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Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Cartagena, Dec 18, 1920; d Bogotá, Apr 1, 2004).

Colombian painter, sculptor, printmaker, filmmaker, and stage designer. He studied at the Art Students League in New York from 1941 to 1943 and subsequently visited Italy, where he studied fresco and etching techniques before settling again in Colombia. Consistently devoted to the human form, he initially depicted figures with angular heads and striped tunics in a strong light, with symbolic objects such as eggs, masks, or cages.

In such later paintings as Boy with Umbrella (1964; Washington, DC, A. Mus. Americas) Grau’s figures were transformed into plump, fleshy, and voluptuous beings, richly arrayed with lace, feathers, hats, and fans, like characters taken from the theater or from popular turn-of-the-century postcards. His scenes were gradually filled with anecdotal details and numerous objects, including cupboards, easels, boxes, masks, and flowers, through which he suggested emotionally charged atmospheres. Grau also produced murals, prints, stage sets, films, and especially sculptures. The first of these were assemblages of antique and industrial objects, but he subsequently made cast-bronze sculptures that convey a sensuousness, mystery, and nostalgia similar to that evoked by his paintings....

Article

Cuban, 20th century, female.

Active in the United States.

Born 1948, in Havana; died 8 September 1985, in New York.

Sculptor, installation artist, performance artist, video artist, photographer.

Body Art, performance.

Ana Mendieta’s family left Cuba in 1961 for political reasons. She studied in the United States at the University of Iowa as a painter before radically changing her artistic direction. From 1972 to 1980, Mendieta created performance pieces, or ‘earth–body sculptures’, in Iowa and Mexico; these involved inserting her body into nature as a means of expressing and questioning her Afro-Cuban roots. She was particularly influenced by Santería, a syncretic South American religious movement, while exploring her status as a woman and an immigrant.

Mendieta joined the Artist in Residence Inc. (A.I.R.) Gallery in New York in 1978. A.I.R was the first all-female gallery to be opened in the United States. Mendieta’s active participation in the gallery was crucial to the development of her own feminist practice. While working at the gallery, Mendieta met her future husband, the Minimalist artist Carl Andre....

Article

Susan S. Weininger

(b Havana, Nov 18, 1948; d New York, Sep 8, 1985).

American sculptor, performance artist, video artist, and painter of Cuban birth. From the age of 12, when she was sent to the USA from Cuba by her parents, she lived in orphanages and foster homes in Iowa. Her sense of exile and the separation from her family proved strong motivating forces on her later work. After completing an MA in painting at the University of Iowa in 1972, she entered the university’s new Multimedia and Video Art program, in which she was free to experiment and develop a unique formal language, gaining an MFA in 1977.

In the 1970s Mendieta began to create “earth-body sculptures” outdoors in Iowa, using the primal materials of blood, earth, fire, and water, having first executed performances that she documented in photographs or black-and-white films. In the Silueta series she traced or sculpted the image of her body on the ground, using ignited gunpowder, leaves, grass, mud, stones, other natural elements, or cloth (e.g. ...