Lines of Correspondence

| 3

Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Acknowledgments

As an alumna of Wheaton College, I am connected to its past with strong ties of affection and gratitude. It is therefore deeply gratifying to be able to sustain those ties both in the present and into the future in a very tangible way through this collaboration between Wheaton and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC). Bringing the exhibition Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros to Wheaton College, along with an accompanying catalogue and related education programs and publications, is especially exciting because it represents a new direction for the CPPC. We have found that our partnerships with institutions of higher learning allow for an unparalleled depth of engagement with the artworks by the public, and have therefore actively sought out opportunities to collaborate with colleges and universities. Partnering with an academic institution enables students and faculty from an array of disciplines to be involved with CPPC staff in researching the works of art, writing texts, designing education outreach and symposia, and creating cross-disciplinary dialogues between the scholarly traditions represented on campus. Working under the guidance of Carlos E. Palacios, Curator of Contemporary Art for the CPPC, and María del Carmen González, the CPPC’s Curator of International Education Programs, Wheaton students contributed substantially to the research and documentation of artworks included in Correspondences. Their written contributions appear in the catalogue produced in

conjunction with the exhibition, along with an essay by Mr. Palacios. My husband, Gustavo Cisneros, has always insisted on the importance of education as a foundation of a democratic society and, inspired by him, education has been a crucial focus of the programs and outreach of the Fundación Cisneros and the CPPC. With our partners at Wheaton, we have created an Educator’s Guide for Correspondences, utilizing the methodology of our flagship visual-arts education program, Piensa en Arte. This has been accomplished through the efforts of a group of students from Wheaton’s Department of Education and Department of Math and Computer Sciences who have worked with María del Carmen González. The Guide will be used to introduce local school groups and their teachers to the works in the exhibition. It is often during one’s college years that the interrelatedness of ideas, nations, and history begins to be apparent. It happens partially as a response to being separated from the local —i.e., home— and thrust into the center of a more global and diverse community. There, the commonplaces previously taken for granted seem alien to one’s new acquaintances, and in turn, others’ ideas and traditions have a novelty and strangeness not apparent to their practitioners. Certainly this was my experience as a student, and so it was at Wheaton that I first began to appreciate my native country of Venezuela in a more global context, and to develop a life-long admiration for the tradition of democracy and tolerance in the United States. Those insights, although not formulated inside a classroom per se, were part of the excellent education I received at Wheaton,

and all combined to broaden my horizons— quite vividly, and in ways both metaphoric and literal. I believe that something similar happens for everyone who is fortunate enough to be exposed to the unfamiliar and who is committed to the patient process of learning to erase the boundaries. It is therefore a very great honor to be able to return to my alma mater and offer its faculty and students an opportunity to study and appreciate contemporary Latin American art in the expanded context of a scholarly community. We at the CPPC firmly believe in the important role academic institutions play throughout the world in understanding and communicating the significance of culture and the arts. Indeed, it is here where meaning is created, not merely recorded, because it is here where future art scholars, researchers, curators, educators, and artists are shaped. I am extraordinarily grateful to the Wheaton community for its embrace of this project. I extend sincere thanks to Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher, President of Wheaton College, and his magnificent team: Molly Easo Smith, Provost; Wendy P. Faxon, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations; Ann H. Murray, Director of the Beard and Weil Galleries and Professor of Art; Elizabeth Ann Cronin, Manager, Art Events and Publicity; and Wheaton Professors Vicki Carper Bartolini, R. Tripp Evans, Andrew Howard, Rochelle Leibowitz, Kimberly Anne Miller, Leah Niederstadt, Evelyn Staudinger Lane, Harrison Straley, and Mary Beth Tierney-Tello for the warm reception they have given this joint initiative.

member), Jessica Schor (Registrar intern, Summer 2007), and Jennifer Valentino (International Education Program intern, Summer 2007), deserve special mention and thanks for their work. We also thank the Wheaton students who contributed to the catalogue: Samuel Brown, Amelia Chaney, Elizabeth Ann Cronin, Maria Escudero, Meredith Brinker Ferguson, Naihomy Jerez, Chamisa Kellogg, Elisabeth Kjellgren, Alicia La Tores, Carrie Peabody, Meghan Quigley, Seth Robinson, Meredith Sanderson, and Christina Whipple; and those who wrote for the Educator's Guide: Felicia M. Bartosiewicz, Laura P. Blanchard, Andrea D. Bravo, Sara E. Dimick, Meredith B. Ferguson, Kimberly S. Ford, Lindsay E. Forsberg, Elyse M. Fortes, Meredith A. Hanson, Whitney J. Holland, Lena D. Isenberg, Katharine A. Kimball, George T. Kunhardt, M. Elizabeth Lyons, Jenna L. Rabesa, and Sarah B. Steward.    I extend my fond gratitude to the Fundación Cisneros team; in particular to Pedro R. Tinoco T., President and Executive Director; my daughter Adriana Cisneros de Griffin, Vice Chairman; William Phelan, Director, Office of the Chairman; and Rafael A. Romero D., Director of the CPPC, and his professional team: Carlos E. Palacios, Curator of Contemporary Art; María del Carmen González, Curator of Education Programs; Guillermo Ovalle, Collections Manager; and Rafael Santana, Exhibitions Manager, for their enthusiasm and dedication to this collaboration.

Our Wheaton interns, Skye Monson (International Education Programs intern, Winter 2007, now a full-time staff


| 5

Ronald A. Crutcher Foreword

The exciting and productive collaborative relationship that Wheaton College and the Fundación Cisneros have built together has culminated in the exhibition Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, on view at Wheaton’s Beard and Weil Galleries from February 4 through April 10, 2008. This partnership shares the goal of advancing the theory and practice of art education at a liberal arts college. Bringing together faculty and students at Wheaton to work with educators and curators from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC), we have, within a year’s time, created a dynamic team dedicated to teaching, learning, and writing about the achievements of Latin American artists. Participants in this project are using selected artworks from the CPPC to place the artists in their aesthetic, cultural, and historical contexts. Some of the student scholarship is reflected in the descriptive entries about the artworks contained

in this catalogue. This effort represents a wonderful synthesis of a number of connections that are a source of great pride and satisfaction for the College. Wheaton provides an undergraduate education that creates a web of connections —across disciplines, across academic and experiential learning, and across cultural and national perspectives— that equips our students to be effective in a diverse world. I find it remarkable that the collaboration between the College and the CPPC is helping to fulfill so many of Wheaton’s educational goals. Our curriculum is being enriched and expanded through this collaboration. Representatives from the CPPC have been on campus several times during the past year to meet with faculty and students in the Art and Art History, Museum Studies, Education, and Hispanic Studies Departments to explore how building knowledge in and through art can stimulate not only aesthetic consciousness but also an appreciation of historical and cultural contexts. These conversations about art empower us to evaluate ideas and core values through active observation and questioning of individual artworks. Students come to appreciate the similarities and differences in artistic expression within the United States as well as among countries and

cultures around the globe, thus deepening and broadening their connection to a diverse, multicultural, ever-evolving world. In our experiential learning program, since January 2007, three Wheaton students have served as interns at the New York offices of the Fundación Cisneros, where they have gained valuable skills working with the Curator of International Education Programs and with the Collections Manager and Associate Registrar of the CPPC. The first Wheaton student to intern continued her work with original sources and contributed to a family guide for a CPPC exhibition in the Dominican Republic. I was pleased that she was able to travel to the Dominican Republic to introduce the guide at the family festival during the exhibition’s opening festivities. This same intern is now employed full-time at the New York offices of the Fundación Cisneros–quite an accomplishment for someone who just graduated from Wheaton in May 2007!

historical links among the artists, portray thematic visions that they share, and create strategies to connect the emotional and conceptual activities within the art and the viewer. It is with greatest pleasure that we acknowledge the Cisneros family, especially Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, for her interest in and support of the collaboration between the CPPC and her alma mater, Wheaton College. It is an honor that the faculty, students, and staff at Wheaton, along with teachers and students in elementary and secondary schools and the general public in our neighboring communities, are working with and enjoying access to one of the world’s foremost collections of Latin American art. We are grateful for this exceptional opportunity to share a stimulating, satisfying, and illuminating artistic and human experience.

We extend our thanks to the members of the wonderful team at the Fundación Cisneros and the CPPC who are responsible for defining and giving shape to the exhibition Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. We appreciate their work to explore and underscore the connections theme by selecting artworks that establish


| 7

Dulce G贸mez, Autorretrato an贸nimo (Anonymous Self-Portrait), 1995

Contents Some Lines of Correspondence


Carlos E. Palacios

Essays by Wheaton Students


Exhibition Checklist


Biographical Notes


Some Lines of Correspondence Carlos E. Palacios

…I would certainly like to see a drawing, to understand it better. —I will draw it for you, but do first let me tell you the other measurements of the wood and the column and also of the base. —Very well, but I definitely want you to draw me one.— Filarete (Antonio di Piero Averlino), Treatise on Architecture (from a dialogue on the structure of a capital), c. 1461–64

There are two meanings for the word correspondence: one meaning refers to written communication; the other denotes the connection that exists or is established between different elements of a single group. Taking this second meaning, correspondence is an apt concept for exploring works in a multivalent whole such as the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. Many of the artworks that make up the collection establish relationships with one another1—corresponding, we might say—beyond their formal links, when we approach them from different points of interpretation. One of the major elements weaving in and out of the associations that can be made between the works included in the exhibition Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros is the line, a recurrent motif. The line is both the starting point and the thread that runs through all the correspondences. Like a game with mirrors, the line slips from one work to another, creating an echo with resonances that can be felt in different ways, and in different

spaces. Whether as drawing—the technique in which the line has evolved with real majesty—on paper (a support historically paired with drawing), or in the dynamic context of contemporary art, the line plays a critical role.

The story of the origins of drawing is recounted by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History. It is actually a love story: The daughter of a Corinthian potter named Dibutades traces the shadow of her lover’s profile on a rock before his departure. The meanings that this tale implies are twofold. First, the drawing in the story came into existence for the sake of memory. It is an act recording a loss, and as such is the original process for capturing—and reproducing—a desired image of the world. Second, the action described derives from an abstraction—the shadow—and not from reality (the lover, who would be the true “model” for the drawing on stone). That is to say, the lines made by the abandoned

young woman, in fact, constitute a drawing that corresponds to another, earlier, image created by the sunlight as it fell on her beloved’s head. It is from these conclusions about drawing, which are all interrelated, that the works brought together in this exhibition come. Furthermore, stories like this—and others which, as we shall see, have drawing or the line as their central motif—offer a faithful description of many works of art, disconnected at the moment of their execution from any theoretical text or treatise. For example, Pliny’s allegory offers a beautifully efficient description of Venezuelan artist Roberto Obregón’s Niagara VI (Ele A y Eme Be), from 1999. Obregón, just like Dibutades’s daughter, reproduces the outlines of human silhouettes, which are placed equidistantly, at the edges of his complex installation.

Roberto Obregón. Niagara VI (Ele A y Eme Be), 1999 (Detail)

The images correspond to people loved and admired by the artist. The black cutouts resemble the shadow of the lover’s head in Pliny’s story. In addition, similar to the legend, the outlines that Obregón “draws” follow those of photographs of the subjects, images that are also “shadows” of the originals. If the sun outlines the suitor’s silhouette on the rock in the Roman story, in the Greek myth of Narcissus, it reflects it on the surface of a lake. The face reflected (the image created, one might say) is of another young man, in this case, one in love with his own countenance. The works in Oscar Muñoz’s Narciso seco (Dry Narcissus), from 1996, are in a sense the remains of this portrait of vanity, rendered in powdered charcoal (a material that is emblematic of

Oscar Muñoz. Narciso seco (Dry Narcissus), 1996

1 The presence in the exhibition of three "modern" artists— Alejandro Otero , Gego, and Hélio Oiticica—illustrates the relationships that can arise between the various areas of the CPPC. In this case the modern works help establish a referential bridge between the line in modernity and in the contemporary works in Correspondences.

Some Lines of Correspondence

| 11

portraiture). As in Obregón’s work, Muñoz’s figures are, in their own way, the shadow of Narcissus’s face, left behind when the reflecting waters have dried up.

In the history of painting —one might go so far as to say, in art history in general—drawing has been regarded as a subordinate preparation for painting. This extends as far back as ancient times; one only has to look at Pliny’s identification of drawing as the origin of painting in his Natural History.

José Gabriel Fernández. Tablón No. 3 (Board No. 3), 2006

12 |

The boundaries that separate drawing from other art techniques have shown themselves to be movable in various historical contexts, however, manifesting different levels of correspondence between the techniques. Contemporary art has played down the importance of these interrelationships, but has not managed to erase it completely. The works assembled in the exhibition under discussion illustrate the continuing validity of these correspondences. It is commonly accepted that the basis of drawing is the line. Furthermore, the line “is more about intelligibility than sensitivity (as compared to color, for example). The line responds to an intellectual sense of order and is the result of intelligence’s power of organization.”2 Certainly, drawing is the rationalist strategy of precision and layout

José Gabriel Fernández. Tablón No. 2 (Board No. 2), 2006

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

of shapes of the world on the pictorial plane. It is what León Battista Alberti identified in Book Two of his 1435 treatise De Pictura (On Painting) as the contorno (outline), the first of three components that together make up painting. The outline defines the object and places it in pictorial space, and as far as this Italian Renaissance essayist is concerned, the correct execution of it will result in a good composition: “I would wish that people only seek exactitude of outline in a drawing, where it is absolutely necessary to use infinite diligence and care, since one could never praise a composition, or good use of lighting, if the drawing is wrong.”3 This precept finds a contemporary interpretation in the Tablón (Board) series from 2006, by José Gabriel Fernández, whose focal point is the outlines of sinuous shapes, which follow the volumetric planes and establish the spatial—and linear—connections that appear between

the shapes. The Tablón reliefs—whose name comes from a paradigmatic series of Geometric Abstract works by the modern Venezuelan artist Alejandro Otero— represent a highly refined synthesis of sculptural volumes, inspired by the fragile geometry formed by the twisting and turning of the matador’s cape and muleta during a bullfight. We might say that Fernandez’s Tablón paintings are the outlines —according to Alberti’s definition— of these ephemeral bullfighting volumes.

The Latin for the word drawing is delineo, which means marking out limits, or casting out lines. There is no actual Latin word for a drawn work, the closest being imago (image). The idea of throwing out lines into the void, into space, has echoes in the work of Magdalena Fernández. Her Cubo móvil (Mobile Cube), from 1998, made of polished aluminum “twigs,” casts lines

out into the air, creating a perfect Platonic cube. Not conventional drawing, these lines in space, in nonstop movement, at once transform, proclaim, and disfigure the ideal image of geometry.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the German art historian Heinrich Wölfflin—in keeping with his principle of classification according to style—stated that the differences between Renaissance and Baroque art corresponded to the linear style of the first versus the pictorial style of the second. Regardless of the validity of Wölfflin’s claim, using the classical definition of linear drawing,4 we would have to classify Sigfredo Chacón’s Post-Conceptual painting—represented in this exhibition

by Dibujo plastificado No. 12 (Laminated Drawing No. 12), from 1992—as linear in style. Chacón’s work presents new ways of painting, based on grids as a recurrent graphic motif. The repeated introduction of this pattern into different plastic contexts (as seen in Made In, from 1975) organizes the painting’s space, a gesture distantly related to the Renaissance technique of perspective projection. Another work that evokes this tradition in the way it visualizes the world as a linear arrangement is Dois estudos sobre uma dimensão perdida (Two Studies for One Lost Dimension), from 1996, by the Brazilian José Damasceno. The artist brings into the present the Renaissance convention of perspective

2 G. M. Borrás, quoted in Eduard Carbonell i Esteller, “La Pintura,” in Mireia Freixa, Eduard Carbonell i Estellar, et al., Introducción a la Historia del Arte (Barcelona: Barcanova, 1990), p. 174.

Sigfredo Chacón. Dibujo plastificado No. 12 (Laminated Drawing No. 12) 1992

3 Leon Battista Alberti, “De Pictura” (1435), in Juan Miguel Muñoz, Les fonts de l´història de l’art d´época moderna i contemporània (Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona, n.d), p. 39. 4 Delineation using segments of geometric lines generally accomplished with the aid of tools such as the ruler, the set square, compasses, drawing pen, and so on. Translated from Spanish Royal Academy, Diccionario de la Lengua Española, 22nd ed. (2001).

Some Lines of Correspondence

| 13

drawing and painting, realizing it as a three-dimensional, sculptural form in iron and nylon-covered rubber cord. The setting for his projection is not, in this case, the two-dimensional surface of paper but rather the physical, real space of the exhibition room. Both cases reaffirm the rule set down by the Italian Renaissance architect Vignola in his treatise Le due regole della propesctiva practica (The Two Rules of Practical Perspective): Everything that appears in view will terminate or vanish at a single point.

Nulla dies sine linea (“No day without a line”), asserts Pliny the Elder. This could perfectly describe both Análisis (Analysis), from 2000, a video “intervention” in a drawing by Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, and Velocidades (Velocities), from 2005, an installation piece by Danilo Dueñas. In Análisis, a hand (we can suppose it is the artist’s) is videotaped drawing free-form shapes whose direction is determined by only two guidelines that we might term “compositional”: The pen is obliged to pass through the same starting point,

and it cannot be taken off the paper. In Velocidades, Dueñas creates a spatial intervention consisting of numerous lines, the material for which is found at the site where the work is installed. There is a paradox in both works: The limits of the drawing are fixed; however, the line is insistent, its presence eternally returning, as if every day there must be a new line on the wall, a new stroke of the pen on the paper.

