In the 1950s and 1960s, Latin American politics and society were roiled by economic turmoil, bombings, and militaristic regimes. Against this backdrop, a number of artists sought to question and negate the apparent need for violence through artistic processes of burning, tearing, splintering, cracking, demolition, and evisceration. A new exhibition, Arqueologías de destruccíon/Archaeologies of Destruction 1958-2014, that explores these issues opened on March 20 at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Curator and writer Jennifer Burris Staton, based in Mexico City, gave a gallery talk and tour of the work of the six featured artists to about 125 people, who braved a Spring snow storm to attend.
The powerful collection of work traces the remnants and histories of the original “destruction art” movement, which continues to reverberate to the present, through the works of Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Kenneth Kemble, Marta Minujín, Ana Mendieta, Marcos Kurtycz, and Eduardo Abaroa, all with ties to Latin America. Through a mix of mediums, including videos, slideshows, prints, sound, and sculptural objects, the exhibit shatters both self and society while hinting at a path to move forward. As New Jersey artist Ortiz has written: “These artists are destructivists and do not pretend to play at God’s happy game of creation; on the contrary, theirs is a response to the pervading will to kill.”
Archaeologies of Destruction is the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery’s first bilingual show, featuring a 144-page exhibition catalogue in both Spanish and English with contributions from Justin Hoffmann and Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra.
For more information on the exhibit, which runs through May 1, visit exhibits.haverford.edu/arqueologias.
Photos by Lisa Boughter