Carlos Amorales

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Carlos Amorales’s first museum exhibition in the United States owed its success, partly, to the context in which the works operated and to the seductive installation Black Cloud, 2007, which consists of thousands of black paper moths. The creatures were scattered in the main gallery, a stairway, and the neighboring galleries, where they were affixed, for example, to the wall next to a pristine Mondrian and in the sight line of a Jasper Johns. It was as if an infestation had occurred and bugs were attacking the institution and its treasures—a conservator’s nightmare. The moths, based on images culled from Liquid Archive, 1999–, the artist’s database of his own drawings, propose a materiality and dedicated craftsmanship that is a clear counterpoint to the phanstasmatic aesthetics espoused by the other works on display. Indeed, Amorales is known for making drawings and films depicting fantastic

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