Francisco Pacheco—the most well-known essayist from the Baroque period in Seville and also mentor and father-in-law of the most famous of Sevillian painters, Don Diego Velázquez—in his Arte de la Pintura, cursed “those who say that in order to paint one does not need to study drawing; these are bastard offspring of painting, recently referred to as daubers or pasters; for if you took drawing out of painting, it would become a common trade, like any other, as it is in the hands of those who practice it in such a way. These are rightly called tradesmen, and are treated as such;

Danilo Dueñas. Velocidades (Velocities), 2005

14 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

not as artists, because they proceed more or less without reason or art, as can be seen in their works, where all they care about is what they can gain for themselves, rendering themselves unworthy of being called painters.”5 The modern painter Alejandro Otero can be considered to have internalized the lessons of drawing in a manner that would have passed inspection by Pacheco. His works bring together every modulation of the drawn line. An untitled nude from 1945 develops, with the accuracy characteristic of academic and “life” drawing, the strengths of the line as an outline, value, and movement. These same characteristics occur (less obviously) in Otero’s Coloritmo (Colorhythm) series, begun in 1955. For an idea of how this might be so, let us turn once again to Pacheco, who quoted the answer of another Sevillian painter, the master

Francisco de Medina, when he asked him, “What is painting?” To the latter, it was “art that through a variety of lines and colors, perfectly presents to one’s vision all it could perceive of objects.”6 Medina goes on— through Pacheco—to put the objects into three groups (genres): natural, artificial, “or shaped by thought and consideration of the soul.” These last are those “that figure in understanding with wise consideration.” By extension, one can view Geometric Abstraction as a genre molded by thought, and figured—made a figure—by reason. Otero’s Coloritmos embody, using a variety of lines and colors, this genre created through pure reflection.

It may seem incongruous, but for a good part of the generation of young Venezuelan artists who began their artistic journey in the early 1970s linked to the avantgarde’s Conceptual and Post-Conceptual experiments, it was not necessary to sacrifice either the recent past or its major players. They did not look on the masters

as having had their day. It is from this situation that the work of Gego derives its significance. Here was an artist who—unlike the Kinetic masters—acted as a lynchpin between the abstract and modern aesthetic and the new protagonists of contemporary art. She occupied this role, among others, through her elevation of the line. The line serves themes that run throughout all of Gego’s work as well as through the artist’s teachings: “space, volume and organization,” as she comments in a book of technical drawings by some of her students.7 Chief among Gego’s linear configurations are her planar and three-dimensional networks, in particular, the grid—a motif that also attracted younger artists. A meeting of generations occurs when one views the grids of her 1973 pen-and-ink drawings Untitled (73-13, 73-14, 73-16, and 73-17) along with grids by Sigfredo Chacón or Roberto Obregón, to name just two examples. Obviously, there are more differences than similarities in this generational correspondence: for Gego, the retícula

Alejandro Otero. Untitled, 1945 5 Francisco Pacheco, “Arte de la pintura, su antigüedad, y grandezas,” in Francisco Calvo Serraller, Teoría de la pintura del Siglo de Oro (Madrid: Cátedra, 1991), p. 411. 6 Francisco Calvo Serrader, Teoría de la pintura del Siglo de Oro (Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra, 1991), p. 375. 7 Gego, “Presentación,” in Ruth Auerbach, Pedro Mancilla, and Leonel Vera, Espacio Volumen Organización 2 (Caracas: Monteávila Editions, 1979), p. v.

Some Lines of Correspondence

| 15

had the ambitious mission of transforming three-dimensional space. For Chacón and Obregón this pattern of pure linearity presupposes, on the one hand, a structure applied to organize a rhetoric of plastic (in the case of Chacón) or semantic (in the case of Obregón) images; on the other hand, it reflects vestiges of graphic design, an area that both artists were involved in at the beginning of their respective artistic careers. The grids are linear, technical structures that are inserted, as Venezuelan art critic and historian Lourdes Blanco points out, into “a pictorial theme that comes from the materials themselves used by the designer-artist and the painterartist.”8

It is commonplace to define contemporary art in terms of its continuing intertextual mission. Going beyond the fact that this historical tradition has a specific weight, various levels of interdiscursivity can be established in contemporary art. The crisscrossing of borrowed narratives means that artists develop their own strategies of appropriation and montage.

The American Conceptual artist Sherrie Levine, in an untitled painting from 1986, reaffirms, through these ideas, “the radical negation of authorship,” 9 as Benjamín Buchloh reminds us. Thus, by not knowing who created the work whose fragment we see reproduced in Levine’s “montage,” we see the painting as a formal device composed of colored vertical lines, which, “corresponding” with other works in the exhibition, takes over a legitimate area of ownership, like an immaculate Geometric Abstract drawing.

Venezuelan art historian Miguel Arroyo explains that “according to stories both ancient and modern, paper was invented in the year 105 A.D. by an intelligent Chinese eunuch called T’sai Lun. Dead set against any kind of waste, and obsessed with the

idea of finding a use for the scraps left over from the material used to write on,”10 T’sai Lun turned this waste into paper. Between T’sai Lun’s act and the group of small sculptures created out of discarded paper that make up Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles’s A Diferença entre o circulo e a esfera é o peso (The Difference between the Circle and the Sphere Is Weight), from 1976, there is both equivalence and continuity. Both transform refuse into something positive. Meireles changes T’sai Lun’s historic invention into residue. In a sense he transforms paper into the scraps of material that so obsessed its inventor. The gesture that creates this work corresponds to the action of discarding a bad drawing, resulting in an analysis of sensory relationships that go beyond the visible,

Sherrie Levine. Untitled, 1986

16 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

giving the waste paper—like the scraps in the Chinese story—a new, and now poetic, use. Through this action, Meireles endows the material with a particular behavior, giving unexpected values of density and weight to the pure, light, geometric shapes, whose sign of identity has always been historically connected with the clear and the subtle.

The divisions between the elements of drawing and other media are blurred in many other works, creating new correspondences. According to art historian Eduard Carbonell i Esteller, “The theoretical distinction between graphic delimitation and coloristic material cannot guarantee any criteria for differentiation, because a thickish line can be considered a colored area, just as an area of color can be reduced

to the linearity of a single stroke.”11 In Ernesto Neto’s Piff, piff, piff, from 1997, we cannot avoid seeing the basic definition of a line in the thickness of the volumes of pure color; that is, the projection of a single point through space. Neto materializes this idea through sensuous, fluid, oblong bodies incorporating pigment and spices. These patches of color—and scent—are also particularly decisive linear projections.

This discussion has attempted to uncover and identify correspondences between various works in the exhibition. Relationships that go beyond formal coincidences—and this does not preclude or downplay their inherent or casuistic beauty—extend the works’ expressive strengths along a common axis around which turn such powerful and transformable concepts as drawing and the line. Similarly, we have examined the intertextual relationships between works and explored

Cildo Meireles. A Diferença entre o circulo e a esfera é o peso (The Difference between the Circle and the Sphere Is Weight), 1976

contemporary examples as a sort of crucible of previous visual experiences, connected as much to the practices as to the discursive and theoretical tools that are spread over the whole of art history, beginning with that original gesture of representation: drawing. Drawing—lines grouped within a twodimensional space—is at the beginning of the history of the human relationship with the world and has been present ever since in the visual chronicle of that connection, all the way through to contemporary art. More often than not, hidden within the huge catalogue of technical and conceptual strategies presented by contemporary art—such as video, installation, and photography—drawing, or the line as paradigmatic matrix of visual creation, emerges like an island covered with historical memories in the middle of a confused geographical panorama. This continuing appearance of drawing in today’s complex visual world reminds us of that prehistoric human who, when depicting a bull or bison, synthesized in one gesture of perfect simplicity the brutish world beyond the cave entrance. In the same way, we return again and again to drawing in order to establish, through the creation of a linear image, our correspondence with the world.


Lourdes Blanco, “Sigfredo Chacón y el signo de Apeles de Cos,” in Sigfredo Chacón: Dibujos y pinturas recientes, exhibition catalogue (Caracas: Sala RG–CELARG Foundation, 1989), unpaginated.


Benjamin Buchloh, “Procedimientos alegóricos: apropiación y montaje en el arte contemporáneo,” (Allegorical procedures: appropriation and montage in contemporary art), in Formalismo e Historicidad (Madrid: Akal Editions, 2004), p. 104.

10 Miguel Arroyo, El ABC de la conservación de obras de arte hechas en papel & Cuento del papel (Caracas: C. A. Tabacalera Nacional, 1978), p. 29. 11

Carbonell i Esteller, et al., “La Pintura,” p. 173.

Some Lines of Correspondence

| 17

Essays by Wheaton Students

Alejandro Otero: Painting Melodies Coloritmo (Colorhythm), 1956

What color does a sound make? is one of the many questions posed by the Venezuelan artist Alejandro Otero’s Coloritmos (Colorhythms), a series of paintings made from 1954 to 1971. One of the foremost exponents of Geometric Abstraction, Otero explores the possibilities of synesthesia, which merges elements associated with different senses—in this case, those of color (seeing) and rhythm (hearing). The Coloritmos represent the effort to transcribe emotional input into a visual experience. In 1945, Alejandro Otero, a student at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas (School of Plastic Arts) in Caracas, ventured to Paris to find what he then considered avant-garde art. At 24 years of age, the young artist quickly learned that unlike the Venezuelan art community, Parisian artistic circles were no longer interested in what they deemed to be outdated movements, such as Post-Impressionism. In light of this, and additionally inspired by the work of Picasso, Otero was pushed to dematerialize forms using a Cubist approach, as seen in his series Cafeteras (Coffee Pots), from 1946–47. By 1951, Otero’s work was no longer representational. For the first time, the artist plunged into the realms of pure abstraction. Otero’s new paintings featured hand-drawn colored lines at the borders

22 |

of white canvases. These paintings formed a series of works entitled Líneas inclinadas (Inclined Lines), which explore the expressive potential of organic line in conjunction with color. However, the style found in this group of work would change drastically. Later that year, Otero traveled to Holland and became familiar with the Neo-Plasticist work of Piet Mondrian. As a result, Otero’s visual vocabulary would mature, as the artist concluded that the subject matter found in Líneas inclinadas could be contained in an approach that was organized in significant ways.1 In 1957, Otero exhibited his newest creations, entitled Coloritmos (Colorhythms)—paintings that embodied Geometric Abstraction, a movement crucial in the development of modernist Latin American art. According to Otero, the Coloritmos are “simply large elongated panels, crossed from side to side by white and dark parallels between which the space was filled with forms of pure brilliant colors.”2 It is in what this artist modestly calls simplicity that we can recognize his great achievement; Otero reduces two dimensions (forms) to a onedimensional plane (line), and yet through the positioning of the painting layers he manages to create a sense of depth. Departing from the idea of the grid, which through the principle of tension structured Mondrian’s geometric shapes, Otero took

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

this concept further into abstraction by organizing space into a set of parallel lines. In the first Coloritmos, Otero initially plays with the arrangement of forms into stacked lines. As the series advances, these shapes seem to become progressively elongated. Consequently, the dominant form found in the last of the Coloritmos is the line. The stacked lines unify the Coloritmos as a series by giving the surface of the work a sense of repetition and therefore visual rhythm. Similar to a pentagram in music, the black lines allow Otero to confine the expressive material in a coherent space. Therefore, if the parallel lines act as a structural element, then the color is analogous to musical notes, charged with emotional qualities. To Otero, color, applied spontaneously by following the free course of this artist’s intuition,3 is of tremendous importance since it has a specific connotation and function. In an interview, he said: There is an association that I always find between the thing and color. All the memories of that period, the essence of the period, of the people I knew and their ambiance are tied up with those reds and those blues. So I feel that when I put a red or a blue in one of my works, it isn’t red or blue only but all of those associations.4

Even when these works use the same rhythmic format, the colors and forms radically change the interpretation of Otero’s work. Despite the fact that there is no single universal interpretation for a particular painting, since each “Coloritmo” speaks to each individual differently, definite variations occur over the course of the series. As the artist himself explained, this change occurred because style in the paintings varied: From 1955 to 1960…the colorhythm was modified. At first there were very evident geometric forms that would appear among the lines. Then the forms became small lengths of a more subtle tone. Later still, those forms group into large plans in which the parallels almost disappear, until finally the color and white and dark bands constitute a single sonorous block.5 For example, luminous colors in rectangular and trapezoidal shapes are neatly organized into a lively composition in Coloritmo 12, of 1956. On the other hand, Coloritmo, of the same year, only employs primary colors, and its surface is crowded by heavy, irregularly shaped “sonorous blocks,”6 which seem to drown the black parallel lines. The Coloritmos have been described by Otero as a “body of experience,”7 and these two paintings inform the viewer of the artist’s

varied and particular sensations. It is truly remarkable that through what Otero called the “simplicity” of merely a number of lines and colored shapes, the viewer is able to understand and relate, at a very abstract level, to the sensory responses of another human being. Alejandro Otero was one of the first avant-garde Latin American artists, and his artwork introduced the Venezuelan public to abstract art, an alternative mode of visual understanding. At the same time, Otero’s Coloritmos are revolutionary because the artist moved away from the scientific use of hues, which was employed by many abstract artists in the early 20th century. Unlike the cerebral work of Mondrian, which attempts to achieve compositional unity and balance through the use of color and line, Otero’s art finds expression through rhythm and broader tones. But most important, Otero charges his work emotionally by streaking it with color. In this way, his Coloritmos transcend the notion of paintings as stagnant objects; instead, they become pulsating surfaces that communicate through the beat of color.

Maria Escudero Major: Studio Art/Art History


Ariel Jiménez, “He vivido por los ojos,” Correspondencia Alejandro Otero-Alfredo Boulton 1946–1974 (Caracas: Museo Alejandro Otero-Alberto Vollmer Foundation, 2001), p. 16.


Alejandro Otero, “Artist’s Statement,” Readings in Latin American Modern Art, ed. Patrick Frank (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004), p. 168.


José Balza, Alejandro Otero (Caracas: Ernesto Armitano, 1977), p. 54.


Rachel Adler, “An Interview with Alejandro Otero,” Information on Alejandro Otero, Chronology Interview, (The Museum of Modern Art, Latin American Archive), n.p.


Balza, Alejandro Otero, p. 54. (Translation mine).




Alejandro Otero, “Artist’s Statement,” p. 168

Alejandro Otero: Coloritmo (Colorhythm), 1956

| 23

HĂŠlio Oiticica Metaesquema (Meta-scheme), 1958

While most contemporary artists stand ready to defend the legitimacy of their work against detractors, the Brazilian Hélio Oiticica openly discounted his earliest works in a 1972 retrospective catalogue: “There is no reason to take seriously my pre-’59 production.”1 Given this sentiment, why should the viewer pause before this Metaesquema (Meta-scheme), since it was produced in 1958? Evaluating Oiticica’s dismissal of the Metaesquema requires a look into the work itself, the influences behind its creation, and its place in Oiticica’s remarkable artistic and social trajectory. Born to a privileged family of intellectuals, Hélio Oiticica was educated at home by his father, an entomologist and photographer; his multilingual mother; and, likely, his grandfather, José Oiticica (1882–1957), a renowned anarchist thinker and philologist. His direct encounter with his father’s adaptive science and his grandfather’s expressive politics would exert a push-pull on Oiticica throughout his artistic career, particularly as he made his first tentative steps from the family fold and into art in 1950s Brazil. In 1957, Oiticica began a two-year series of experiments in paintings that he would later (in his dismissive catalogue of 1972) call Metaesquemas (Meta-schemes).2 An admirer of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian—who practiced Neoplasticism, with forms “elegant and controlled in their severe geometry,” and Dadaism, “which embraced chaos and rebellion”3—Oiticica applied color in his Metaesquemas as a dimensional property in itself. The “exact, scientific, mathematical precision” and

26 |

“pure visibility”4 of his rectangles reflect Oiticica’s adoption of the reductionist principles characteristic of the Brazilian Concrete art movement during the 1950s. But this work does not stop at Geometric Abstraction; it is far more dynamic. In most of his Metaesquemas, Oiticica uses the color potential of negative space on a cardboard ground as a foil for the highintensity hue of the applied gouache. The intimate interplay between support and paint contains the energy of the painted forms within a “closed structure.”5 In the 1958 Metaesquema, parallel white striations run the length of this reflexive structure, imitating the corrugations of the cardboard on which it is painted—a visual pun and an evolution of the simpler orthogonal lines that frame diffuse rectangles in, for example, the 1957 Metaesquema in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. But among all the works in the Metaesquema series, this 1958 rendition is unique. Here, Oiticica maintains the slight tapering, shifting effect of his rectangles, while at the same time coalescing these forms—not too close, not too far apart— into a central locus. Suddenly the viewer’s eyes, panning the image, perceive a faint amorphous dot at the center of the composition’s inexact grid. Should the eyes lock onto the slightly scintillating dot, it fades before them in a matter of seconds; only as the eyes scan the grid dynamically do the dots in the negative interstitial spaces between four off-corners project outward, encroaching into the space between viewer and painting. Bidimensionality is shattered. As “form and background interpenetrate one another” in an atemporal entity shaped principally by the viewer’s experience, they lightly touch, “suggesting a quasi web which oscillates floating above the plane.”6

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

The trompe l’oeil effect in the painting is created as much by the viewer’s response to the work’s color field as it is by Oiticica’s arrangement of the color in space. How is it that the viewer, not the artist, thus opens up the painted structure of the work, which is closed and turned inward in the Metaesquema series’ earlier paintings? Attuned to the central role of the “living spectator” in his art, Oiticica regarded the viewer as a co-creator of his objects’ meaning7—a progressive approach with radical social implications. An analysis of Oiticica’s later career illustrates the power inherent in this concept of participatory art. Oiticica’s delight in the “experimental exercise of liberty”8 found ample romping ground in his grandfather’s ethic of geléia geral, the “general mix-up of the modern world.”9 In the early 1960s, the artist chose to emulate his own Penetravéis (Penetrables)—walkthrough installations—this time penetrating the Brazilian class divide. Living on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Oiticica observed down-trodden shanty-dwellers dancing the Samba: a fervid unrestrained ritual in which dancers improvise against the backdrop of their depressed living spaces.10 Involving himself in the Samba in the poverty-stricken Mangueira Hill district, Oiticica climbed the ranks to become an eminent passista, a leading carnival dancer.11 In this role he re-created the interactivity of those who had years before engaged his Metaesquemas and Penetravéis as spectators, more accurately “participants”—in this case, on a social plane. As a passista, Oiticica burst forth from the static comfort of his bourgeois past. Empathizing with the marginalized and at his own peril,12 he reappropriated the same defiant dynamism on the brink of explosion evident in the 1958 Metaesquema to alleviate the malaise of poverty and to ease the tension between Rio’s haves and have-nots.

