August 24, 2005 - North Dakota Museum of Art - The Disappeared
August 24, 2005

The Disappeared

The Disappeared

North Dakota Museum of Art
P.O. Box 7305
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7305

Fernando Traverso: puedeno haber banderas /
Urban Intervention in the City of Rosario The Disappeared
Curated by Laurel Reuter, Director,
North Dakota Museum of Art.

Catalog published by Charta and the North Dakota Museum of Art.
Written and edited by Reuter with Preface by Lawrence Weschler
Funded by the Otto Bremer Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation and the Lannan Foundation

The Disappeared people who were kidnapped, tortured and killed by their own governments in the latter decades of the twentieth century in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela (during a single uprising). Colombia with its fifty-year civil war and Guatemala with its own thirty-seven-year civil war further expanded the meanings and uses of “disappear.”

Works by

Marcelo Brodsky
Luis Camnitzer
Juan Manuel Echavarría
Nicolas Guagnini
Nelson Leirner
Sara Maneiro
Oscar Muñoz
Ivan Navarro
Luis Gonzales Palma
Ana Tiscornia
Fernando Traverso
and Identidad, a collaborative work by thirteen artists from Argentina made to further the work of The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo
these artists fight amnesia as a stay against such atrocities happening again

In the mid-1990s, Laurel Reuter, Director of the North Dakota Museum of Art and curator of this exhibition, began to find significant and moving art made by artists personally touched by the horrors of civil war in Latin America. The exhibition contains work by contemporary artists from seven Latin American countries, who, over the course of the last thirty years, have made art about the disappeared. These artists have lived through the horrors of the military dictatorships that rocked their countries in the mid-decades of the twentieth century. Some worked in the resistance; some had parents or siblings who were disappeared; others were forced into exile. The youngest were born into the aftermath of those dictatorships. And still others have lived in countries maimed by endless civil war.

On exhibit for the first time in the United States is a large installation, Identidad (Identity), made by thirteen Argentinean artists in order to assist the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, in their work. The Grandmothers are a group of Argentinean women with disappeared children and grandchildren. Since its founding in 1977, the Grandmothers have searched for over 200 missing children, some born in clandestine detention centers during the captivity of their mothers or abducted with their parents after being taken into custody by members of the police or security forces. Upon seeing Identidad when it opened in the Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires, three people discovered “who they were” before they had been adopted by military families.

An erasure of the personal, of the individual, of the self reverberates throughout the exhibition. Row upon row of vanishing faces mark the work of several of the artists. A metaphor for the whole exhibition exists in the work of Oscar Muñozs Breath. Only when the viewer comes close enough to breathe on the steel disc on the wall does a face become visible. The viewers breath brings life. Only through paying very close attention can one both see and know. Through their art, these artists fight amnesia in their own countries as a stay against such atrocities happening again. And through their art, they ask us to question what role our own country played in supporting the Latin American governments which killed their own people as a matter of course. The forces of evil are as indebted to those who choose not to know as to those who choose to forget.

For more information about the artists and work in the exhibition visit

North Dakota Museum of Art
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