“The Second Sex
“The Second Sex,” a selection of works from the Estrellita B. Brodsky collection. Taking its title from Simone de Beauvoir’s influential 1949 treatise, this exhibition examines the work by female artists from Latin America, whose contributions are too often overlooked by the Western historical canon. "The Second Sex" will be on view by appointment starting June 6 through October 31, 2018.
Inspired by a series of museum exhibitions dedicated to women artists from Latin America, “The Second Sex” showcases a selection of works by over 20 female artists from different regions and generations, connected by their use of lines, marks and traces. Conceived as an alternative lineage, the exhibition surveys the radical innovations, mutual influences and the sometimes unexpected dialogues between these artists' works in the collection.
Beginning with Carmen Herrera’s 1949, Untitled, completed the same year that Simone de Beauvoir’s "The Second Sex" was published, the first room juxtaposes the use of precise lines in the geometric and Neo-concrete works of Herrera, Lygia Clark, and Lygia Pape with the hand-written, scribble-like forms in the works of Gego, Mira Schendel, and Sarah Grilo from the 1960s. Taking yet another approach, Elsa Gramcko, Anna Maria Maiolino, Adriana Varejão, Fernanda Gomes, and Vivian Suter explore the use of traces of seemingly natural processes and human activity in their work.
In contrast to the formal approach, a second group of works demonstrates how lines and traces can be deployed as political acts and the possibility of using the body as medium, as in the pioneering performance works of Marta Minujín, Ana Mendieta and the Venezuelan duo Yeni & Nan from the 1970s-1980s. The Chilean artist, Lotty Rosenfeld painted a mile of white crosses on the symbolic road across the Casa de la Moneda Presidential Palace in Santiago de Chile, bombed during Pinochet’s military coup in 1973. Regina Galindo left a path of bloodstained footprints from the Constitutional Court to the National Palace of Guatemala, in response to dictator Efraín Ríos Montt’s attempt to escape genocide trial by running as presidential candidate.
The works on paper in the last space, offer yet another critical example of an intergenerational dialogue between two women artists from Latin America. Almost two decades apart in age, they both relocated to Europe: Lucia Nogueira from Brazil to England and Sandra Vásquez de la Horra from Chile to Germany. The subject of renewed critical attention, their drawings allude to the human form and are concerned with the relationship between body and language. While their lives never crossed paths, they shared a preference for a dark sense of humor combined with elements of magical or fairytale imagery. In her very personal works, Vásquez de la Horra deploys a technique in which the graphite drawings are sealed over with a translucent wax “skin,” giving her compositions a sense of historicity and corporeal fragility. Similarly presenting a child like mythical world with sinister implications, Nogueira employs delicately colored watercolors to depict floating heads or sculptural forms of an irregular cage dipped in wax with a single steel wire sharpened to a pointed needle.