As Oiticica developed a populist bent within the crucible of the Samba dance culture, Mangueira became for him a symbol of revolt—“his personal revolt against his own background and values”13 as well as, by visual extension, against established aesthetic frameworks. With the leaping figures of oppressed Brazilians around him transcending constraints of class, authority, and education, all became “one with the music, with others, with the universe.”14 Oiticica recalls the ecstasy of this moment: [The social layers] became somehow schematic, artificial for me, as if I was suddenly seeing from a great height their scheme…and at the same time [I discovered] my “individual place” as a whole person in the world, as a social being in the complete sense, not belonging to any layer or elite, even an artistic one…social in its most noble sense.15 This phenomenon of social liberation through dance, however momentary, inspired Oiticica to develop his Parangolés, or “mulitsensory” capes. Twisting and turning in the Parangolés, Samba dancers draped in layers of cloth, burlap sacks, and found objects defied the stasis of the conventional work of art. “Search[ing] for ‘situations’ to be lived,”16 the Parangolé dancers were indistinguishable from the art they wore, symbolizing for Oiticica a Brazilian “culture in formation, the open possibility of a culture,” in spite of the philistine military dictatorship in power in Brazil from 1964 until the end of the artist’s life.17 But what to do, politically, beyond all this theory and experimentation? Oiticica stood ambivalent between a proactive revolt fueled by the outrage of seeing his compatriots suffer18 and a brooding distrust of a nationalist movement that would reaffirm Brazilian folk culture but not without trivializing it and reducing Brazil

to “certain fixed ‘Brazilian images.’”19 He compromised by abetting others who in turn sought social liberation. He guided the people of Mangueira to understand the impulse behind their Samba dance ritual,20 just as he had once encouraged viewers to discover the motion of the eyes over the surface of the Metaesquema. He then empowered the people to emerge from a life in situ to explore the potentialities of the post-colonial world before them, just as he had set viewers in motion to investigate the participatory, three-dimensional spaces of his Penetravéis. Having once devised experimental settings for his fellows’ leisurely vivências, or genuinely lived experiences, Oiticica now offered his countrymen a brilliantly colored, true-to-life means of freedom from two-dimensional schemes of authoritarian oppression.21 No paradigm other than the Metaesquema, whose name itself means “beyond the scheme,” could have transformed Oiticica’s static “that’s-toobad” social awareness into a dynamic “let’s-do-something” social consciousness. In the true spirit of vivências—when “all that within me feels, is thinking”22—Hélio Oiticica proposed23 exploding artistic and social limits. Reaching out to the viewercitizen who alone could realize his work,24 he inflamed the creativity “inherent in everyone”: a light that may one day go out, “but while it eternal.”25

Seth Robinson Major: Religion


Hélio Oiticica, Metaesquemas 57/58 (São Paulo: Galeria Ralph Camargo, 1972), p. 27.


Fernando Cocchiarale, “HO—Experimental Exercise in Freedom,” in Grupo Frente Metaesquemas (Rio de Janeiro: Joel Edelstein, 1996), n.p.


Jacqueline Barnitz, “Concrete and Neoconcrete Art and Their Offshoots in the Brazilian Context,” TwentiethCentury Art of Latin America (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2001), p. 223; Lynn Zelevansky, Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form, 1940s–70s (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), p. 12.


Barnitz, “Concrete and Neoconcrete Art,” p. 216; Caroline Menezes, “Oiticica Returns to London,” Studio International, August 21, 2007. (accessed September 27, 2007).


Menezes, “Oiticica Returns to London.”


Cocchiarale, “HO—Experimental Exercise in Freedom,” n.p.


Guy Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: The Experimental Exercise of Liberty,” Carnival of Perception: Selected Writings on Art (London: Institute of the Visual Arts, 2004), p. 53.




Guy Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: Reverie and Revolt,” Art in America 77, No. 1 (1989), p. 120.

10 Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: The Experimental Exercise of Liberty,” p. 60. 11 Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: Reverie and Revolt,” p. 116. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid. 14 Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: The Experimental Exercise of Liberty,” p. 60. 15 Hélio Oiticica, “A Dançana Minha Experiência,” Rio de Janeiro, Rocco (1986), p. 74, quoted in Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: The Experimental Exercise of Liberty,” p. 61. 16 Hélio Oiticica, quoted in Mary Schneider Enriquez, “Cartografia del Cambio,” in Yves-Alain Bois et al., Geometric Abstraction: Latin American Art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Art Museums; Caracas: Fundación Cisneros; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), p. 32. 17 Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: The Experimental Exercise of Liberty,” p. 62; Paulo Herkenhoff, “The Hand and the Glove,” in Inverted Utopias: Avant-garde Art in Latin America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), p. 332. 18 Barnitz, “Concrete and Neoconcrete Art,” p. 225. 19 Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: The Experimental Exercise of Liberty,” p. 62. 20 Ibid., p. 61. 21 Ibid., p. 60. 22 Fernardo Pessoa, quoted in Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: The Experimental Exercise of Liberty,” p. 53. 23 Cf. the concept of art as proposal, as “open proposition.” See Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: The Experimental Exercise of Liberty,” p. 63. 24 Herkenhoff, “The Hand and the Glove,” p. 332. 25 Guy Brett, Hélio Oiticica, exhibition catalogue (London: Whitechapel Gallery, 1969), quoted in Guy Brett, “Hélio Oiticica: Reverie and Revolt,” Art in America, January 1989, p. 163.

Hélio Oiticica: Metaesquema (Meta-scheme), 1958

| 27

Le贸n Ferrari Untitled, 1962

An active presence in Argentinian arts, letters, and politics, León Ferrari had several great shifts in style over the course of his career. According to fellow artist Luis Camnitzer, “Ferrari saw himself as having tended toward formalism between 1955 and 1962, exploring combinations between 1963 and 1965, and focusing on political art between 1965 and 1972.”1 During the middle period, reacting against the rules and style of the European formalism he had been practicing, Ferrari began to explore forms of plastic expression using writing. His experimentation with different lines, inks, widths, curves, and a variety of other forms would later become the series Escrituras deformadas (Deformed Writing), the “result of texts that have been altered to the extreme of becoming unintelligible.”2

Untitled, 1962 (Detail)

The series “produced pages that looked like musical notation, electrocardiograms, Asian calligraphy and penmanship practice.”3 The following discussion focuses on an untitled 1962 work from the series that incorporates ink and paint on a wood support. Ferrari’s goal in these paintings was to rejoice in the act of writing and not ultimately in its immediate message. While the actual writing in works like the untitled 1962 example is illegible, the effect of the scribbles is to help viewers feel the artist’s need to communicate, even if they do not know what he is intending to write. Ferrari has said, “Art won’t be beauty nor novelty; art will be efficiency and disturbance.”4 The supposed lack of organization and the confrontation with the viewer in the untitled work can indeed cause feelings of disturbance. This piece, as well as the other works in this series, can be “understood as Ferrari’s most intimate work, as if in the end those lines, those squiggles, were all about loneliness, about that essential condition of being locked inside one’s own head.”5 The frantic scribbles with a horizontal flow, the different ink colors, thicknesses, directions, lengths, and position of the lines transmit

a sense of the artist’s struggle to free himself from tradition and his urgency to communicate. The untitled work shares the effort of communication with the public, producing a sense of discomfort because of the viewer’s inability to comprehend the “writing.” While the paintings in this series are barely decipherable, the viewer sees and feels the labor of communicating.

collages and drawings in which he recreated, again and again, the concept of writing, his work legitimized the inclusion of contemporary reality as a source for the renewal of language.”6 In finding his artistic tongue, Ferrari converts his art from simple decoration or aesthetic experience to the realm of the real and gives it social and political significance.

As Ferrari moved into his third period, however, his art found a way to clearly communicate its message. During this period, he produced artworks that begin using more and more legible writing. In fact, most of them carry a clear political message. One of his first legible paintings is El cuadro escrito (The Written Painting). Created in 1964, it criticizes the abuses of the Argentinian military dictatorship and forced Ferrari to go into exile; he moved with his family to Brazil, where he lived for fourteen years. Many of his exhibitions and artworks from this period were banned because of their clear stand against the dictatorial regime and the complicity of the Catholic Church. “[In] the

From the beginnings of Escrituras deformadas, including the 1962 untitled painting discussed here, to his later, more radical artworks, some of which mixed politics and religion, a great evolution can be seen and eventually read in Ferrari’s works that truly speaks to the viewer.

Naihomy Jerez Major: Hispanic Studies


Luis Camnitzer, “Lettering, Latrines and Literati,” in León Ferrari, Retrospectiva: Obras 1954–2004 (Buenos Aires: Centro Cultural Recoleta, 2004), p. 354.


Andrea Giunta, “Disturbing Beauty,” in León Ferrari, Retrospectiva: Obras 1954–2004 (Buenos Aires: Centro Cultural Recoleta, 2004), p. 345.


Lyle Rexer, “The Case of León Ferrari,” Modern Painters (2005), p. 52.


León Ferrari quoted in Graciela Kartofel, “León Ferrari,” Art Nexus (January–March 2005), p. 157.


Maria Gainza, “León Ferrari: Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte,” Artforum International (Summer 2004), p. 256.


Mari Carmen Ramírez, Cantos Paralelos: La parodia plástica en el arte argentino contemporáneo/ Visual Parody in Contemporary Argentinian Art (Austin, TX: Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin; Buenos Aires: Fondo Nacional de las Artes, 1999), p. 203.

León Ferrari: Untitled, 1962

| 31

Gego: Freeing the Line from a Perspective Prison Untitled (73-13, 73-14, 73-16, and 73-17), 1973

Gego, born Gertrud Luise Goldschmidt, was raised in Hamburg, Germany. She studied architecture and engineering and was trained as a draftsman at the Technische Hochschule, now the Universität Stuttgart (Stuttgart University). She immigrated to Venezuela in 1939. Mining her experience as an architect and draftsman, Gego created many ink line drawings as well as wire sculptures. In one untitled group of ink-on-paper drawings dating from 1973, Gego experiments with the concept of the line. Her configurations employ handmade grids, repetitive geometric forms and irregular constructions to examine how the line reacts both inside and outside of a grid. Within the group, we can see the artist experimenting with the line and its relationship to the grid. As a draftsman, Gego understood the academic practice of confining the line to fit perspective drawings but came to see the line as an entity in itself. Thirty years ago, I was trained as an architect, committed to draw lines with a definite meaning, lines that determine forms or spaces as symbols of limits, never with a life of their own.

between the lines and the sparkling when they cross, when they are interrupted, when they are of different colors or different types.1 These 1973 works repeat the motifs of a handmade grid, a plain background, and other lines drawn throughout. Each work in the group combines these elements differently. In the example Untitled 7313, the grid is on the upper half of the picture, creating a focal point. Each of the corners has a line that only goes a few squares deep into the grid with a tiny X near the middle, but none of these lines intersect. Our perception of this piece, however, is that of two full lines intersecting at one point in the middle of the grid. It is a bow to the perspective drawing in which Gego was trained; she sets up how line has been perceived historically in art. We are so accustomed to seeing lines extending to meet at a single point that our mind automatically makes the jump; the lines in this context are not even necessary. The line is also the same color as the grid, therefore denying it its own identity. Gego, from here, tries to free the line from its perspective prison. In the work Untitled 73-14, Gego explores how the line reacts when it is inside and outside of the grid. The grid in this work

Many years later I discovered the charm of the line in and of itself—the line in space as well as the line drawn on the surface and the nothing

34 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

is in the lower half of the picture; we are meant to observe more closely how the line is reacting outside of the grid. As we can see, the line, both bold and thin, takes on a vibrancy and more of a hand-drawn quality when outside the grid. Within the grid, however, the thickness of all the lines seem to have the same value, and are straight and precise. There is almost a sense of Gego’s opinion in this work; she seems to prefer the line when it is free of its constraints. However, Gego discovers that the line completely by itself is not a strong enough entity. In another work in this group Untitled 73-16, we again see the grid on the lower half of the picture plane, perhaps meaning we are to focus not on the grid but rather outside of it. We can see faintly in this image a thin line, which does indeed meander on its own. Yet, this line is so weak that it cannot support itself.  There are thin lines tying it to the sides of the grid, much like a balloon tied to a banister; the banister keeps the balloon from floating away, and the grid looks as if it keeps the line from floating away. Gego has come

to the conclusion here that the line cannot exist completely divorced from its history in the grid; it is too fragile an entity. To fully appreciate the line, one must experience it in both environments. In the example Untitled 73-17, Gego seems to reach a different sort of conclusion. It is as is Gego is proclaiming “Ah-ha!” In this work, she marries the irregular line and geometric line in both environments. “Reading” left to right, the lines moving from high to low are the academic geometric lines, while the lines moving from low to high are the meandering ones, both in the grid and outside it. Both types of line reach their ultimate goal, only taking different paths. The line within the grid is bolder than the line outside it, which appears to indicate Gego’s realization, that the grid is a strengthening technique for the line. 

minimalist appearance of the work; it is like a mathematician’s notations on a chalkboard. Gego has written, Line as medium indicates materially the relation between points in space, expressing visually human descriptive thought. Line as object to play with.2 These works convey her theories succinctly, and we experience Gego’s joy upon arriving at a distinct conclusion.

Samuel Brown Major: Art History/Asian Studies

Viewing these four works, we can observe that Gego created subtle varying patterns within the drawn grids. We also sense Gego’s urgency to convey the liberation of the line, reflected in the

1 Gego quoted in Sabiduras y otros textos de Gego/ Sabiduras and Other Texts by Gego, ed. María Elena Huizi and Josefina Manrique (Houston: Museum of Fine Arts/ International Center for the Arts of the Americas; and Caracas: Fundación Gego, 2005), pp. 170–71. 2 Ibid., pp. 52–53.

Untitled 73-14, 1973 (Detail)

Gego: Untitled (73-13, 73-14, 73-16, and 73-17), 1973

| 35

Luis Camnitzer Sentence Reflecting the Sentence That States the Reflection, 1975

The first thing one may notice about this work is the title: “Sentence Reflecting the Sentence That States the Reflection.” No doubt, it sets many thoughts in motion, which is exactly the intention of the creator of the piece, the Uruguayan-American artist Luis Camnitzer. Much like a composer conducting an orchestra, Camnitzer strives to direct the viewer’s attention not only to his work but also to his mind and the viewer’s as well, insisting on active participation. Camnitzer was born in 1937 in Lübeck, Germany, but he and his parents fled the Nazis when Luis was only a year old,1 immigrating to Uruguay. Since 1964 he has lived and worked in New York City but still identifies himself as Uruguayan. His parents encouraged the young Luis to pursue art by sending him at the age of sixteen to the School of Fine Arts at the University of Uruguay (Escuela Nacional

de Bellas Artes de la Universidad de la República), where he adopted the Expressionist style that he would work in for many years. In 1966, living in the United States, he had his first contact with the work of Dada and Surrealist artists, such as René Magritte and Marcel Duchamp.2 Following his introduction to their art, Camnitzer changed his artistic direction and began to work with the written language, with the goal of capturing and communicating raw and creative thoughts and ideas. Formal attributes became secondary to content, as Camnitzer’s life-long view of art as political expression—one from which he hoped to elicit a strong and clear reaction from a broad public—became more pronounced.  He was thus naturally drawn to the Conceptual art movement, later stating of his production during this time that the “[m]aterial possession of art would lose its meaning since possession would take place through reading. The ideal was the newspaper headline: a simple reading allowed appropriation which then unleashed

imagery within the viewer.”3 In other words, it was the fact of people talking about his work that was important—the communication that resulted from its creation. Getting his artwork out to the masses in whatever way possible became an important mission. For Camnitzer, the “only thing that mattered was art that made a statement.”4 What he discovered was something, as he put it, “akin to magic”5 in the power of words and logic. Since the 1970s, Camnitzer has been creating a series of wooden boxes with glass, or “windows,” that bear a phrase engraved on a brass plate attached to the wooden window frame. Even a close examination of the piece does not reveal the hand of the artist. Camnitzer chose industrial typography so as not to show his individual handwriting style. The phrase “Sentence Reflecting the Sentence That States the Reflection” provokes questions. The artist then goes one step further and reverses the sentence in the frame of the glass window as if it is its own reflection. Devoid of spectacle, the work offers a chance to ponder meanings introduced through a few simple materials: wood,

38 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

glass, and bronze. Perhaps the artist wants to occupy the borderline between creator and teacher, straddling two roles that defined him for decades: artist and educator. Like a mystery novel or Hitchcock film, his work invites the viewer to be a part of it, rousing ideas and constructing a hidden narrative from simple “clues.” This narrative is not revealed; it has infinite possibilities, depending on the personal experience of the viewer. The text, in superseding the objects, sets the tone of the physical work of art. Only in the interplay with the viewer’s thought process do image and text result in a narrative whole, and the puzzle becomes complete in the viewer’s mind. It is the job of the viewer to finish the work. In fact, Camnitzer states, “[I]deally I want the work to be produced in the mind of the spectator, not in the object I present. My goal is that one day that the observer becomes his own artist, not needing me, and that I can dedicate myself to other things.”6 By allowing the viewer to supply his or her own meaning and ideas, communication becomes immediate, and the viewer becomes the artist.

But why does the artist choose to display these phrases in a glass and wooden box? If the artwork is only about the written word, then why display them in this way? The answer lies in another idea Camnitzer wants viewers to think about. The shape of the object—a rectangular wooden frame that surrounds a sheet of glass—brings a reference back to mind: a window. There is an interplay between the symbols, that of a frame, which spatially defines a work of art hanging in a museum, and a window, representing a new vantage point from which to see and consider the larger world. In the course of the viewer’s interaction with this work, as with other similar works by Camnitzer, the artist “reflects on the insufficient and partial relationship existing between museum and world, museum and contemporary life, museum and living culture and, definitively, between museum and visitor.”7

Meredith Brinker Ferguson Major: Hispanic Studies

1 2 3

4 5 6 7

Luis Camnitzer, “Introspective/Retropective,” ArtNexus 3, No. 53 (July 2004), p. 52. Luis Camnitzer, e-mail interview with Jennifer Valentino, July 19, 2007. Luis Camnitzer, “Chronology,” in Jane Farver, Mari Carmen Ramírez, and Luis Camnitzer, Luis Camnitzer: Retrospective Exhibition 1966–1990, exhibition catalogue (New York: Lehman College Art Gallery, 1991), p. 52. Camnitzer, Valentino interview. Ibid. Ibid. María Elena Ramos, Intervenciones en el espacio/ Interventions in Space, exhibition catalogue (Caracas: Museo de Bellas Artes, 2002), p. 156.

