OFF THE RECORD – CARLOS MOTTA AT THE GUGGENHEIM NEW YORK
The Colombian artist (Bogota, 1978), of international renown, participates in the group exhibition “Off the Record” held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan.
Historical, documentary, state, and other records became the collectively accepted communicators of “truth” through their perceived objectivity and comprehensiveness. They presumably tell a story from a place of remove, with all relevant details included. Off the Record challenges this pretense, bringing together the work of contemporary artists from the Guggenheim’s collection who interrogate, revise, or otherwise query dominant narratives and the transmission of culture through official “records.”
Drawn from the context of journalist reportage, the phrase “off the record” here refers to accounts that have been left out of mainstream narratives. The exhibition’s title can also be understood in its verb form: to undermine or “kill” the record as a gesture of redress. Across various manipulations of “records,” artists in this exhibition seek to call out the power dynamics obscured by official documentation, complicate the idea of objectivity and truth, and surface new narrative possibilities.
In Off the Record, Carlos Motta exhibits Brief History of US Interventions in Latin America Since 1946, part of a series produced by Carlos Motta between 2005 and 2009 that presents two chronologies of events in Latin America: one of U.S. interventions in the region since 1946, and one of the area’s leftist guerrilla movements. One side of the print outlines the interventions’ interconnected narratives in text; the other depicts two bloody handprints and the symbol of the Mano Blanco death squads from 1980s El Salvador. The whole work thus contrasts the orderly, objective quality of written “facts” with the visceral immediacy of images associated with violence.
Off the Record is organized by Ashley James (Associate Curator, Contemporary Art) and features works by 12 collection artists: Sadie Barnette, Sarah Charlesworth, Sara Cwynar, Leslie Hewitt, Glenn Ligon, Carlos Motta, Lisa Oppenheim, Adrian Piper, Lorna Simpson, Sable E. Smith, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems.