The Radical Women Excluded From Art History, Now on View at the Brooklyn Museum

Biscoito arte (Art cookie) by Regina Silveira. Collection of Fernanda Feitosa and Heitor Martin. Photo via Brooklyn Museum


    “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985,” a new, large-scale exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, “will shift our understanding of the history of art in this period,” said Catherine J. Morris, senior curator of the museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

    A bold claim to be sure, but not unjustified. The show, on view through July 22, features 123 Latin American women artists from 15 countries, many of whom are largely unknown — although a few, such as the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark, Cuban artist Ana Mendieta and Venezuelan artist Marisol might be familiar — but were unified in their demand to “present, understand, and talk about their life experiences in new ways and through new mediums,” Morris said. The diversity not just of artists but of the different kinds of work presented is impressive.

    brooklyn museum radical women

    Corazón destrozado (Destroyed heart) by Delia Cancela. Collection of Mauro Herlitzka. Photo via Brooklyn Museum

    The 25-year period the show captures was a deliberate choice, because it “encompasses the politically fraught period of dictatorships and social upheaval in Latin America, which was happening simultaneously with the development of significant new approaches to art making,” Morris said.

    “Radical Women” began at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in 2017, where it was curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta, who, in the catalog for the exhibition, talk about the six years of research that went into tracking down this work. But now that the show exists, the work has only just begun.

    brooklyn museum radical women

    Untitled (Self-portrait with square) by Liliana Porter. Photo collection of Liliana Porter via Brooklyn Museum

    “There are innumerable artists in [the exhibition] who deserve monographic, internationally touring exhibitions about their work,” Morris said. There are countries that are not presented in the exhibition, and more connections to be made, especially between contemporary Latin American women artists and their predecessors. “A myriad of possible ideas come to mind.”

    Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Brownstoner magazine.

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