Luis Camnitzer: Sentence Reflecting the Sentence That States the Reflection, 1975

| 39

Cildo Meireles Malhas da liberdade (Meshes of Freedom), 1976

Cildo Meireles, creator of the 1976

Malhas da liberdade, whose title can be translated as Meshes of Freedom,1 was inspired to produce politically charged art during the late 1960s, when a brutal military government suppressed freedom of speech and of the press throughout Brazil. Many forms of communication, such as radio, film, television, and printed materials, fell victim to this censorship.2 As a result of his exposure to this oppressive regime, a defiant response to fascist institutions is a theme that runs throughout Meireles’s art. Meireles once recalled that “in 1968, '69, '70…we were already no longer working with metaphors (representations) of situations. We were working with situations themselves, real…to work no longer with the metaphor of gunpowder, but to work

with gunpowder itself.”3 Many of Meireles’s works, including Malhas da liberdade, reflect this poignant statement. The artist brings his political convictions to life in his artworks by using real materials rather than their mere representations. For Meireles, real ideas need real materials to support them. In the case of Malhas da liberdade, he chooses the commonplace, utilitarian materials of iron and glass. Composed of vertical and horizontal iron rods that merge, as well as an iron mesh that runs across its entire length, Malhas da liberdade’s simple yet strong grid carries powerful connotations. Iron, the material that comprises the grid and mesh, suggests the strength of an inclusive democratic government in which all have a say. Meireles states, “Sometimes certain objects acquire this ‘something else’; they become impregnated, and transcend themselves as utilitarian objects, achieving a paradigmatic quality. They almost become symbolic.”4 While the iron was originally intended for practical use, it has been transformed from its original purpose into symbols. The

Malhas da liberdade (Meshes of Freedom), 1976 (Detail)

42 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

intersection of the rods and mesh creates a repetitive pattern that visually signifies many ideas converging at once, an event that is made possible by a democratic government.5 Meireles’s confidence in democracy and civic freedom is intertwined within the symbolism made possible by the iron grid and mesh. A large sheet of glass, the only other material in Malhas da liberdade, also transcends its functional purpose to become a symbol for a concept close to Meireles’s heart. The transparency of the glass urges us to look past institutional boundaries. As we peer through the sheet of glass, the artist is reminding us to see through the obvious in order to seek other possibilities. His message is reinforced by the fact that he created this work for his fellow Brazilians, many of whom shared his experiences with the military regime. With Malhas da liberdade, Meireles hoped to encourage

Brazilians to look past the sharp limitations imposed by their oppressive government.   In Malhas da liberdade, Meireles has combined two unrelated materials, producing a paradox, as he does in many of his other artworks.6 Glass and iron embody opposite qualities. The former is fragile and easily damaged, while the latter is strong and seemingly indestructible. The fragility of the glass is juxtaposed with the unbreakable iron. This play of opposites can be summarized in the title of the work: Meshes of Freedom. We think of mesh as a tool for trapping or capturing, yet the other word in the title is “freedom,” or release from constraints.   Carrie Peabody Major: Art History

1 2


4 5 6

Dan Cameron, Cildo Meireles, exhibition catalogue (New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1999), p. 1. Jacqueline Barnitz, “Political Art, Graphic Art, Painting, and Conceptualism as Ideological Tools,” in Twentieth Century Art of Latin America (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2001), p. 279.   Susan M. Anderson, “The Consumption of Paradise,” in Body to Earth, Three Artists From Brazil: Cildo Meireles, Mario Cravo Neto and Tunga, exhibition catalogue (Los Angeles: Fisher Gallery, 1993), p. 6. Editors of Phaidon Press, PressPLAY: Contemporary Artists in Conversation (New York: Phaidon Press, 2005), p. 463. Cameron, Cildo Meireles, p. 2. Anderson, “The Consumption of Paradise,” p. 10.

Cildo Meireles: Malhas da liberdade (Meshes of Freedom), 1976

| 43

Ana Mendieta: Incantaci贸n a Olukun-Yemay谩 Silueta (Silhouette) Series. Works made in Mexico, 1973-77

…as my whole body is filled with want of Cuba I go on to make my work upon the earth to go on is victory—Ana Mendieta, 19921

A silhouette appears in the sand. As body and earth interact, an outline emerges. Body and earth become one in that moment of contact and in the emptiness that results when they separate. The outline of a hand surrounds the figure, its fingers stretching past the feet as if reaching toward a specific point or person. A photograph depicting this encounter, Incantación a Olukun-Yemayá, is one of the works the Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta made in Mexico during the 1970s as part of her Silueta (Silhouette) Series. Born in 1948 into an aristocratic family in Havana, Mendieta began thinking about identity and homeland at a very early age. Her father, Ignacio Mendieta, was a prominent supporter of Fidel Castro and the overthrow of the Batista government, but when Castro began promoting communist ideals, Mendieta’s father ended his support and began engaging in counterrevolutionary activity.2 Mendieta’s father was subsequently blacklisted by Castro, and Ana and her older sister were forced into exile while still young. Separated from their parents, they were sent to live in a series of orphanages in Iowa, until they were later reunited with their family. Mendieta, who had a particularly close relationship with her mother, often reflected on her emotional hardship and her longing to return home after she was separated from her parents.

Mendieta’s Silueta Series, which was produced from 1972 to 1982 in Iowa and in Mexico, documents many of the emotions she experienced during this period of exile and isolation. Feeling torn between Cuba and the United States, Ana Mendieta struggled to achieve a sense of belonging. She yearned to return to or at least reestablish ties with the Cuban land she had called home. Incantación a OlukunYemayá touches directly on this desire. The Silueta photographs document Mendieta’s efforts to reunite with the land. The artist worked with natural materials, such as blood, flowers, leaves, and earth, all of which decay. Additionally, Mendieta would sometimes erase the record of her work by burning it or pouring water on it. She is often referred to as a performance artist, and the fleeting nature of her earthbody sculptures attest to this. Her lasting art, then, consists in the photographic documentation of these works. Although Mendieta’s experience with exile greatly influenced her work, she was also affected by her childhood exposure to the Afro-Caribbean religion Santería and later, to the feminist movement. The influence of both is reflected in Incantación a OlukunYemayá. A blend of Spanish Catholicism and Yoruba traditions brought to Cuba by West African slaves, Santería involves the

worship of spirits or deities known as orisha. This particular work is dedicated to the orisha Olukun-Yemayá, who is called upon when a lost child desires to return home. This goddess is also often associated with Havana Bay, presenting an additional link to Mendieta’s homeland. Each of the Silueta works invokes a strong sense of loneliness and desolation. By creating outlines of her body—whether in earth, against a tree, or in the air— Mendieta establishes a physical connection to that from which she feels alienated. In one of her journals, she paraphrases an essay by Octavio Paz to express her feelings of isolation and separation: All detachment provokes a wound. A rupture, whether it is with ourselves or what surrounds us or with the past or present [,] produces a feeling of aloneness. In my case where I was separated from my parents and my country at the age of 12, this feeling of aloneness identified itself as a form of orphanhood.3 In creating this series of silhouettes, Mendieta engages in a dialogue with nature, establishing a sense of personal connection to the air, earth, and water.

Silueta (Silhouette) Series. Works made in Mexico, 1973-77

46 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Commenting directly on the Silueta Series, she said: I have been carrying on a dialogue between the landscape and the female body (based on my own silhouette)…I am overwhelmed by the feeling of having been cast from the womb (nature). My art is the way I re-establish the bonds that unite me to the universe. It is a return to the maternal source.4 Not only do her works reflect Mendieta’s desire to return to Cuba, they also reflect social changes occurring in the early 1970s, when Mendieta first began the Silueta Series. In an effort to return “to the maternal source” after having been “cast from the womb” of Cuba, the series also concerns itself with feminism, gender, and the mother-child relationship. Through my earth/body sculptures I become one with the earth…I become an extension of nature and nature becomes an extension of my body. This obsessive act of reasserting my ties with the earth is really the reaction of primeval beliefs…[in] omnipresent female force, the after-image of being encompassed within the womb.5

with her identity because of her cultural and ethnic background. Her Silueta Series can be seen as a response to this struggle. Difference is obliterated in her work, as race, ethnicity, and class cannot be determined from the neutral outlines left by her body. Only gender can, arguably, be determined. Her body is gone and only the imprint remains. Mendieta said, “I realized that I lived in a little world inside my head. It wasn’t that being different was bad, it’s just that I never realized that people were different. So trying to find a place in [sic] the earth and trying to define myself came from that experience of discovering difference.”6 Ana Mendieta died in 1985 when she fell from her apartment window in New York City. Although the circumstances surrounding her death remain unclear, Mendieta saw her work as a victory over death and difference and over her longing for her homeland, Cuba.

Jennifer Valentino Major: Hispanic Studies

Additionally, the work reflects Mendieta’s realization of and response to difference. As a person living in exile, Mendieta was considered different and she struggled


Quoted in Kaira M. Cabañas, “Ana Mendieta: ‘Pain of Cuba, Body I Am,’” Woman’s Art Journal 20, No.1 (SpringSummer, 1999), p. 12


Cabañas, “Ana Mendieta: ‘Pain of Cuba, Body I Am,’” p. 12.


Ana Mendieta, quoted in Laura Roulet, “Ana Mendieta entre dos mundos/Between Two Worlds,” in Ana Mendieta: Body Tracks (Lucerne: Kunstmuseum, 2002), p. 43.


Ana Mendieta, quoted in Danielle Knafo, “In Her Own Image: Self-Representation in the Art of Frida Kahlo and Ana Mendieta,” Art Criticism 11, No. 2 (1996), p. 10.




Ana Mendieta, quoted in Laura Roulet, “Ana Mendieta entre dos mundos/Between Two Worlds,” p. 36.

Ana Mendieta: Silueta (Silhouette) Series. Works made in Mexico, 1973-77

| 47

Liliana Porter From the Drawing Book, 1982

In the center of Liliana Porter’s 1982 work on paper From the Drawing Book is a spherical object with blue markings that suggests a globe, another world, another reality. Two aspects of what constitutes “reality”—time and space—have been essential components of Porter’s works since the 1970s. Influenced greatly by literary figures Jorge Luis Borges (also Argentinian) and Lewis Carroll, Porter plays with reality and images, through her narrative-like pieces, to create a magical atmosphere.1 Like Carroll, Porter strips objects of their original meanings, creating a continual metamorphosis of images in which new meanings are created. Furthermore, like the two writers she admires, for Porter there are no boundaries: space merges into ground, and time and space can be viewed as a continuum.2 Porter explored the idea of movement between real and unreal spaces in the 1970s, using photography, which influenced her ideas about space. She says that “space is a very important factor. In a way, space is almost the subject” because, “the emptiness probably represents that part we cannot define and that we are trying to come to terms with.”3

50 |

Focusing on painting in the early 1980s, Porter used images of boats as a way to explore the subject of traveling. The idea of travel crystalizes in From the Drawing Book, in which the artist’s imaginary journey symbolizes passage through the stages of life. An important stage, and one that would mark Porter’s work from this point on, was childhood. In From the Drawing Book, a work that incorporates painting and silkscreen printing, the artist presents us, from left to right, with a sketchbook (including a drawing of a boat) reminiscent of a child’s coloring book, a pyramid form that recalls toy building blocks, a globe, and, finally, discarded pieces of paper with sketches of the previously mentioned shapes. The piece is a still-life in execution but almost narrative in its suggested dialogue among the images. Porter references the relationship between humans and the toy objects to explore the ways in which human beings have projected their humanity onto all objects.4 At the same time, the work evokes the memory of childhood for the viewer.5 A deliberate playfulness, even a childlike quality, can be detected in Porter’s work. The artist believes that the earliest memories lie in one’s childhood. Often her

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

objects are familiar from storybooks. Here, the small globe may suggest a world within a world, similar to Alice’s dream-world wonderland. The images that make up From the Drawing Book can be considered discarded objects, seemingly unrelated fragments, which children typically use to create their fantasy worlds.6 Porter feels that she carries all stages of growth within her at all times. [W]hen you are a child, you can really relate to a toy, a person, and a tree on the same level. But then you lose that wisdom because people lose their faith and, as a consequence, their power over things, but that power is really inside you. I think that what I am trying to do is keep that in order to function.7 Through the artist’s exploration in From the Drawing Book, the viewer gains an appreciation of Porter’s investigation into space and time. The background consists of one hue, and even color within the objects is scarce. This bareness creates a sensation connecting the viewer with the fluidity of time. One cannot decipher the beginning, middle, or end. It is as if the viewer is thrown into Alice’s wonderland, where

perception is dislodged by one’s looking through glass into a “subjective universe.”8 In the “subjective universe” of From the Drawing Book, the questioning of reality is created partly through the use of shadows under the ripped-out pieces of paper. The top piece of paper simultaneously gives a sensation of floating to and rising off the ground. Did Porter mean to imply that the piece of paper was lying on the other two fragments, but let the use of shadow and space become part of a puzzle the active viewer must interpret? The only concrete suggestion she offers is that time and space are closely connected. She states that “empty space is a silence that precedes the image,” and this space also acts as a “time lapse between the viewer and the subject.” 9

reality is never clear. Porter believes that the acceptance of our inability to ever fully understand is essential to life. She says that “the work is an awareness of the fact that there is something we didn’t get, of the fact we didn’t know what the whole thing was about.”10 Rationalization in connection with reality exists on a place that humans cannot reach.11 In Porter’s work, the intent is for viewers to experience a strong connection between themselves, the objects, and reality through time and space. As a result, the viewer is led to question reality on all levels.

Christina Whipple Major: Art History/Hispanic Studies

In Porter’s work, new realities are created because personal experiences are abandoned. Memory, especially images from childhood, assists in this reassemblage of reality. Yet, in From the Drawing Book,


Luis Camnitzer, “Liliana Porter: The Poetry of Communication,” ArtNexus, No. 35 (2000), p. 68.


Charles Merewether, Liliana Porter: The Romance and Ruins of Modernism (New York: Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1992), p. 54.


Liliana Porter, Liliana Porter: Arte Poética—A Selection of Works from 1968–1997, exhibition catalogue (Stony Brook, NY: Stony Brook University, Staller Center for the Arts, 1998), p. 2.


Inés Katzenstein, "The Gap between the Stone and the Line," originally published in catalogue of the third Lima Iberoamerican Biennale (2002) and reprinted in Liliana Porter: Una puesta en imágenes (San José, Costa Rica: TEOR/eTica, 2003), p. 26.


Mari Carmen Ramírez, Illusive Fragments: Liliana Porter’s Art of Memory (New York: Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1992), p. 29.


Ibid., p. 16.


Porter, Liliana Porter: Arte Poética, p. 4.


Ramírez, Ibid., p. 14.


Interview with Liliana Porter by Carol McCranie in Object: Symbol. Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Phyllis Bramson, Patric LoCicero, Liliana Porter (Associated American Artists: Meriden, CT: Hull Printing, 1996), n.p.

10 José Luis Blondet, “A Conversation with Liliana Porter and a Honey Jar,” Art Nexus 5, No. 60 (2006), p. 64.

From the Drawing Book, 1982 (Detail)

11 Ibid., p. 66.

Liliana Porter: From the Drawing Book, 1982

| 51

Sherrie Levine Untitled, 1986

Throughout her career, Sherrie Levine has questioned the possibility of artistic originality within a consumer culture in which images are perceived as commodities to be sold, reproduced, and recycled by other artists. She believes that contemporary artists are inevitably influenced by previous images; thus, no artwork can be considered wholly original. Although many artists obscure influences on their work in order to preserve the notion of the artist as creative genius, Levine chooses to overtly emphasize these factors by stressing the necessary interplay of the artist with the extensive canon of art history.1 In the early 1980s, she daringly recycled images by appropriating famous photographs and claiming them as her own, thus directly questioning the ownership of images.2 The critic Rosalind Krauss has noted that this act of appropriation indicates an important shift in art history away from the prevailing modernist notion of art as the product of

54 |

a creative individual to the recognition of art as the construction of symbols with “culturally ascribed meaning.”3 During the early 1980s, Levine continued to pursue the issue of artistic originality, gradually introducing a more personal presence into her body of work through her watercolors “after” Mondrian and Léger in 1983.4 Although these too were direct appropriations of famous artists’ works, the medium of watercolor and the intimate scale gave them a personalized quality distinctly different from the originals. In 1985–86, Levine altered her medium from watercolor to acrylic and casein on wood, yet maintained her critique of originality and the ownership of images. An untitled work from 1986 marks this significant shift in her style of production. The painting is part of a series of twelve works entitled “Broad Stripes”; in these works Levine altered her approach partly because of the way in which her work was being perceived by critics.5 Describing her emotions, she explained that the critical reception of her earlier work had made her feel “boxed in,” adding that “it had gotten to the point where people couldn’t see the work for the rhetoric. People weren’t really

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

reading what I was doing as photographs or drawings or watercolors but as position papers.”6 In altering her medium to acrylic she wanted to create work that was visually enticing and attractive but which also forced the viewer to question notions of originality and artistic influence. Significantly, Levine chose in her stripe paintings to appropriate a more generic geometric symbol rather than an explicit art-historical reference. Although interviewers and critics have drawn connections between her stripe paintings and Suprematist and Minimalist paintings, the generic geometric pattern implies a multitude of visual associations.7 The multiplicity of possible references leaves the interpretation of her specific influences up to the viewer, thereby rejecting the possibility of artistic ownership of such a generic symbol by individuals or arthistorical movements. The medium of the work also reveals an added material presence that her earlier appropriations of photographs lacked. The

1986 untitled work reproduced here is painted in acrylic on an approximately 24by-20-inch mahogany plank, a combination of materials that endows the work with an enticing physical presence. (Levine has described this physical potency as “the auratic quality” of the work.8) Elaborating on the importance of the physical power of her work, Levine states that “there’s a level of seduction in the work that keeps you… It’s visceral, sensual seduction….I want [the artwork] to be an experience.”9 The rich materials and the lush green and red complementary pattern are vivid, projecting an energy absent from the artist’s photographic and watercolor work. While attracting the viewer’s attention through luxurious materials, however, the work, by the nature of its structure, denies the viewer an ultimate sense of visual stability. Although the painting at first appears to be a simple repetition of complementary stripes, it is in fact unbalanced, an element that invests the work with a disturbing quality. The composition consists of ten stripes repeated in an alternating pattern, beginning with green and ending with red. Since the pattern does not begin

and end with the same color, a sense of incompletion and instability is produced. Levine described her “Broad Stripes” series: I don’t think that they will give you that kind of satisfaction—the closure, balance, harmony. There’s that sense of things being all there, all sewed up, that you get from classic formalist painting. I wanted the ones I was making to be very uneasy. They are about death in a way: the uneasy death of modernism.10 Thus, the image contains a subversion of expectations. The critic Gerald Marzorati has argued that the stripe pattern has frequently been associated with the “elegance” and “confidence” of modernist abstraction.11 Additionally, Levine’s materials by themselves seem vivid and energetic, yet the structure of the painting is unstable and incomplete. Curator Susan Krane has argued that “[Levine’s] works in one sense are memento mori: They toll the departure of the inherent spiritualism of imagery and mark the passing of our comfortable presumption of the allredeeming power of creativity.”12

The composition of the painting asserts that an artwork can never be fully comprehended in isolation from the work that came before it. Marzorati states that the incomplete pattern may imply the possibility of its continued repetition outside of the “frame.”13 Therefore, the artwork conceptually extends beyond the physical limits of the painting, comprising the various meanings and associations that have been ascribed to the stripe pattern. Levine suggests that any artwork is the product of the influences of previous styles and cultural symbols. Consequently, art must routinely interact with the previous meanings ascribed to such symbols and in questioning these symbols imbue them with additional meaning within a new context. Levine defines the very nature of artistic production as a process that continually refers to itself, questions itself, and in so doing redefines itself.

