July 1, 2004 - Whitney Museum of American Art - ANA MENDIETA: EARTH BODY
July 1, 2004

ANA MENDIETA: EARTH BODY

Ana Mendieta
EARTH BODY: SCULPTURE AND PERFORMANCE, 1972-1985

01 July - 19 September 2004

Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street
New York City 1 800 WHITNEY

www.whitney.org

Ana Mendieta. Untitled (Body Tracks), 1974. Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York. (c) Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection.

Ana Mendieta: Earth Body, Sculpture and Performance 1972-1985 is the most comprehensive survey to date of the artist’s work. It places Mendieta’s art in a broader, international context and examines her life and development as an artist. The exhibition, organized by Olga Viso, Deputy Director, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, premieres at the Whitney Museum of American Art on July 1, launching a four-venue national tour.
Ana Mendieta: Earth Body includes more than 100 works and traces the artist’s development from the early performance-based works she made as a student at the University of Iowa, where she was grounded in the conceptual and body-oriented practices of the 1960s and 1970s. She then went on to create independent sculptures and objects in the early 1980s made with fragile, earthen materials. The objects on view include photographs, drawings, sculptures, film, and, sequenced slide projections documenting early performance works and time-based actions in nature.

Rooted in nature and in the body, Mendieta’s art was inflected by personal identity and femininity, and distinguished by the singular hybrid form she created. Her earth-body works, or Silueta Series (silhouette series) — sculptural interventions in the landscape that inserted her naked figure (or its outline or contours) in a natural setting — fused aspects of Conceptual, process, performance, body, feminist, and land art.

Embracing the aims of feminism, Mendieta quietly subverted the monumental gestures of male land artists such as Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer by working at a human scale in the landscape. Critical of the exclusion of artists of diverse races and ethnicities from the art world and early feminism, she vehemently asserted her own trans-cultural identity. Borrowing freely from a variety of cultural traditions throughout the world, she frequently appropriated symbols and aspects of the ritual practices of ancient and indigenous cultures of the Americas, Africa, and Europe in her art. While abnegating all forms of boundaries, Mendieta’s cipher — the naked female form that performs in the studio, merges with the landscape, is etched on a leaf, or is burned into the soil or a tree trunk — remained at the center of her production.

THE EXHIBITION Ana Mendieta: Earth Body, Sculpture and Performance 1972-1985 was organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. The exhibition is made possible by The Henry Luce Foundation, the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation, and The Judith Rothschild Foundation. Initial research was supported by Craig Robins and a Curatorial Research Fellowship from the Getty Grant Program. Additional support for the exhibition catalog was made possible through the generosity of Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz and Isabel and Ricardo Ernst.

Following its presentation at the Whitney, the Mendieta exhibition will be on view at the Hirshhorn from October 14, 2004 through January 6, 2005; the Des Moines Art Center from February 25 through May 22, 2005; and the Miami Art Museum from October 7, 2005 though January 15, 2006.

The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 945 Madison Avenue, New York City. Museum hours are: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday. For information, please call 1-800 WHITNEY or visit www.whitney.org.

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