Artists: Vito Acconci, Artur Barrio, Rosemarie Castoro, Eduardo Costa, Cris Gianakos, Victor Grippo, Stephen Kaltenbach, Leandro Katz, Rosemary Mayer, Ana Mendieta, Marta Minujín, Hélio Oiticia, John Perreault, Regina Vater.
Acciones en la calle: Street Works in New York and Latin America circa 1970
Curator: Gillian Sneed
October 26 – December 4, 2015
Amelie A. Wallace Gallery
New York, NUY, USA
“Acciones en la Calle” considers the conceptual and performative strategies employed by artists in the 1960s and ’70s that rejected institutional spaces in favor of the street as the context and subject of their work. The exhibition’s point of departure is the six-part Street Works (1969-1970), a series of events during which numerous artists utilized urban public spaces in New York City’s streets as their performance and exhibition venues.
While New York is often considered the birthplace of this genre, street actions had also taken hold in Latin America, and relationships between Latin American and U.S. artists, critics, and curators developed. Latin American artists who sought exile from dictatorships or had been awarded grants came to New York, while many U.S. artists traveled to Latin America.
“Acciones en la Calle” demonstrates resonances and disjunctions between the works and their political, practical, and theoretical concerns. While the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War protests provided the backdrop against which street works emerged in the U.S., in Latin America limited art markets and repressive regimes left only the streets as venues for artistic intervention. These artists investigated the complex intersections of political repression, violence, and social marginalization in ways that challenged the traditional “center/periphery” model so often employed in canonical accounts of Latin American and U.S. conceptual art. Curator Sneed explains: “The relevance of these works could not be more urgent today, as activists across the Americas have returned to the streets to take action.”
The works in this exhibition revolve around three themes related to the urban setting: Site, Drift, and Debris. Site considers street works that mark or highlight the location where they unfolded; Drift engages works that wander through urban networks to produce dérives, or flows; and Debris explores what is revealed about a city’s inhabitants by the refuse that accumulates on their streets.