Amelia Chaney Major: English


Gerald Marzorati, “Art in the (Re) Making,” Art News (May 1986), p. 96.


David Deitcher, “Sherrie Levine: Rules of the Game,” Sherrie Levine (Zürich: Kunsthalle Zürich, 1991), pp. 9–10.


Bonnie Clearwater, Mythic Proportions: Painting in the 1980s (North Miami, FL: Museum of Contemporary Art, 2001), p. 43.


Roberta Smith, “It’s Not Fake Anything—It’s Real Levine,” Village Voice (December, 1983), p. 107.


Marzorati, “Art in the (Re) Making,” p. 98.


Ibid., p. 93


Constance Lewellen, “Interview with Sherrie Levine,” Journal of Contemporary Art [ slevine.html], June 13, 2007.





10 Marzorati, “Art in the (Re) Making,” p. 96. 11 Ibid., p. 99. 12 Art at the Edge: Sherrie Levine, texts by Susan Krane and Phyllis Rosenzweig, exhibition brochure (Atlanta, GA: The High Museum of Art, 1988), p. 14. 13 Marzorati, “Art in the (Re) Making,” p. 99.

Sherrie Levine: Untitled, 1986

| 55

Imi Knoebel WeiĂ&#x; Blau Rot Gelb II (White Blue Red Yellow II), 1994

At first glance, Weiß Blau Rot Gelb II (White Blue Red Yellow II), from 1994, by the contemporary German artist Imi (Wolf) Knoebel, looks like nothing more than a three-dimensional picture frame. An experiment with shape, space, and color rather than a traditional painting or sculpture, it springs from Knoebel’s impulse to look at abstract art as a whole and choose among its various elements to create a distinct style. Knoebel is interested in creating a dialogue between painting and sculpture—a distinctive mix of the two. His method of layering painted materials gives his work a sense of depth and perspective, while the novel use of texture as well as irregular forms and objects challenges the traditional notion of a “picture.” These unusual

techniques eventually leave the viewer questioning whether the piece is a painting or a sculpture. Weiß Blau Rot Gelb II is constructed from painted aluminum slats stacked and glued together to create a frame-like structure that extends from the wall: The vibrant white, blue, red, and yellow boards catch the viewer’s attention immediately, while the empty white wood board surrounded by the “frame” invites the viewer to question and imagine what the space could hold. In fact, the space holds a different image for each viewer, depending on how the piece is mounted. An important feature of Knoebel’s work is the play of light and shadow. The spaces between the slats of aluminum in Weiß Blau Rot Gelb II cast different shadows, depending on the lighting in the exhibition and the angle at which the viewer stands in relation to the piece.

Geometry is a prominent theme in Knoebel’s work as a whole. The majority of his pieces contain recognizable geometric shapes—squares, circles, diamonds, rectangles—that give the paintings visual weight. At times, he incorporates organic shapes, making the visual effect lighter. Another distinct feature of Knoebel’s work is its palette. While the use of bright pure colors is commonly found in abstract art, Knoebel uses even more dazzlingly intense colors. Space is also central to Knoebel’s work. The space in which his works are displayed and the space from which they are seen are both meant to encourage viewers to come to their own conclusions about the works. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Knoebel chooses not to focus on the subject matter of a piece but rather on the space created by it. The blatantly open areas in Knoebel’s works invite the viewer to imagine what space in general can hold and to focus on the light and shadows that the spaces create.1

Weiß Blau Rot Gelb II (White Blue Red Yellow II), 1994 (Detail)

58 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Knoebel’s early works are characterized by their stark simplicity. For example, the Linienbilder (Line Paintings), from 1966–68, are made up merely of black lines on a white canvas. What Knoebel wanted the viewer to see is the simplicity that renders the piece beautiful. The lines in Linienbilder are so perfectly regular, and the black of the paint and the white of the canvas remain so pure, that it is difficult to imagine that they were painted by human hands. Later, Knoebel began producing art that was more textural. The pieces slowly changed from simple paintings to painted slides that were projected onto walls, and then eventually to small, wall-mounted sculptures. He also began to experiment with the mounting of his works and with how a different angle for each piece would affect the viewer in an entirely new way. In addition, his new focus became the color in his works, which can be seen in his 24 Farben für Blinky (24 Colors for Blinky), from 1977, and in this work, Weiß Blau Rot Gelb II (Blue Red Yellow II), created, much later, in 1994.2

Although, superficially, Knoebel’s work seems tied to geometric form, some organic aspects appear, particularly the human form. In certain works Knoebel cleverly used his arm as a measurement for many of his cutout pieces and boards, underscoring the importance of ideal proportion for the artist and contributing to its beautifully simple execution and format. Ultimately, the viewer is left asking “Why?” Knoebel was notoriously quiet about the true meanings behind his pieces, and their significance is still murky. He approached his works as separate experiments, leaving the results to the mind and eyes of the beholder.

Elisabeth Kjellgren Major: Psychology


Hubertus Gaßner, “Four Course Field Rotation: Black, White, and Coloured,” Imi Knoebel, Works 1968-1996 (Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1996), p. 50.


Ibid., p. 54.

Imi Knoebel: Weiß Blau Rot Gelb II (White Blue Red Yellow II), 1994

| 59

JosĂŠ Damasceno Dois estudos sobre uma dimensĂŁo perdida (Two Studies for One Lost Dimension), 1996

José Damasceno’s Dois estudos sobre uma dimensão perdida (Two Studies for One Lost Dimension), from 1996, can be described as an installation sculpture—a three-dimensional form created with a specific location in mind, incorporating into the work of art the area in which it is displayed. The relationship of sculpture to the surrounding space is an important part of the artist’s investigation. Consisting of an iron table lying on its side, with nyloncovered rubber cords connecting each of the four legs to the walls of the gallery, the sculpture takes up a large part of the gallery space, enabling the viewer to walk around the table and within the area defined by the cords. The walls that the cords attach to are, according to Damasceno’s instructions, painted white. This white background serves as the paper on which the artist “draws” his sculpture. Exhibition curator Carlos Palacios reiterates this fact when he observes that the walls should be “blanquísimas,”1 or pure

62 |

white, and notes that Dois estudos sobre uma dimensão perdida is a classic two-point perspective drawing after the Renaissance precedent.2 Perspective drawings were first used in Italian Renaissance art of the 15th century. The goal of two-point perspective drawing is to show the dimensions of a threedimensional object on a two-dimensional surface as accurately as possible. The lines that make up the drawn object all recede toward two vanishing points, one on either side of the object. The vanishing points are framing points along the horizon at which all horizontal lines seem to meet. In twopoint perspective, vertical lines do not have any perspective: They are seen as flat. The drawn lines of the object continue out to meet the vanishing points, thus connecting the object to the vanishing points. All of these conditions are met in Damasceno’s installation: the cords connected to the wall extend inward from the horizontal portions of the threedimensional table on the floor to the vanishing points on the wall; no cords are

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

attached to the table’s edges. The two points on the wall where the cords attach signify the horizon by specifically marking the two vanishing points. Perspective drawings are typically executed in pencil or pen on paper and in the case of Damasceno’s work the walls act as the support for the “drawn” study in perspective. In addition, the color of the cords and iron table is dark gray, the color of the lead and graphite used in pencils. By rendering in three dimensions what is usually drawn in two dimensions, the artist challenges the viewer’s preconceptions, operating in the realm, as one critic has remarked, of “visual mysteries and conceptual ploys, which can be both brainy and evocative…”3 Another critic mentions, “Damasceno proposes some exciting new relationships between form and process,” as he uses the form of sculpture to depict a process used primarily in painting.4 The title of the work—Two Studies for One Lost Dimension—provides clues about its meaning. The word “studies” is important in that two-point perspective drawings are used as preliminary drawings for a final painting, which shows only the object and not the lines or vanishing point. Perspective

drawings are used to map out what the object should scientifically look like, and then are used as a guide in a final work. At first, Damasceno’s work looks like a single study, as the artist includes the two necessary vanishing points for a two-point perspective. However, the scale of the object allows for two studies. Since only one half of a three-dimensional object can be rendered in two dimensions in a two-point perspective drawing, Damasceno overlays two studies within the one sculpture: the front and the back of the table. Because the sculpture is so large and the viewers are easily able to walk around to see all sides, two distinct perspectives, thus two different studies, are present in the one object. The title also mentions “one lost dimension” in attempting to describe two dimensions in three-dimensional space, Damasceno “loses” the third dimension.

the artist as a structuring condition of his work.”5 Damasceno’s installation crosses the boundary between painting and sculpture by using as his subject a technique used in painting. Moreover, he created an installation sculpture, a twentieth-century art form, to reflect on an artistic process that was discovered more than five hundred years ago. Damasceno uses this nontraditional modern art form to look back at the tradition of perspective in art.

Alicia LaTores Major: Art History

Many of his works look back to other artistic traditions for inspiration. Art historian Márcio Doctors notes, “The experiences which pre-date his work are regarded by


E-mail to author from Carlos E. Palacios, Curator of Contemporary Art, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, September 24, 2007.


“Ella es un dibujo real desde el esquema clásico de la perspectiva desde dos puntos de fuga, propio del renacimiento.” Carlos E. Palacios, e-mail to author, September 24, 2007.


Anthony Downey, “José Damasceno,” Flash Art 39 (May–June 2006), p. 127.


David Ebony, “José Damasceno at the Project,” Art in America 91, No. 9 (September 2003), p. 122.


Márcio Doctors, “Artist/Philosopher,” in José Damasceno, exhibition catalogue (Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Brasil– Estados Unidos Galeria de Arte, 1994), p.13.

José Damasceno: Dois estudos sobre uma dimensão perdida (Two Studies for One Lost Dimension), 1996

| 63

Anna Maria Maiolino Untitled (AMM 443), 1996

Anna Maria Maiolino’s work is widely varied and always inspiring. As an artist she is at once subtle and flamboyant, voicing the obvious and forcing the unwanted image upon the eye. Maiolino has explored many mediums and materials in her work throughout her artistic career, including but not limited to film, paper cutouts, engravings, drawings, paintings, sculpture, and performance. While her experiments and statements created with film could alone fill many books, it is her series of paintings entitled Ações matéricas (Material Actions) that exemplifies the artist’s ability to create something visually interesting and yet incredibly simple. Untitled (AMM 443)—part of the series— is strikingly large, about three feet high and two feet wide, considering how simple it is. Her description of this series opens a window onto understanding this type of work:

The large surfaces of canvas impregnated with intense color receive the ink. Some canvases remain white. The uniform, compact color transforms the canvas into a body of geometric form. White is a sheet of almost immaterial light that receives the ink that runs and condenses… The control of the work depends upon its having a conscious, experimental artifice rather than its being a passive instrument of the ink and the imperious force of gravity.1 Maiolino also gives us a description of how the painting was created, and of the difficulties of that process: These canvases are a challenge to the body, which acts as the chief support for vital impulses connected to the hand and arm at work in the tracing of the ink… The body tires from moving around the canvas, holding it, and accompanying the course being traced by the drop of ink.2

Untitled (AMM 443), 1996 (Detail)

66 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Untitled (AMM 443) represents is a demanding and painstaking combination of physical effort and mental planning. We can see how carefully the canvas had to be held and turned, as Maiolino worked with with paint and gravity. At the same time, we can see how the painting was balanced as a composition: Even though three stark lines leave half the canvas bare, the energy of the horizontal drips fills the space, helping the painting to achieve an equilibrium. Formally challenging, in many ways, Untitled (AMM 443) can be seen as a reflection of Anna Maria Maiolino’s difficult and eccentric personal history. Born in Italy in May 1942, Maiolino and her family sought refuge beyond war-ravaged Europe, and immigrated to South America when she was twelve years old. They spent four years in Venezuela before moving to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Maiolino writes that

from a very young age she “yearned for death,” perhaps revealing an important aspect of her childhood experiences. Being the youngest child in a large family that seldom had enough of anything, she may have harbored confusing or angry thoughts at being left out or left behind. These emotions transferred to her work later on, when she discovered the “path of art” and “finally found shelter” there.3 Untitled (AMM 443) presents an intriguing look into the work of an extremely influential artist and demonstrates how intensity and complexity can be conveyed in a very simple way. Chamisa Kellogg Major: Hispanic Studies/Studio Art

Anna Maria Maiolino: "Ações matéricas," Arco-Arte Contemporânea exhibition catalogue (São Paolo, 1984), p. 273.




Anna Maria Maiolino: “Artist statement," in Arco-Arte Contemporânea, exhibition catalogue (São Paolo, 1984), p. 199.


Anna Maria Maiolino: Untitled (AMM 443), 1996

| 67

Ernesto Neto Piff, piff, piff, 1997

Smell is the sense most strongly tied to memory, a relationship that the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto incorporates into his installation pieces. Inspired by time spent in the interior of his native country and frequent visits to spice shops in Rio de Janeiro with their intense fragrances, he came to be attracted to the spices “because they come from the earth, and especially because they come from Brazil.”1 Ultimately, he created a multisensory sculpture in which all viewers can engage their senses. In Piff, piff, piff (1997), the aromas of turmeric and clove fill the nostrils of passersby, evoking emotions and possibly memories, creating a close connection between the viewer and the work. Neto’s primary goal is to permit the viewer to use

Piff, piff, piff, 1997 (Detail)

multiple senses. The simple materials— three nylon bags containing spices—capture the viewer’s eye and then invite each person to make connections on his or her own. “[P]eople should relate to the work, but this does not necessarily mean that this relation involves touching the work. I open a door for people to develop a more intimate relationship with the projects I conceive.”2 This “intimate relationship” with the viewer is important to Neto. Some of his works even involve music and sounds, and others invite the viewer to touch. In removing the gap between the viewer and the work of art, Neto allows room for a range of interpretation. Piff, piff, piff is part of a series of works created in 1997 and marks the first time spices are utilized. The titles of all the works in the series imitate sounds related to the artworks. In Piff, piff, piff, the title evokes the sound of a sack of spices as it is dropped to the floor from ceiling height.

The elongated nylon sack, tied to the ceiling, emphasizes the work’s verticality, but it also has a malleable sculptural quality, allowing the artist to manipulate the three bags of spices. According to Neto, “When you put different things together, there is an interaction. Each thing puts the other in a new situation, and it is within this interaction that art happens.”3 Not only do elements of the work interact with each other intriguingly but they also relate to their environment, and the bags of spices appear to have grown from the ceiling to the floor. Typical of Brazilian art since the middle of the twentieth century, Neto’s sculptures have a sense of geometry, order, and balance. In Piff, piff, piff, the artist uses three simple lines suspended from the ceiling in a specific order. Because his piece is a sculpture, it encourages multiple perspectives. With no right way to view this piece, the viewer is invited to look at it from different angles. Neto’s work follows the conventions of the Minimalist movement, in which forms are reduced to the barest essentials. Strongly influenced by Hélio

Oiticica, a fellow abstract Brazilian artist, Neto has used Oiticica’s phrase “penetrable sculptures,” referring to pieces that can be entered, to describe his own art. Many are actual spaces that invite people into a more ethereal world.4 In Piff, piff, piff, Neto uses soft forms that, subjected to gravity, take on various qualities of color and texture. The stretched nylon allows light to pass through the colors, emphasizing the quality of translucence. The nylon seems to be stretched to its limit, ready to break. Adding to the fragility of the sculpture, gravity weighs the piles of spices down, allowing the nylon to extend to the maximum. Because it is holding the weight, and stretching so far, the fabric appears translucent and almost skin-like. In many of his pieces, Neto incorporates the body; his fascination with the human form stems from his favorite subject, biology. The

spices seem to permeate the air through the nylon fabric, a further allusion to the body. Neto’s simple forms invite multiple interpretations. The pieces are meant to be contemplated and discussed. Neto cautions us, however, that, “Written and spoken language is not enough to understand what is going on…I believe that if it were ‘talkable’ I would not need to conceive a project.”5 In Piff, piff, piff, the bright, bold colors of blue, yellow, and red attract the eye, while the aromas of the spices engage one’s olfactory sense. Neto creates a multisensory experience for the viewer, inviting each person to make connections and find different ways of understanding the artwork.

Meghan Quigley Major: Art History


Rochelle Steiner, Wonderland (St. Louis, MO: St. Louis Art Museum, 2000), pp. 86–87.


Cecilia Pareira, “The Fragility of the World,” Ernesto Neto o corpo, nu tempo (Galicia, Spain: Cento Galego de Arte Contemporánea, 2002), p. 303.


Steiner, Wonderland, p. 86.


Pareira, “The Fragility of the World,” p. 303.


Ibid., p. 308.

