A CONTEXTUAL RETROSPECTIVE OF RAPHAEL MONTAÑEZ ORTIZ
Museo Tamayo opens the exhibition Raphael Montañez Ortiz: A Contextual Retrospective, the first large-scale exhibition dedicated to the artist, activist and educator. It gets together his work produced from the 1950s to the early 2020s in different media such as film, painting, photography, video installation, documents and assemblages.
Raphael Montañez Ortiz's practice develops from art historical references, from American Abstract Expressionism and Dadaism, to the identity references of his upbringing in a Puerto Rican family in New York. In addition, his work is strongly influenced by psychoanalysis and anthropology which translates into his exploration of shamanic practices and the therapeutic and healing potential of art.
The exhibition is divided into four sections exploring Montañez Ortiz's contributions to 20th and 21st century art. Destruction focuses on his early films and assemblages, and a large group of "Archaeological Finds," with works from different American and European Museum collections seen together for the first time. Decolonization and Guerrilla Practices addresses activism related to his Puerto Rican background. Ethno-aesthetics and Physio-psycho-alchemy –terms coined by the artist– crown the last two sections. The first term deals with forms of resistance to cultural ethnocentrism and the second one explores the central concept of his doctoral thesis and the works he made about this, where meditation, ritual and breathing practices are at the center of a series of performative and participatory works.
Raphael Montañez Ortiz is a central figure in post-war American art. His practice began with experimental film works in 1957. In the 1960s he was a key figure in Destructivism with performances that would lead to powerful sculptures made from destroyed objects.