Raphael Montañez Ortiz | Archaeological Find # 22: The Aftermath | 1961 | Destroyed sofa (wood, cotton, wire, vegetable fiber and glue) on wood backing | approx. 54 x 110 x 24 inches (137.2 x 279.4 x 61 cm) | Artwork as installed in the exhibition Museum Starter Kit: Open With Care, on view at El Museo del Barrio, New York, March 12 – September 6, 2014 | Collection of El Museo del Barrio, New York | Gift of the artist with additional support from “PROARTISTA: Sustaining the Work of Living Contemporary Artists,” a fund from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust | emdb acc# 2007.16 | Artwork © Raphael Montañez Ortiz | Image © El Museo del Barrio, New York | Photography: Bill Orcutt
Raphael Montañez Ortiz | Children of Treblinka | 1962 | Paper, earth, burnt shoes, nails, black paint on wood backing | 17 x 14 x 6 inches (43.2 x 35.6 x 15.2 cm) | Collection of El Museo del Barrio, New York | Gift of Dr. Robert Schwartz and Mrs. Diane Schwartz | emdb acc# S93.184 | Artwork © Raphael Montañez Ortiz | Image © El Museo del Barrio, New York | Photography: Bill Orcutt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El Museo del Barrio is pleased to present Raphael Montañez Ortiz: A Contextual Retrospective, the first large-scale exhibition since 1988 dedicated to the artist, activist, educator, and founder of El Museo del Barrio. Curated by El Museo’s chief curator, Rodrigo Moura, and guest curator Julieta González, the exhibition spans several decades of his production, from the 1950s to the early-2020s, in different media such as film, painting, photography, video installations, documents, and assemblages. This is the largest exhibition-to-date dedicated to the artist.

Raphael Montañez Ortiz is a central figure in U.S. Post-war art, whose pioneering practice began with trail-blazing experimental film works in 1957. In the 1960s, he was a key figure in the international Destruction Art movement, with performative actions that would result in powerful sculptures made from destroyed objects. His practice expands art historical references, from U.S. Abstract Expressionism and Dada to identity and his upbringing in a Puerto Rican family in New York. At the same time, his work was informed by an ongoing interest in psychoanalysis and anthropology, which resulted in his exploration of shamanic practices and the therapeutic and healing potential of art, parallel to his research into pre-Hispanic cultures. This is a constant concern that runs from the early destruction pieces such as the Archaeological Finds to his later performative actions and works addressing the Indigenous cultures of the Americas.

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