Ernesto Neto: Piff, piff, piff, 1997

| 71

Magdalena Fern谩ndez Cubo m贸vil (Mobile Cube), 1998

The poetics of Magdalena Fernández pursues the finer lyricism of forms in space. Her installations work toward suggestive perceptive effects: her pieces are the moving shapes she creates from her imagination.1

The Venezuelan artist Magdalena Fernández is recognized as one of the most significant exemplars of Geometric Abstraction. Fernández’s education includes a strong background in physics and mathematics, and the artist was trained in graphic design from 1985 to 1993, first at the Instituo de Diseño Neumann (Neumann Institute of Design) in Caracas, then at Inscape Design College in South Africa and at the Fronzoni Studio in Milan. She acknowledges her time in Italy, which she spent working with her teacher

74 |

and mentor, the late Bauhaus architect A.G. Fronzoni, as a dramatic point of influence in her work. Fernández was especially motivated by fellow Latin American artists of the twentieth century, including Jesús Rafael Soto (1923–2005), Carlos CruzDíez (1923– ), and Gego (Gertrud Luise Goldschmidt, 1912–94), all of whom were also practitioners of Geometric Abstraction as well as of Op Art and Kinetic Art. In her sculptures and installations, Fernández utilizes industrial materials, without particular regard to their durability, transforming them into patterns or shapes that divide and reinvent space. Her works are simple in structure yet kinetic, allowing the viewer to engage physically with each piece by manipulating the moving parts. Light, limitless space, and simplicity of form are ever present in her work, as is a creative and innovative use of material. Fernández believes that her work is defined by the soul and emotion she puts into every piece:

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

…a novel material does not signify anything if you do not do anything with it, if you do not put of your soul in the material, because no matter how marvelous it is, it does not offer you anything emotionally or affectively nor does it open things to you if you do not make it speak…2 In the artist’s hands, inorganic materials become objects that assume organic qualities. Geometric forms that are static and finite thus become versatile and infinite, while Fernández’s use of light and shadow, altered by the possibility of movement, permits each viewer to experience a unique engagement with her work. Cubo móvil (Mobile Cube), from 1998, is clearly an homage to the minimalist Bauhaus style, which focused on pure, simple elements, materials, and composition. The piece is comprised of aluminum rods hinged in each corner to enable the viewer to transform the work into new shapes and forms. Rather than a solid, impenetrable mass, the cube is a sleek, kinetic skeleton that allows light to

pass through it and reflect off the metal rods, casting an ever-changing shadow. Through the interactive quality of Cubo móvil, Fernández enables viewers to experience a physical connection with a work of art. She, in fact, “recuperates the sense of vision, a visuality which, although beautiful, also involves the spectator by placing him in a communion with the work, and offering exceptional moments of pleasure, reflection, and meditation.”3 The artist invites our touch, allowing us to respond to the work in a way that feels comfortable to us in the moment, heightening our awareness of the piece, and altering how it appears to those who next encounter it. She challenges us to observe how the cube exists in space and time, and then, as a result of our manipulation, to acknowledge how the piece can be altered, how the space surrounding it can change, how our perception is shifted by its movement. By directly interacting with Cubo móvil, we become the artist, if only for a moment, and redefine for ourselves and for others what can be seen and experienced in the

work. Fernández lends respect to raw form and certain aspects of its static quality while at the same time encouraging us to defy the laws of permanence, resulting in an experience that becomes less about the structure and definition of the work and more about reinvention of the space it occupies. Magdelena Fernández’s work taken as a whole is a tribute to the Latin American artists who blazed a trail for younger contemporary artists like herself. In the example of Cubo móvil, the sculpture’s transformative characteristics both symbolize the artist’s connection with the past and interact with the viewer in the present.

Elizabeth Ann Cronin Major: Art History

Cubo móvil (Mobile Cube), 1998 (Detail)


Nydia Gutiérrez, “De discretas autorías,” De Descritas Autorías (Maracay, Venezuela: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Maracay Mario Abreu, 1998), p. 69.


“…un material por novedoso no significa nada si tú no haces nada con él, si tu no pones de tu alma en el material, porque por más maravilloso que sea no te aporta nada emocionalmente o afectivamente o no te abre cosas si tu no lo haces hablar…” Magdalena Fernández, unpublished interview with Ingrid Melizan (translation mine), August 9, 2007.


Susana Benko, “Magdalena Fernández. Sala Mendoza,” ArtNexus 32 (1999), pp. 139–41.

Magdalena Fernández: Cubo móvil (Mobile Cube), 1998

| 75

Exhibition Checklist

76 |

Juan Araujo Reflejo en Coloritmo 48 (Reflection in Colorhythm 48), 2006 Oil on wood 19 9/16 x 15 3/4 x 7/8 in

Sigfredo Chacón Made In, 1975 Acrylic and ink on paper 16 9/16 x 11 13/16 in

Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck Análisis (Analysis), 2000 Video intervention in an ink-on-paper drawing Variable dimensions

José Damasceno Dois estudos sobre uma dimensão perdida (Two Studies for One Lost Dimension), 1996 Iron and nylon-covered rubber cord 90 9/16 x 189 3/4 x 425 3/16 in

Luis Camnitzer Sentence Reflecting the Sentence That States the Reflection, 1975 Wood, bronze, and glass 13 3/4 x 9 3/4 x 2 in

Danilo Dueñas Velocidades (Velocities), 2005 Installation using various materials Variable dimensions

Sigfredo Chacón Dibujo plastificado No. 12 (Laminated Drawing No. 12), 1992 Industrial acrylic paint and transparent resin on canvas 66 15/16 x 51 15/16 x 1 15/16 in

León Ferrari Untitled, 1962 Ink on acrovinyl paint on wood 16 1/8 x 9 1/16 x 5/16 in

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Dulce Gómez Autorretrato anónimo (Anonymous Self-Portrait), 1995 Die, paper-shredder, and printers’ waste sheets Variable dimensions

Gego Untitled 73-13, 1973 Ink on paper 39 3/8 x 27 9/16 in

Imi Knoebel Odyshape V, 1994 Industrial paint on aluminum structure 30 1/8 x 30 1/8 x 6 3/16 in

José Gabriel Fernández Tablón No. 2 (Board No. 2), 2006 Plaster on fiberboard 67 x 22 1/2 x 2 1/4 in

Gego Untitled 73-14, 1973 Ink on paper 39 3/8 x 27 9/16 in

Imi Knoebel Weiß Blau Rot Gelb II (White Blue Red Yellow II), 1994 Acrylic, aluminum, and wood 455 1/2 x 451 3/16 x 5 1/2 in

José Gabriel Fernández Tablón No. 3 (Board No. 3), 2006 Plaster on fiberboard 67 x 22 1/2 x 2 1/4 in

Gego Untitled 73-16, 1973 Ink on paper 39 3/8 x 27 9/16 in

Sherrie Levine Untitled, 1986 Acrylic on wood 24 x 20 1/16 x 1 3/16 in

Magdalena Fernández Cubo móvil (Mobile Cube), 1998 Polished aluminum rods 9 3/8 x 39 3/8 x 1 9/16 in

Gego Untitled 73-17, 1973 Ink on paper 39 3/8 x 27 9/16 in

Anna Maria Maiolino Untitled (AMM 443), 1996 Acrylic on paper 9 3/8 x 27 9/16 in

Exhibition Checklist

| 77

Anna Maria Maiolino Untitled (AMM 425), 1995 Acrylic on paper 39 3/8 x 27 9/16 in

Lia Menna Barreto Rebanho (Herd), 1992 Fabric, canvas, leatherette, glass bowls, and synthetic fiber 33 7/16 x 70 7/8 x 14 9/16 in

Cildo Meireles A Diferença entre o circulo e a esfera é o peso (The Difference between the Circle and the Sphere Is Weight), 1976 Paper of different types and sizes Variable dimensions

Oscar Muñoz Narciso seco (Dry Narcissus), 1996 Charcoal powder and silicon affixed to Plexiglas 27 15/16 x 27 15/16 x 1 3/16 in

Cildo Meireles Malhas da liberdade (Meshes of Freedom), 1976 Iron and glass 47 1/4 x 47 1/4 in

Oscar Muñoz Narciso seco (Dry Narcissus), 1996 Charcoal powder and silicon affixed to Plexiglas 28 1/16 x 28 x 1 5/16 in

Ana Mendieta Silueta (Silhouette) Series. Works made in Mexico, 1973-77 Color chromogenic prints Each 13 x 20 in

78 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Ernesto Neto Piff, piff, piff, 1997 Nylon stockings, graphite powder, clove powder, and turmeric powder Variable dimensions

Roberto Obregón Niagara VI (Ele A y Eme Be), 1999 36 scalpel-cut Durasol silhouettes, red yarn, and steel nails 78 3/4 x 251 15/16 in

Alejandro Otero Untitled, 1945 Conté crayon on paper 16 15/16 x 22 13/16 in

Hélio Oiticica Metaesquema (Meta-scheme), 1958 Gouache and ink on cardboard 19 11/16 x 24 in

Liliana Porter From the Drawing Book, 1982 Silk screen and acrylic on paper 22 7/16 x 30 3/16 in

Hélio Oiticica Metaesquema (Meta-scheme), 1957 Gouache and Chinese ink on paper 17 11/16 x 21 1/16 in

Beto de Volder Untitled, 2003 Industrial enamel on fiberboard 4 13/16 x 26 x 9/16 in

Alejandro Otero Coloritmo (Colorhythm), 1956 Industrial enamel on wood 16 9/16 x 67 1/16 x 1 3/16 in

Exhibition Checklist

| 79

Biographical Notes Juan Araujo

(b. Caracas, Venezuela, 1971)

A contemporary interpreter of Venezuela’s landscape-painting tradition, Araujo emphasizes the use of appropriation, reproduction, and repetition in his work. He studied art at the Instituto Universitario de Estudios Superiores de Artes Plásticas Armando Reverón and began exhibiting his paintings in 1994, before graduating from the institute. He currently works in Caracas. By reproducing modern iconic art images—primarily landscapes by well-known artists—taken from book covers, postcards, and catalogues, Araujo explores the role of work’s original identity and the relationship between viewer and art in series of smallformat works using classic oil-painting techniques. His paintings investigate questions of modernism versus tradition while pointing out the debt that our perceptions owe to methods of reproduction. Among Araujo’s best-known works are Versión del paisaje mágico de Reverón (Version of Reverón’s Magic Landscape, 1998); the series Relámpagos del Catatumbo (Lightning on the Catatumbo: 1991); Pequeño museo imaginario (Little Imaginary Museum, 2001); Valles y ventanas (Valleys and Windows, 2000); El libro de Alejandro Otero (The Book of Alejandro Otero, 2002); and the series Cielos violeta (Violet Skies, 2003), Torres del Silencio (Towers of Silence, 2005), and Flores fantasmas (Ghost Flowers, 2006). Araujo’s work has been exhibited in the Sixth Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil (2007), and the 27th São Paulo Biennial (2006), and at the Americas Society Art Gallery, New York (2005), and the Museo de Arte Moderno Jésus Soto, Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela (2005), among other venues.

Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck (b. Caracas, Venezuela, 1972)

A mixed-media artist, Balteo Yazbeck studied design at the Universidad Nueva Esparta from 1989 to 1991, after which he concentrated on sculpture at the Instituto Universitario de Estudios Superiores de Artes Plásticas Armando Reverón until 1998. He graduated with a degree in architecture and city planning from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in 2000. Balteo Yazbeck first showed his work in the 1994 exhibition Índice (Index) at the Museo de Artes Visuales Alejandro Otero in Caracas. That same year, he was awarded first prize at the 2nd Camille Pissarro Biennial, held at the Centro Cultural Consolidado, also in Caracas. Since that time, his work has been included in major contemporary art exhibitions in Venezuela, as well as in the United States, Spain, Peru, and Brazil. Balteo Yazbek’s art can be described as Constructivist, informed by Conceptualism. In Esquino, an experiment begun in 1995, the artist opened a “store,” with branches in each venue displaying the work. The store sold a single product: the esquino—a little pyramidshaped china object. Balteo Yazbeck registered every sale, keeping detailed records of each purchaser and entering the time and geographic location of the sale on maps hung on the walls of the various installation venues. Pedacito de cielo (A Little Piece of Heaven), from 1998, comments ironically on the indifferent treatment given to art in public spaces and raises questions about the process and sustainability of the “modernization” on which the country embarked during the 1950s. For this work, Balteo Yazbeck conceived an “intimate museum,” in which he assembled a number of Venezuelan Geometric Abstract works, both well-known and neglected. These

80 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

are anchored by one of his own works, created from pieces of a deteriorating ceramic-tile mural made by Alejandro Otero as part of that “modernization” process. Almost a decade later, under the title UNstabile-Mobile (2007), Balteo Yazbeck turned to the theme of war, and its indictment. Using diverse materials including magazines, documents, carbon fiber, acrylic, metal, and a compass, he created a model of Iraq’s oilfield infrastructure in the style of an Alexander Calder mobile. The artist has divided his time between New York and Caracas since 2002.

Lia Menna Barreto

(b. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1959)

Brazilian artist Lia Barreto studied drawing at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and went on to create radical assemblages and installation works that, with their strange, unexpected—and occasionally repulsive—forms, challenge our way of perceiving the world. The theme of childhood has informed her aesthetic discourse since the early 1980s, through the use of dolls, stuffed toys, small plastic objects, children’s games, and fabric, combined with organic elements. Since her first exhibition, held in 1985 at the Museu de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul. Barreto’s work has been shown at a wide range of venues, including the Museu de Arte Moderna, Sao Paulo; the Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; House of World Cultures, Berlin; and the Sixth Havana Biennial. The apparent innocence of the materials the artist uses conceals the work’s contradictory, transgressive readings. Assemblages include dolls that have been taken apart or dismembered, sewn together, pierced with metal bars, or placed inside other dolls. She puts plants into doll’s heads as if they were pots, exhibits them as trophies from a hunt, or melts dolls, plants, and animals onto sheets of silk. In Bonecas derretidas (Melted Dolls, 1995), a large piece of silk organza is covered with plastic dolls that have been melted onto it with a hot iron. Máquina de bordar (Embroidery Machine, 1999) stitches together corn shoots growing out of a baby’s damp diaper. The performance Fábrica (Factory, 2003) features three people at work producing a kind of tablecloth out of toy animals. Glass screens surround the workers, transforming them into specimens under observation. Through her work, Barreto evokes the violence, loneliness, and fear that threaten contemporary existence, criticizing what she sees as individualistic society and the dehumanizing march of technology. She currently lives and works in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Luis Camnitzer

(b. Lübeck, Germany, 1937)

Known as a Conceptual artist, Camnitzer was born in Germany but immigrated with his family to Uruguay when he was a year old. He graduated with a degree in in sculpture from the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Universidad de la República, Uruguay, after which he studied architecture at the same university, and sculpture and engraving at the Academy of Fine Arts, in Munich. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1961 and 1982, and in 1998 he received the annual critics’ prize in Latin-American art awarded by the Asociación Argentina de Crítica de Arte, followed by the Konex Prize at the Mercosul Biennial in Brazil in 2002. Camnitzer sees art as a political tool, and uses it to explore power, violence, and Latin American identity. Masacre de Puerto Mont (1969) recounts in words and lines drawn on the floor the murder of peasants in Chile under the government of Eduardo Frei Montalva. In

Biographical Notes

| 81

the later Serie de tortura uruguaya (Uruguayan Torture Series, 1983), the artist’s subject is the horrific methods of torture used by the dictatorship established in 1974 by Juan María Bordaberry. Leftovers (1970) consists of 80 boxes wrapped in gauze stained with red ink, a reference to mutilated bodies. Camnitzer was the subject of a retrospective exhibition held at Lehman College Art Gallery in New York in 1991. In 2007, a survey of his work was on view at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de San José, in Costa Rica. He has lived and worked in New York since 1964. Since 1999, he has been curator of the work of emerging artists at The Drawing Center in New York City. He is a Professor Emeritus of Art at the State University of New York, Old Westbury.

Sigfredo Chacón

(b. Caracas, Venezuela, 1950)

The Venezuelan painter, draftsman, and designer Sigfredo Chacón was trained in fine art at Escuela de Artes Visuales Cristóbal Rojas in Caracas from 1963 to 1966 but left before graduating because of his differences with what he saw as the institution’s archaic teaching methods. From 1966 to 1970, he studied graphic design at the Instituto de Diseño Neumann also in Caracas, continuing his studies at London’s Chelsea School of Art (1972–73) and the London College of Printing (1974–75). In 1966, he had a solo exhibition at the Galería Gamma (Caracas), and between then and 1971 he was included in the Third Salón Círculo Pez Dorado (Ateneo de Caracas, 1965), the Salón de la Joven Pintura, 1965, the Second Festival del Zapato Roto (Universidad Central de Venezuela, 1965), and the Joven Actualidad Venezolana I (Galería Estudio Actual, 1969), all in Caracas. From 1972 to 1989, Chacón concentrated on graphic design, earning a reputation as one of the best in the field. In 1971, along with Venezuelan artists Ibrahim Nebreda and William Stone, he created the installation El Autobús. An early event that signaled Chacón’s avant-garde direction, the work consisted of a full-size bus salvaged from a junkyard and installed at the cultural center Ateneo de Caracas. At the Sala Rómulo Gallegos in Caracas, in 1989, the artist presented a series of drawings and oil-on-canvas paintings executed between 1984 and 1987 using unconventional materials such as industrial enamel and asphalt, combined with encaustic paint, paper, and acrylics. These marked the beginning of his unique abstract language. The solo exhibition Pinturas parlantes (Talking Paintings), held in 1995 at the Museo Jacobo Borges in Caracas, reflected Chacón’s experiments in Conceptual and Minimalist art. The exhibition featured series of polyptychs that take as their starting point the Spanish names for primary colors, along with black and white, creating a kind of chromatic word association-disassociation game. Between 1995 and 2006, Chacón used drips and collaged layers of acrylic paint to construct a series of work he called Pure Abstract Paintings. He is currently based in Caracas.

José Damasceno

(b. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1968)

Known for his expansive installations and sculptures that incorporate a variety of unconventional materials and processes, the Brazilian artist José Damasceno was trained as an architect. This exerts an important influence on his art. Since it was first shown in 1990, Damasceno’s work has been exhibited frequently throughout Latin America, including at the Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; the Museu Aloísio Magalhães, Recife, Brazil; and the Centro Cultural São Paulo. In 2002, the artist was invited to participate in the 25th São Paulo Biennial, and the following year he exhibited at the Fourth Bienal do Mercosul, in Porto Alegre. In 2005 and 2007, respectively, his work appeared in the Brazilian Pavilion at the 51st and 53rd Venice Biennales.

