Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985, installation view, “Resistance & Fear” theme. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, September 15 – December 31, 2017. Photo: Brian Forrest.

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960 – 1985

Hammer Museum

By Anna Garner

Through December 31st

 

Outside the Europe to NY insular circuit of canonized contributors to linear narratives of art history are the radically branded perspectives of Latin American and Latina artists. While their works may or may not be radical in approach, content, or reception, the notion of these artists as leaders in the development of contemporary art has regrettably been viewed as a radical, outsider idea. The exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960 – 1985 is not radical in the perspective of newness; the included artists have been working for decades, matching and even surpassing their male and Euro-American counterparts in skill, breadth, and consequence. However, these women’s contributions have not been acknowledged or written down to a non-negotiable level.

The artists in Radical Women have not only been under-represented in leading institutions and academic scholarship, but also under-estimated. In the seven years of work and research leading up to the 2017 exhibition, curators Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta received criticism that “women artists had already gained due recognition”[1] and therefore the exhibition was both redundant and unneeded. Despite challenges, the exhibition has arguably become the most important exhibition of the Pacific Standard Time LA/LA Getty initiative; its prodigious scope that substantiates the artists’ central roles in shaping contemporary art has been laudably received and praised.

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985, gallery entrance, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, September 15 – December 31, 2017. Photo: Brian Forrest.

True to the mission of Pacific Standard Time, the exhibition demonstrates the art historical relevance of Los Angeles, recognizing it as a dominantly Latino city with ongoing intellectual networks to its domestic and international southern neighbors. It introduces the city to many artists that were before comparatively unknown, stimulating optimism for de-centered art histories.

Beyond the physical exhibition, the comprehensive research and scholarship provides a lasting mark on academic art history. The catalog of essays has the ability to enhance taught standards for future generations of artists and art contributors, academically validating the art of Latinas, Chicanas, and Latin American Women. Yet while significant, the research just dents the surface of possible intellectual material on artists that have been sidelined for decades and generations. The intentionally miscalculated achievements granted in the penumbra of salaried white male artists, cannot be made up in one museum exhibition. Curators Fajardo-Hill and Giunta initially sought to include 300 artists but trickled it down to less than half of that, which still created a catalogue of grandeur:

María Luisa Bemberg, Delia Cancela, Graciela Carnevale, Alicia D’Amico & Sara Facio, Diana Dowek, Graciela Gutiérrez Marx, Narcisa Hirsch, Ana Kamien & Marilú Marini, Lea Lublin, Liliana Maresca, Marta Minujín, Marie Orensanz, Margarita Paksa, Liliana Porter, Dalila Puzzovio, Marcia Schvartz, Mara Álvares, Claudia Andujar, Martha Araújo, Vera Chaves Barcellos, Lygia Clark, Analívia Cordeiro, Liliane Dardot, Lenora de Barros, Iole de Freitas, Anna Bella Geiger, Carmela Gross, Anna Maria Maiolino, Marcia X., Ana Vitoria Mussi, Lygia Pape, Letícia Parente, Wanda Pimentel, Neide Sá, Regina Silveira, Teresinha Soares, Amelia Toledo, Celeida Tostes, Regina Vater, Gracia Barrios, Sybil Brintrup & Magali, Meneses, Roser Bru, Gloria Camiruaga, Luz Donoso, Diamela Eltit, Paz Errázuriz, Virginia Errázuriz, Catalina Parra, Lotty Rosenfeld, Janet Toro, Eugenia Vargas, Cecilia Vicuña, Alicia Barney, Delfina Bernal, Feliza Bursztyn, Maria Teresa Cano, Beatriz González, Sonia Gutiérrez, Karen Lamassonne, Sandra Llano Mejía, Clemencia Lucena, María Evelia Marmolejo, Sara Modiano, Rosa Navarro, Patricia Restrepo, Nirma Zárate, Victoria Cabezas, Antonia Eiriz, Ana Mendieta, Marta María Pérez, Zilia Sánchez, Margarita Azurdia, Yolanda Andrade, Maris Bustamante, Ximena Cuevas, Lourdes Grobet, Silvia Gruner, Kati Horna, Graciela Iturbide, Ana Victoria Jiménez, Magali Lara, Mónica Mayer, Sarah Minter, Marta Palau, Polvo de Gallina Negra, Carla Rippey, Jesusa Rodríguez, Pola Weiss, Sandra Eleta, Olga Blinder, Margarita Morselli, Teresa Burga, Gloria Gómez Sánchez, Johanna Hamann, Victoria Santa Cruz, Poli Marichal, Frieda Medín, Celia Alvarez Muñoz, Judy Baca, Barbara Carrasco, Josely Carvalho, Isabel Castro, Yolanda López, María Martínez-Cañas, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Sophie Rivera, Sylvia Salazar Simpson, Patssi Valdez, Nelbia Romero, Teresa Trujillo, Mercedes Elena González, Marisol, Margot Romer, Antonieta Sosa, Tecla Tofano, Ani Villanueva, and Yeni & Nan.

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985, installation view, “Feminisms” theme. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, September 15 – December 31, 2017. Photo: Brian Forrest.

The list of participants in Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960 – 1985 cracks the assumptive standards of major participants in art, motivating visitors, students, artists, and all participants to go home and do homework, not only on the 120 artists in the exhibition, but additionally those who were not able to be included. Thus the exhibition’s most crucial role is to stimulate further research, scholarship, and market support for the works of the exhibited artists. Each artist in Radical Women could easily supply a solo exhibition, inhabit permanent collections, contribute to art departments to produce impactful future artists, fill lecture halls to capacity as hired speakers, create beautiful published books that dominate sales, and a re-focus American art based on merit and not capitol alone. The artists have already done much of the work, but only through collective support, scholarship, research, and financial investment can the efforts of this exhibition multiply.

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960 – 1985, on view at Hammer Museum September 15 – December 31 2017, 10899 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90024
You can also see the exhibition in New York and São Paulo in 2018:
Brooklyn Museum, New York: April 13–July 22, 2018
Pinacoteca de São Paulo, São Paulo: August 18–November 19, 2018

 

[1] Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta, “Introduction,” in Radical Women: Latin American, 1960 – 1985, ed. Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta (Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, 2017) 18.

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