Monday, March 05, 2007

The Disappeared

Occasionally, these posts will be far too site-specific for their own good, geographically that is, being that all of our contributors are currently based in the NYC area. You, dear Reader, could change that if you were to flog a blog at your lesiure. In any event, for those Readers in the area--better yet, those who can get here--I recommend you visit El Museo del Barrio (1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th St.; open Wed.-Sun. 12-5) for the overwhelming exhibition "The Disappeared/Los Desaparecidos."

The exhibition showcases the work of more than a dozen artists of various Latin American countries and their efforts to come to terms with the horrific experiences of various citizens at the hands of their dictatorships. These efforts are extraordinary, refusing to become overt petitions for sympathy, relics of recognition, or readymade propagandistic versions of political art. No, these myriad works, from sculpture, to paintings, to drawings, to photographs, mirrors, and...bones, all commemorate the victims of Chile, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, and Brazil, with art that shows a reckoning with the enormity of the events, the complicity of violence with evasion, and, so powerfully, how no representation or commemoration can be anything but a fitful trace of the people who were abducted, tortured, and murdered.

I feel compelled to share my thoughts on some of the more bracing pieces in this exhibition, but should rather urge you to witness these marvels. Those who have gone have not gone forgotten; but nor have they returned fully. Their absence informs these art works and their names and faces are with us even if they are still nameless and faceless. Organized by the North Dakota Museum of Art, the show runs in NY until June 17. Please see it. Let me know what you think.

-- curley