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Marisol  

Deborah F. Pokinski

(Escobar)

(b Paris, May 22, 1930; d New York, Apr 30, 2016).

Venezuelan-American sculptor of French birth. Because of her use of everyday objects she is often classified as a Pop artist, but this designation does not adequately describe the complexity and compassion of her sculpture.

Marisol was born in Paris and had a peripatetic childhood before attending high school in Los Angeles. In 1949 she left for Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; in 1950 she returned to New York and studied at the Art Students League, followed by three years studying with Hans Hofmann. Her arrival in New York coincided with the transition between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art and Marisol soon became a significant persona in the heady social and aesthetic swirl that marked the period.

In the early 1950s, Marisol discovered Pre-Columbian art and shifted from painting to sculpture. Influenced by the Neo-Dada lead up to Pop art, especially the work of Robert Rauschenberg, she began experimenting with assemblage and soon developed her signature work: large-scale figures using a combination of found and created forms. Typically, she began with richly grained wooden blocks, then drew or painted illusionistic faces and body elements on them—or used plaster masks—adding found objects as props and to suggest environments, often with a twist of Surrealist disjunction. ...

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Eduardo Serrano

(b Bogotá, Aug 12, 1941).

Colombian sculptor, collagist, and conceptual artist. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá from 1959 to 1965 and began at this time to make collages influenced by Pop art. In 1966 he made the first of his Boxes, painted in strong flat colors, often red or yellow, to which he affixed industrial elements such as telephone handsets. Soon afterwards he began to make only white boxes, using the color to complement the mystery of the objects they contained, such as the heads, arms, and legs of dolls, machine parts, wooden eggs, and domestic objects; the penetrating humor and arbitrariness with which he juxtaposed such things recalled the spirit of Dada.

In the 1970s Salcedo became involved for a time with conceptual art in mordantly critical and irreverent works, such as The National Coat of Arms (1973; Bogotá, Mus. A. Mod.). He subsequently returned, however, to sculptural objects, bringing together two or more previously unconnected elements into an unsuspected poetic unity when assembled. These in turn gave way to works concerned with the representation of water, for example a group of saw-blades aligned in wavelike patterns or rectangles of glass arranged to resemble rain. Some of these included human figures, bringing to bear a sense of solitude and anxiety that added to their poetry and suggestiveness....