An installation honoring the memory of Ana Mendieta outside of LA MoCA. Photo: Joy Silverman

Carl Andre Exhibition at LA MoCA Sparks Protests

Artists and cultural workers protested the opening of sculptor Carl Andre’s exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art last week, Carolina A. Miranda of the LA Times reports. The group handed out postcards featuring images of Ana Mendieta, the celebrated feminist artist who fell to her death in 1985 from the New York City apartment the couple shared. They read: “Carl Andre is at MoCA Geffen. ¿Dónde está Ana Mendieta? (Where is Ana Mendieta?).” Andre, who was married to Mendieta at the time of her death, was charged with second-degree murder, but was acquitted in 1988.

Protesters laid the postcards around Andre’s sculptures and unfurled a long piece of white fabric with silhouettes of bodies outside the museum’s entrance on April 2. Following the protests, the Association of Hysteric Curators—a group of Los Angeles–based artists and curators who champion women’s issues and the representation of the female body in art—wrote an open letter to the director of the institution, Philippe Vergne.

The letter states: “We feel the decision to show Andre at MoCA Geffen, after the election of president Trump, is tasteless. The choice of the museum to bring an Andre show to Los Angeles in this context communicates to us, as feminists, that the museum has no allegiance to women or victims of domestic abuse. We would like to remind you that symbols of power emanate from institutions and reverberate through society. As the director of a nationally recognized institution as powerful as MoCA, you have an obligation to symbolically stem the tide of increasingly violent, racist, and misogynistic attitudes throughout the United States.”

The signatories of the letter include Culver City gallerist Luis De Jesus, arts administrator Anuradha Vikram, Isabel Rojas-Williams of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, and a number of artists including Lauren Bon, Alexandra Grant, Barbara McCarren, Lili Bernard, and Carolyn Castaño.

Titled “Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010,” the exhibition features more than five decades of the sculptor’s works. Initially staged at Dia:Beacon in 2014, LA MoCA said that this is the first museum survey of Andre’s oeuvre and his first retrospective in North America since 1980.