Critics’ Picks

Marta Minujín, Bastidor psico II , 2013, fluorescent paint on canvas, 13 3/4 x 10 5/8".

Marta Minujín, Bastidor psico II , 2013, fluorescent paint on canvas, 13 3/4 x 10 5/8".

New York

Marta Minujín

Henrique Faria Fine Art
35 East 67th Street
May 28–July 2, 2015

A pioneering Argentinian artist who contributed to Happenings and Pop as well as Art and Technology in the 1960s, Marta Minujín is once again ubiquitous. Last fall, her work appeared in the Guggenheim’s reconsideration of Latin American art, “Under the Same Sun,” and this fall, it will be included in MoMA’s “Construction to Transmission.” In the meantime, this show offers a deeper view of the artist’s avant-garde oeuvre.

The exhibition encompasses several bodies of work, the oldest of which comprises documentation of her actions. In Kidnappening, 1973, partygoers were abducted from a cocktail party at MoMA and redistributed around the city by the artist and a troupe of performers, who assumed classical poses and wore cubist makeup. The work deploys what Robert Smithson called the site/non-site dialectic to demonstrate the limits of both art and guerrilla warfare as just theater. The historical documents of this and other events contrast with the frenetic fluorescence of her abstract paintings—most of which are amputated relics of one of her last mixed-media environments, the Laberinto Minujinda, 1985—and her autonomous series of painted mattresses, which she began in Paris in the early 1960s, highlighting her commitment to collapsing the space between art and life.

Other works from the 1980s cement Minujín’s importance as a carrier of the torch of Latin American Conceptualism. Payment of the Argentine Foreign Debt to Andy Warhol with Corn, The Latin American Gold, 1985/2011, comprises newly printed large-format photographs of a performance in which the artists appear to debate each other over a bed of corn. Though redolent of Pop in the age of Interview, the work is a witty comment on art’s relation to economic and cultural imperialism. In a similar vein, her falling and overturned monuments—some made of consumable products, as in the drawing proposing a Torre Eiffel de Pan Baguette, 1982—criticize the collusion of mythology and power that is our daily bread.