82 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Damasceno’s aesthetic strategies attempt to alter the viewer’s perceptions by playing with preconceived notions of spatial ordering and materials, transforming familiar processes and objects into something new. In Observation Plan, for example, created for the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art in 2003, the artist stuck 30,000 yellow number 2 pencils into a wall, which when viewed from a distance, appeared to be 30,000 dots that took the form of a “drawing” of people viewing artworks in a museum. He used a similar approach in the 1998 work Paisagem crescendo (Growing Landscape), a sculptural wallscape made out of cigarettes. In 2001, for Durante o caminho vertical (During the Vertical Trail), he erected 32 floor-to-ceiling columns made out of telephone books in a gallery space. In Cinema elástico (1998), Organograma (1997), and Árbore inconsciente (2000), the artist built mazes out of cigarette butts, plastic, and sponges. Damasceno is currently based in Rio de Janeiro.

Danilo Dueñas

(b. Calí, Colombia, 1956)

A Colombian artist, Dueñas studied law at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá from 1975 to 1979, but turned to painting and installation art full-time in 1981. From 1990 to 2003, he was a professor in the art department of the Universidad de Los Andes and a member of the arts faculty of the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, also in Bogotá. His assemblages typically consist of objects and such detritus as pieces of wood and Formica, packing tape, and cardboard boxes found at or in the vicinity of the exhibition venue. The artist then arranges these in a manner that blurs the distinction between installation and painting. Dueñas is widely represented in major art collections in Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America. His work was featured in a solo exhibition in 1987 at the Guggenheim Gallery in Miami, as well as in group exhibitions in Chile (1991) and Costa Rica (1995), and received a prize in the Sixth Salón Regional de Artistas de Bogotá in 1993. In 2005, a retrospective of his work was held at the Museo de Arte de Bogotá and at the Museo de Arte de la Universidad Nacional, also in Bogotá, where he currently resides.

José Gabriel Fernández (b. Caracas, Venezuela, 1957)

The Venezuelan mixed-media artist José Gabriel Fernández, known for his provocative investigations of themes ranging from nature and the body to violence, mythology, rituals, and culture, studied art at Middlesex Polytechnic in London in the late 1970s. The first exhibition of his work took place at the Espacio Alterno (Alternative Space) of the Galería de Arte Nacional in Caracas, at the beginning of the 1980s. Returning to London, he studied at the Slade School of Fine Arts and London University in 1986–88. He is an alumnus (1989) of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. In 1990, Fernández was awarded the Eugenio Mendoza Prize (Sala Mendoza, Caracas) for a Minimalist work based on the myth of Narcissus, and in the same year his installation piece featuring pinhole projections of the Venezuelan landscape, Ojos mágicos (Magic Eyes), was included in the exhibition Venezuela: Nuevas cartografías y cosmogonías (Venezuela: New Cartographies and Cosmogonies) at the Galería de Arte Nacional, in Caracas. During the 1990s, he participated in exhibitions at major cultural institutions in Caracas, New York, Chicago, and Miami. Beginning in 1998, and continuing through the early 2000s, he developed a series of sculptural installations that explored bullfighting and the aesthetic of the matador. Fernández has lived and worked in New York City since 1988.

Biographical Notes

| 83

Magdalena Fernández

(b. Caracas, Venezuela, 1964)

After completing her studies in graphic design at the Instituto de Diseño Neumann in Caracas in 1989, Fernández trained at the studio of the well-known product and graphic designer A.G. Fronzoni, in Milan, Italy, from 1990 to 1993. Under his mentoring, she began to explore spatial relationships in both two- and three-dimensional work. Connected to the Venezuelan artistic traditions of Op Art and Geometric Abstraction, and influenced by artists like Gego, Jesús Soto, and Alejandro Otero, Fernández typically produces mobile sculptural constructions. Inspired by natural elements, these emphasize purity of form, and the space that form creates, as well as viewer interaction. Her earliest installation work, Estructuras (Structures), created in 1993 for the Sala Mendoza in Caracas, featured hundreds of black rubber spheres connected by nylon thread and suspended from the ceiling equidistantly but from different heights, creating distinct planes in the exhibition space. In the artwork 1i995, from 1995, at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Caracas, she scattered 113 black steel springs on a white platform; the movement of viewers passing by caused the springs to vibrate. Since 1989, Fernández’s work has been exhibited in Italy, Spain, Brazil, France, the United States, Colombia, Israel, and Venezuela. In 1996, she received the Arturo Michelena Award (Salón Arturo Michelena) and the Eugenio Mendoza Prize (Sala Mendoza, Caracas). In 1999, she was awarded the Christian Dior Biennial Prize and named the Best Foreign Artist at the Atlantic Forum in Pontevedra, Spain. From 2002 to 2004, she taught in the master’s program at the Instituto Universitario de Estudios Superiores de Artes Plásticas Armando Reverón in Caracas, and during those years exhibited at the Museu de Arte Moderna in São Paulo and the Museo de Artes Visuales Alejandro Otero in Caracas. She currently resides and works in Caracas.

León Ferrari

(b. Buenos Aires, 1920)

A poet and Conceptual artist who has worked in sculpture and printmaking, Ferrari began his art career around 1955 as a self-taught sculptor, and by 1959 he was producing soldered-wire sculptures, collages, and drawings. With the writer Rafael Alberti, he published the book Escrito en el aire (Written in the Air) in 1964. His exploration of the ties between written language and images is exemplified by his seminal series Manuscritos, begun in 1964, in which Ferrari turned written notations into an image and image into written narrative. Politically active and provocative from early on, in 1965 Ferrari exhibited his controversial work La civilización occidental y cristiana (Western-Christian Civilization) at the Instituto Di Tella in Buenos Aires. This assemblage, featuring an image of Christ crucified on an American Air Force bomber, was created in protest of the Vietnam War. Pressure from the Catholic Church forced the exhibition to be censored. The work was presented again at the 52nd Venice Biennale, at which Ferrari was awarded the Leone d’Oro. Other works from the 1960s include the events Tucumán arde (Tucumán Burning, 1968) and Malvenido Rockefeller (Rockefeller Unwelcome, 1969) and the manifesto El Arte de los significados (The Art of Meanings, 1968). After the 1976 military coup in Argentina, Ferrari moved in São Paulo, where he remained until returning to Buenos Aires in 1991. During his time in Brazil, he experimented with photocopy and mail art as well as heliographs, and explored the theme of musical instruments. He also produced “written visual art pieces,” in which he presented an enlarged written description of his artwork. In 1997 he began the irreverent series Brailles, using the poems of Borges, printed over Man Ray nudes, as well as classical religious images and news stories perforated by Braille versions of biblical verses. In late 2004, at the age of 84, a retrospective of his work was held at the Centro Cultural Recoleta and the Museo de Arte de Buenos Aires. Ferrari currently lives and works in Buenos Aires.

84 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros


(b. Hamburg, 1912; d. Caracas,1994)

The Venezuelan artist Gertrud Goldschmidt worked under the pseudonym “Gego.” Born in Hamburg, Germany, she studied architecture at Stuttgart University. With the rise of the Nazis, she immigrated to Venezuela in 1939 and became a Venezuelan citizen in 1952. From 1940 to 1944, Gego worked as an architect and industrial designer. Taking pure abstraction as a starting point, guided by Constructivism, she began exploring problems of sculptural space in 1956. In 1958, she investigated the formal possibilities of projecting planes, modules, and parallel lines onto curved surfaces, and exhibited her first iron sculptures at the gallery-bookstore Cruz del Sur. The following year her work was included in the Venezuelan Pavilion at the Brussels International Fair, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York bought her 1958 piece Esfera (Sphere). During the 1960s, while creating sculptures for architectural projects, Gego also experimented with printmaking techniques, teaching at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and the Escuela de Artes Visuales Cristóbal Rojas in Caracas. In 1961, she had her first solo exhibition, at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas. In 1969, she began her series Reticuláreas, in which she “wove” delicate stainless steel rods into web-like patterns, creating room-sized environments. During the early 1970s, she began two series of sculptural environments inspired by nature, the aluminum-rod Chorros (Streams, 1970) and Cuerdas (Cords, 1972), consisting of suspended strips of nylon and stainless steel. In the same vein, in 1974, she produced Troncos (Trunks) and Esferas (Spheres), featuring schematized geometrical shapes. Around 1976, she started her series of Dibujos sin papel (Drawings without Paper), delicate structures of iron and wire hanging from the wall that explored the properties of the line in three-dimensional form. The artist produced the wire sculptures Bichos (Creatures) during the 1980s, a decade that also saw the creation of her final, and one her most significant series, Tejeduras: small fields of orthogonal lines woven from pieces of paper. Gego has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and her work is included in the collections of major museums and cultural institutions in Venezuela, Colombia, the United Stares, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Spain, among many other locations. A retrospective of her work was held in 2003 at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas.

Dulce Gómez

(b. Caracas, 1967)

A Venezuelan artist who currently lives and works in Caracas, Gómez began her studies in that city at the Escuela de Artes Visuales Cristóbal Rojas in 1983. She made her exhibition debut in 1986, at the Bienal de Artes Visuales de Oriente, in Cumaná, Venezuela, where she showed Espacio aislado-espacio figurado (Isolated Space—Figurative Space), an installation that would serve as her thesis project. Gómez’s work can be characterized by an aggressive hand—a seeming disdain in the treatment and selection of the materials she uses, evidenced by her tearing the canvas, incorporating organic materials, and leaving the work with an unfinished appearance. Her gestural, visceral, and reflective paintings touch on themes of privacy, routine, loneliness, the idea of the infinite, and the transitory nature of humanity’s time on Earth. Moving freely between mediums and disciplines, she experiments with flat colors and materials not traditionally associated with plastic arts. Among her works are Muelle (Pier, 1992) and La inmersión (Immersion, 1993), both executed in ink and acrylic on canvas and incorporating color photographs of miniature furniture floating in a mixture of water and ink. In Dibujo en proceso (Drawing in Process, 1992), the artist recorded the sound a pencil makes drawing on paper. Autorretrato anónimo (Anonymous Self-Portrait), made in 1995, consists of a paper-shredder that continuously spews out quantities of cutout paper dolls. In another work, Tintorería de lujo

Biographical Notes

| 85

(Deluxe Dry Cleaners, 2000), her subject is an artwork that previously had been rejected by exhibition venues and which she displayed with a plastic covering, bill, and receipt, just as if it had been sent to the dry cleaners. Gómez is co-editor, along with the architect Francisco Villanueva and graphic designer Alvaro Sotillo, of the book Arte Contemporáneo Venezolano, published in 2006.

Imi Knoebel

(b. Dessau, Germany, 1940)

Imi Knoebel (pseudonym of Wolf Knoebel) has achieved prominence for his monochromatic abstractions that use the stretcher and the canvas, as well as other unconventional materials, to analyze the components of painting: its surface, structure, and the wall on which the work hangs. Knoebel studied at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art from 1964 to 1971, working under the Conceptual artist Joseph Beuys, and had his first exhibition in 1968 in Copenhagen. His early series Linienbilder (1966–68), black and white paintings featuring grids of lines, was heavily influenced by Russian artist Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist work Black Square (1915). Russian Constructivism would also have a significant impact on Knoebel’s artistic conception and practice. In Knoebel’s paintings, form, line, and color are superimposed, diluting the boundaries between painting, installation, and sculpture. In work such as his Odyshape series from the 1990s, Knoebel uses industrial paint in a Mondrian-like range of elegant colors spread on sheets or strips of aluminum. Knoebel’s work is represented in numerous major museums and other collections. In 1996–97, a retrospective of his work was mounted at the Haus der Kunst, Munich, traveling to the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Julio González Art Center, Valencia, Spain. Knoebel is based in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Sherrie Levine

(b. Hazleton, Pennsylvania, 1947)

This American Conceptual artist belongs to the first generation of artists—which also includes Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, and Richard Prince—for whom the critique of representation, and the accompanying exploration of the meaning of originality, authenticity, and authorship, was an important subject. Levine received an MFA in graphic art and design from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1973. She first became known for work that featured the reappropriation of existing art and images. In 1979 she produced eight collages and watercolors based on the works of Andreas Feininger, and that same year experimented with rephotographing nudes by Edward Weston and landscapes by Eliot Porter. She received critical acclaim in 1981 with a solo exhibition at New York’s Metro Pictures gallery entitled After Walker Evans, in which she rephotographed Evans’s famous Depression-era photographs from an exhibition catalogue and exhibited them without any further manipulation of the images. Levine abandoned appropriation for a few years and produced a series of paintings that, as she herself said, “not only had to do with art history, but also with personal history and memory. I wanted to make paintings that were both formal and allegoric.” This group includes both her 1985 series of plywood boards, characterized by geometric blocks of color and inspired by the Minimalist paintings she had rejected in her earlier years, and her later representations of game boards. The artist would return to appropriation methods, using watercolor and painting, and today even uses a computer to reproduce works by Duchamp, Man Ray, and others in three dimensions. She signs these pieces as “stolen,” continuing to raise the question of authenticity. Levine lives and works in New York City.

86 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Ana María Maiolino (b. Scalea, Italy, 1942)

The Italian-born multimedia artist Ana María Maiolino immigrated to Venezuela in 1954 and began her studies at the Escuela de Artes Visuales Cristóbal Rojas in Caracas. In 1960 she went to Brazil, and continued her studies there at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes de Rio de Janeiro. She became a Brazilian citizen in 1968. During the 1960s and 1970s, Maiolino produced work associated with various styles, including Neo-Concretism, New Figuration, Minimalism, and, toward the end of the 1960s, the movement that became known as the New Brazilian Objectivity. Her work, which encourages viewer participation, fuses the personal and the political and often incorporates the written word. This is evident in the series Mapas Mentais (Mental Maps, 1971–74) and the object-drawings Buracos negros (Black Holes, c. 1974), as well as in a number of the artist’s books. Using a range of supports, techniques, and materials, the artist investigates issues connected with the human body, particularly female sexuality, and modern-day urban congestion. Maiolino focused on painting in the 1980s, and at the beginning of the 1990s her interest in materials prompted her to also create wall-sculptures and reliefs in clay, plaster, and even cement. Her installation work allowed her to express more overt political notions: Entrevidas (1981) proposes crossing a space that has been “mined” with 70 dozen chicken eggs. The work touches on danger, death, life, resistance, fragility, continuity, and territory. During the 1990s, influenced by the Argentinian Conceptual artist Víctor Grippo (1936– 2002), Maiolino produced a group of works using huge quantities of clay. In both Muitos (Many, 1991–95) and Sao Estes (These Are the Ones, 1998), a large room filled with molded balls of clay suggests an analogy between the use and recycling of this material and the processes of life. In 2002, a retrospective exhibition of Maiolino’s work entitled A Life Line was held at The Drawing Center in New York. Maiolino currently lives and works in Rio de Janeiro.

Cildo Meireles

(b. Rio de Janeiro, 1948)

The Brazilian Cildo Meireles who is today internationally recognized today for his sociopolitically charged installations, paintings, drawings, objects, and performances, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At age 15, he moved with his family to Brasilía, the country’s new capital. That same year, 1963, he had his first solo exhibition at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Salvador, Bahia. The following year, shortly after the military seized control of the Brazilian government, Meireles enrolled at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro. In response to the brutal military regime, and inspired by the Neo-Concrete artists before him, Meireles began to produce art that subverted commonplace assumptions and grappled with violence and repression, with an emphasis on public participation. He often used unconventional materials and exhibition methods. In 1970, he produced the key series Inserções em circuitos ideológicos (Insertions into Ideological Circuits), in which he confronted totalitarianism in Brazil by writing subversive messages on national banknotes, telephone tokens, and carbonated drink bottles, which he put back into circulation. Meireles lived in New York from 1971 to 1973, creating multimedia installations that encouraged the involvement of the viewer. He has been based in Rio de Janeiro since 1973. His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions at major museums and venues in Brazil and Venezuela, the United Sates, and Europe. Among these are the Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro (1969, 1975, 1981, 1984, and 1987); the Mercosul

Biographical Notes

| 87

Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil (1997); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1970 and 1990); the Venice Biennale (1976), the Sã Paulo Biennial (1981, 1989 and 1998); the Musée National d´Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1989, 1996, and 1997); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, London.

Ana Mendieta

(b. Havana, Cuba, 1948; d. New York, 1985)

The American artist Ana Mendieta was sent by her parents from her native to Cuba to orphanages and adoptive families in Iowa in 1961 when Fidel Castro began to consolidate power. She went on to study at the University of Iowa, where she attended the Intermedia Program and Center for New Performing Arts, developing her unique formal language. In the mid-1970s, she moved to New York City. During her short but intense artistic career, she explored many different techniques— performance art video, photography, drawing, printmaking, installation art, and sculpture—but primarily experiments in Body Art and Earthworks. Because of the ephemeral nature of her work, much of her output has been documented in photographs, films, and videotapes. Mendieta obsessively used her own body as both a subject and object of creation. The series Body Traces (1974), performances documented in photographs, shows the artist dipping her hands in a mixture of animal blood and red ink, then dragging them down a wall, leaving traces. In the Silueta (Silhouette) Series, 1972–82, among her bestknown work, Mendieta’s figure is photographed as it interacts with the earth in some way: covered with tree branches, mud, or other natural elements, as a burnt outline, or tattooed. She appears nude, invoking the image of a goddess or a virgin and mixing aspects of African, Afro-Cuban, and Indo-American rituals with those from the ancient cultures of Asia and Europe. Mendieta’s metaphorical, autobiographical abstractions explore the artist’s personal history in the Caribbean, while also addressing the broader themes of identity, sexuality, violence, feminine exclusion, and cultural alienation. Since the artist’s death as the result of a fall from her New York City apartment window in 1985 at age 36, Mendieta’s work has been increasingly hailed for its breakthrough achievements. In 1996, the Galician Contemporary Art Center, in collaboration with the Tapiès Foundation, organized a retrospective of Mendieta's work that traveled to the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, the Miami Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Óscar Muñoz

(b. Popayán, Colombia, 1951)

The Colombian Conceptual artist Oscar Muñoz concentrates on photography-based work, using materials as diverse as charcoal powder, plaster, shower curtains, bars of soap, crumpled or torn paper, manipulated aerial photography, and natural elements such as light, water, and air. Muñoz’s particular interest is the portrait. In Narcisos (Narcissi, 1994–2003), a series of selfportraits executed in powdered charcoal, suspended on a watery surface inside transparent containers, Muñoz records the effect of time on the “drawn” faces, a reference to life processes. As the water begins to evaporate, the outlines of the faces begin to deform, slowly wrinkling and dissolving. Transmutation, fragility, instability, impermanence, and deterioration are present again in Aliento (Breath, 1996–2002). Here, a viewer’s voluntary breath animates, for a few seconds, the face of a deceased person, which the artist has “printed” onto a mirror. Configuration and de-configuration follow one after another as they are exposed to changes in temperature in a cycle that is repeated every time the viewer breathes onto

88 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

the mirror. Biografía (2002) highlights and dramatizes those concepts that connect life and death. Executed in video and photography, this series features the artist’s self-portrait, projected onto the surface of a pool of water in a washbasin, and then flushed down the drainhole in a disturbingly violent gesture. Since 1968, Muñoz’s work has been included in various solo and group exhibitions in Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, France, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, South Korea, Costa Rica, Germany, and Spain. In 2004, he was awarded first prize at the 39th Salón Nacional de Artistas de Colombia. In 2006, he opened the innovative gallery/lecture space for young artists Lugar a Dudas (Place of Doubts, or “Room for Doubt”) in Calí. His work was shown at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Muñoz currently lives and works in Calí Colombia.

