reviews

Ana Mendieta

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

At the conclusion of “Ana Mendieta: Earth Body, Sculpture and Performance 1972–1985” was a small 1981 drawing in acrylic, Silueta de entrañas (La voladora) (Silhouette of Entrails [The Flyer]). At first glance, the work was far from the most engaging or important in the show; indeed, here it seemed small and insignificant relative to many of Mendieta’s other pieces, especially the massive, tree-trunk-like, untitled wooden sculptures from her “Totem Grove” series of a few years later, featured in an adjacent gallery. But the drawing’s morbid title and jagged-edged figure, limned by a curvilinear outline that evokes ghosts or mummies, provided a smart rhetorical device, a purposeful grammatical slip, an ellipsis at the end of the exhibition instead of the period one expected. By apparently shunning proper curatorial grammar, curator Olga M. Viso made clear the subtle premises of Mendieta’s

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