Ernesto Neto

(b. Rio de Janeiro, 1964)

Ernesto Neto explores the path set out by Neo-Concretists Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, members of the previous generation of Brazilian artists. Creating organic multimedia structures that allude to the human body, Neto invites the viewer into a sensual, physically participatory relationship with his work. Neto studied sculpture at the Escola de Artes Visuais Pargua Lage in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1980s and has been a fixture on the national and international art scene ever since. His 2001 textile installation Ô bicho (The Creature) was the centerpiece of the 49th Venice Biennale. Neto’s abstract sculptures and installations, with their soft and lavish textures, often take up an entire indoor exhibition space. They question traditionally accepted arguments by introducing smell and touch, challenging the primacy of the sense of sight in twentiethcentury art, and emphatically encouraging, as the Neo-Concretists did, physical interaction on the part of the viewer. In the pieces he calls Naves (Vessels), begun in 1997, Neto fills elastic material with aromatic spices (turmeric, cloves, saffron, cumin, and so on) and sand, lead, or Styrofoam pellets colored with pigments from the Amazon The material may then be sculpted into different forms: oval shapes with umbilical-cord shapes, caves with sensual undulations that one can put a hand into or lie down on, constructions that evoke lush tropical forests, spatial mazes, or cloudy ambiences that one can enter or walk around. These pieces are either anchored to the floor or hung from the ceiling. The spices seep through the pores of the material and scatter onto the floor, filling the museum space with their aroma. These environments, which can be touched and smelled, only come to life when they enter into direct contact with the visitor. Their shapes change as the visitor passes through them and thus becomes part of the work. Solo exhibitions of Neto’s work have been held at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City (1998); The Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (2002); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2000); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2000); and Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1999). The artist’s work has also been included in the Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2000); and in group exhibitions at The St. Louis Art Museum (2000); The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut (1999); 24th São Paul Biennial (1998); Sydney Biennial, (1998); and Serpentine Gallery, London (1998). Neto currently lives and works in Rio de Janeiro.

Biographical Notes

| 89

Roberto Obregón

(b. Barranquilla, Colombia, 1946; d. Tarma, Vargas, Venezuela, 2003)

Colombian-born Roberto Obregón was a painter and Conceptual artist who became a member of the Venezuelan avant-garde during the 1970s. He studied business by correspondence at the Continental School in Havana (1957) and art at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas Julio Arraga in Maracaibo, Venezuela (1959–61). In 1967 he was recognized by the 27th Salón Oficial de Arte Venezolano. In 1997, he represented Venezuela at the 47th Venice Biennale and the following year he was invited to the Fifth Istanbul Biennial. In the early 1970s, Obregón began to experiment with new paths, leading him away from the figurative style of his early works. At that time, in line with much of the era’s Conceptual art, Obregón became interested in the concept of time and the natural life cycle, which he explored in works incorporating rose petals—a motif that would become emblematic of his work. In Disecciones (Dissections), a series produced between 1974 and 1982, the artist assembled rose petals like a Conceptualist herbalist, as in Crónica de una rosa No. 4 (1974), which depicts the twenty-four developmental stages of the flower. In his series Agua como ciclo (Water as a Cycle, 1978), he used drawing, watercolor, and photocopies to document rose petals in different natural water sources (rivers, the rain, puddles, lakes, and so on). In Trilogía (Trilogy, 1981) he recorded three different ways of representing the rose: living, dried, and painted. Around 1990, Obregón turned to silhouettes painted in acrylic on monochrome backgrounds, eventually cutting the silhouettes from rubber, vinyl, and linoleum. During the same period he took up large formats, experimenting with the mural and threedimensional effects, as in the series Proyecto Niágara (Niagara Project, 1989–99), which includes letters and silhouettes of petals and individuals associated with the artist, rendered in black Durasol on white surfaces up to six meters long; or the mural WDT (1991), which presents a cross section of one of the rose petal silhouettes in a format measuring more than 27 square meters. By scaling up one anonymous element, he deconstructs all roses down to their elemental components, magnifying and demystifying the object.

Hélio Oiticica

(b. Rio de Janeiro, 1937; d. Rio de Janeiro, 1980)

Considered one of the most innovative Brazilian artists of his generation, Oiticica studied at the Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro in 1954, and in 1955 he joined and participated in exhibitions of the Rio-based Concrete art collective Grupo Frente. During these years, influenced by Malevich and Mondrian, he began to produce his Metaesquemas (Meta-schemes), which destabilized the pictorial plane with a precise yet irregular composition of squares and rectangles on a white background. In 1959, Oiticica rebelled against the mathematical aesthetic of Concrete art when he participated in the first exhibition of the Neo-Concrete movement and supported the Manifiesto written by Ferreira Gullar, who criticized “the ever-growing rationalization of the processes and objectives of painting.” At the beginning of the 1960s, Oiticica broke away from the two-dimensional aspect of the canvas in order to carry out phenomenological and perceptual experiments in art. Preoccupied with creating an interactive relationship between the artwork and the viewer, he produced the first Núcleos (Nucleii), mazelike successions of colored panels. In 1958, he had already created the series Bilaterais (Bilaterals) and Relevos Espaciais (Spatial Reliefs), large-scale, three-dimensional colored sheets, affixed to one another and suspended in space. In 1960, he began his Penetráveis (Penetrables), fabric environments that visitors walked through, and in 1963, his Bólides (Fireballs), boxes and glass containers filled

90 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

with earth and pigments that had multiple compartments that could be opened and explored. This experiment led to the 1964 Parangolés, or capes, in which members of the public could drape themselves. Through all of these pieces, Oiticica aimed to increase the connection between his work and the viewer. The first solo exhibition of Oiticica’s work was held in 1969 at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, after which Oiticica remained in England for a year as resident artist at the University of Sussex. With a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, he moved to New York City in 1970, and in the same year took part in the Conceptual Art exhibition Information at The Museum of Modern Art. He remained in New York City until 1978, when he returned to Rio de Janeiro and continued his investigations into the body as a unifying example of art and life by using music and dance combined with photography, performance, and film. He also wrote experimental critical texts about his works and those of other artists. His later works continued to encourage participation by the public, which he “invited” to reflect upon the state of culture in modern Brazil.

Alejandro Otero

(b. El Manteco, Bolívar, Venezuela, 1921; d. Caracas, 1990)

Alejandro Otero was one of the early leading proponents of Geometric Abstraction. From 1939 to 1945, he studied at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in Caracas. There, he painted landscapes in the style of Cézanne and, while still a student, exhibited paintings and stained glass. When he graduated in 1945, he was awarded a scholarship that allowed him to live on and off in Paris until 1964. During this time he produced the series Cafeteras (Coffee Pots), in which he presented the still-life object as a schematic structure. During a short stay in Caracas in 1949, Otero attended exhibitions and debates held by the Taller Libre de Arte, which brought him into contact with the works of the Argentinian movement Arte Concreto-Invención. He took the opportunity to show Cafeteras, in 1949 in the Museo de Bellas Artes. This controversial exhibition heralded the arrival of Geometric Abstraction, marking a break with the Venezuelan school of landscape painting and the 19th-century figurative tradition. With this single exhibition, Otero contributed significantly to the introduction of modernism into Venezuela. Back in Paris, Otero studied the work of Piet Mondrian and Neo-Plasticist ideas. He frequented avant-garde artists’ circles and took on the theoretical leadership of a group of abstract Venezuelan artists known as Los Disidentes, who were radical defenders of Geometric Abstraction amid Venezuela’s provincial and conservative cultural milieu. At this time, Otero stripped his art of all “nonessentials,” using primarily color to structure his works. Not long after, in Caracas once more, Otero developed rigorous abstract compositions based on a series of black lines superimposed on random color fields. In 1955, he began the series Coloritmos (Colorhythms), compositions of bands and planes of color on wood panels. The Coloritmos served as his transition to sculpture, assemblage, and collage. At the same time, he was designing murals and stained glass windows for the Proyecto de Integración de las Artes run by Carlos Raúl Villanueva for the Universidad Central de Venezuela. In 1958, Otero received the National Painting Prize and in 1959 he was awarded an honorable mention at the Fifth São Paulo Biennial. Influenced by Neo-Dadaism, from 1960 to 1964, Otero experimented with found objects, collages, and assemblage. At the end of the 1960s, he began planning the series Estructuras espaciales (Spatial Structures), huge kinetic sculptures made for open-air public spaces. These included Rotor (1967), Delta solar (Solar Delta, 1976), Torre solar (Solar Tower, 1986), and Abra solar (Solar Bay), presented at the Venice Biennale in 1982.

Biographical Notes

| 91

Liliana Porter

(b. Buenos Aires, 1941)

Originally from Argentina, Liliana Porter was trained in printmaking at the Escuela de Bellas Artes Manuel Belgrano in Buenos Aires under the Colombian printmaker Guillermo Silva Santamaría. In 1958, Porter moved with her family to Mexico, where she became involved with an experimental art space established by the German-born artist Mathias Goeritz. Since 1964, she has resided in New York City. In 1965, with the Uruguayan-American Luis Camnitzer and the Venezuelan José Guillermo Castillo, she founded the New York Graphic Workshop, which explored alternative forms of printmaking and distribution. Through her masterful use of etching, silkscreen, and photogravure, as well as drawing, collage, and film, Porter constructs a poetic language that investigates the paradoxes of representation. By playfully juxtaposing in her work kitsch (small toys, vacation souvenirs, decorations) and “high” culture (paintings, prints, and drawings—her own and those of others; books that have influenced her; political symbols; and quotations from the canons of art history and literature), she mines the question of the original versus the copy, aiming to establish correspondence between reality and fiction, the possible and the impossible. Porter was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is represented in many signficant collections, including those of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museo de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires; and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon. She is currently a professor of art at Queens College, City University of New York, and has lived in New York City since 1964.

Beto de Volder

(b. Buenos Aires, 1962)

A “postmodern” Argentinian artist, de Volder was at the center of creative ferment that characterized Buenos Aires in the early 1990s. He studied at the Escuela de Arte Manuel Belgrano in Buenos Aires and in 1989 undertook an art history research program at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires. Two early exhibitions at the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas, in 1991 and 1993, and a residency at the first Taller de Barracas (Barracas Artists’ Workshop) with a scholarship from the Fundación Antorchas during 1994 and 1995 mark the beginning of de Volder’s artistic career. In 1993, he received first prize for painting at the Third Biennial of Young Art (Bienal de Arte Joven) in Buenos Aires. The core of de Volder’s work is drawing, which—used as a central motif of curved lines that cover the support or to define the contours of the piece—conveys an immediacy reminiscent of the Surrealists’ Automatism. Incorporating color into what he described as firuletes (adornments), in 2004, he exhibited the first of his works in which the viewer was intended to assemble and dismantle pieces of the composition which were attached to magnetized sheets. The artist called these works “brain-healers,” in a reference to children’s “brain-teasers.” In addition to participating in national and international exhibitions, since 2003, de Volder has served as coordinator—with Mariano Dal Verme and Fernando Brizuela—of La ReColección, a contemporary Latin-American art collection project at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, in which more than 200 works in a range of mediums are “re-collected.” The project was also on view at Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires and Arte Ba in 2004.

92 |

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Co-founder and Chairman Pedro R. Tinoco T. President and Executive Director Adriana Cisneros de Griffin Vice Chairman William R. Phelan Director, Office of the Chairman COLECCIÓN PATRICIA PHELPS DE CISNEROS (CPPC)

Rafael A. Romero D. Director Ariel Jiménez, Modern and Contemporary Art Jorge Rivas, Colonial Art Carlos Palacios, Contemporary Art Curators Natalia Afanasiev Program Coordinator Katiuska Rivas Assistant Rafael Santana Exhibitions Manager Lucett Foata Assistant Guillermo Ovalle Collections Manager María del Carmen González Curator, International Education Programs Ingrid Melizan Coordinator, Venezuela Registrar and Conservation

Ileen Kohn Sosa Associate Registrar Fedora Cisneros Assistant Registrar Natalia Espinosa Assistant Registrar for Decorative Arts Skye Monson Assistant Registrar for Documentation Fernando Padrón Assistant Registrar for Photography Nicolás Pérez Conservation and Installation Technician Library

María Esther Pino Coordinator, Art Documentation Laura Herrera Coordinator, Photographic Archive Dina Gouveia Assistant Advisers

Paulo Herkenhoff Curatorial Adviser Fernando de Tovar Conservation Adviser

The Fundaci贸n Cisneros wishes to thank all the people and institutions involved for their valuable contribution and for making this exhibition and editorial venture a reality. We especially want to express our gratitude to the Wheaton College team and to all those individuals who were mentioned in the Preface and Acknowledgments of this publication.

Pedro R. Tinoco T. President and Executive Director


Ronald A. Crutcher President Professor of Music Sue A. Alexander Dean of Students Gail Berson Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing Dean of Admission and Student Aid Mary M. Casey Vice President for College Advancement Terry Metz Vice President for Library and Information Services Molly Easo Smith Provost Professor of English Roderick G. Wallick Vice President for Finance and Operations Chief Financial Officer

R. Tripp Evans Chair, Department of Art and Art History Associate Professor of Art Ann H. Murray Professor of Art Director of Beard and Weil Galleries Mary L. Heuser Chair in the Arts Leah Niederstadt Assistant Professor of Museum Studies/ Art History Curator of the Wheaton College Permanent Collection Ann Sears Heuser Professor of Music Director of Haas Visiting Artists Program Director of Performance Program Michael Graca Assistant Vice President for Communications

We at Wheaton College are grateful to Jennifer Valentino (`09), who served as the Wheaton Research Coordinator for this publication and for her work as an author of one of the entries included in the catalogue. In addition we wish to thank the following students for the catalogue entries they contributed to this publication: Samuel Brown (`09) Amelia Chaney (`10) Maria Escudero (`10) Meredith Brinker Ferguson (`08) Naihomy Jerez (`08) Chamisa Kellogg (`11) Elisabeth Kjellgren (`11) Alicia LaTores (`09) Carrie Peabody (`10) Meghan Quigley (`11) Seth Robinson (`11) Christina Whipple (`09)    Thanks go to Elizabeth Ann Cronin, Manager, Arts Events and Publicity, for her public relations work on this exhibition as well as for her work as an author of an entry for this catalogue. We also wish to thank the following faculty mentors both for recommending students to participate in this exciting writing project for the exhibition and for reviewing the students’ texts for this catalogue: R. Tripp Evans, Chair, Department of Art and Art History and Associate Professor of Art Francisco Fernandez de Alba, Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies Evelyn Staudinger Lane, Associate Professor of Art Ann H. Murray, Professor of Art and Director, Beard and Weil Galleries Leah Niederstadt, Assistant Professor of Museum Studies/Art History and Curator of Permanent Collection Mary Beth Tierney-Tello, Professor of Hispanic Studies We acknowledge the entire faculties of the art and art history, Hispanic studies, and museum studies departments, and the Filene Center for Work and Learning for helping to achieve the goals of the collaboration between the Fundación Cisneros and Wheaton College. Our gratitude goes to members of the Communications Department and the Division for College Advancement for their work in furthering the collaboration and for helping to organize and publicize the exhibition: Sandra Coleman Barbara Dill Wendy Faxon Michael Graca Susan Kobayashi Finally, we thank Provost Molly Easo Smith for her vision in support of the work of the collaboration and for her active participation in making this exhibition a success.

Ronald A. Crutcher President

February 4 through April 10, 2008 Beard and Weil Galleries. Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts Exhibition No. 29 Carlos E. Palacios Curator Rafael A. Romero D., Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Caracas Wendy Faxon, Wheaton College, Norton, MA General Coordination Rafael Santana, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Caracas Anne H. Murray, Wheaton College, Norton, MA Exhibition Design Guillermo Ovalle, Ileen Kohn, Skye Monson, Artwork Shipment, Conservation and Installation Kelsy Koch Editorial Coordination María del Carmen González Research and Editorial Assistance Carlos E. Palacios Curatorial Essay María Esther Pino Artist Biographies Margarita Arias Spanish Proofreading Ben Rowden English Translation Mayerlin Ramírez M. Graphic Design Oscar Balducci Rodrigo Benavides Mark Morosse Petre Maxim Carlos Germán Rojas Courtesy of José Fernández Courtesy of Bienal do Mercosul Artwork Photography Jairo Chavarro Digital Image Preparation Universal Millennium Printing Permission to reproduce the works of art that appear in this catalogue has been given by the Fundación Cisneros and authorized by the individual artists. ISBN 978-0-9801874-0-3 © 2008 Fundación Cisneros © 2008 Wheaton College All rights reserved No part of this publication, including the cover design, may be reproduced or transmitted in any way by any medium, whether electronic, chemical, mechanical or optical, or by recording or photocopying, without the permission of the publishers.

Profile for Ileen Kohn

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the CPPC  

Beard and Weil Galleries Wheaton College, Norton Mass Exhibition No. 29

Correspondences: Contemporary Art from the CPPC  

Beard and Weil Galleries Wheaton College, Norton Mass Exhibition No. 29