Download the exhibition brochure (pdf)
During her brief career, from 1971 to 1985, Ana Mendieta (1948–1985) produced a stunning body of work that included performances, drawings, sculptures, installations, and photographs. Less known, however, is her remarkable and prolific production of more than one hundred films. Covered in Time and History brings together twenty-one recently preserved films—many of which have had little previous exposure—in addition to a selection of related photographs; it is the largest grouping of the artist’s films ever presented in an exhibition in the United States.
Mendieta’s particular merging of sculpture, earth art, and performance (“earth-body,” as she termed it) stands as a singular artistic expression. Her work crossed disciplinary, geographical, and political boundaries as it investigated history, gender, and culture. Mendieta’s art continues to speak powerfully to diverse audiences as a result of her sustained and unflinching inquiry into what it means to be human. The artist’s personal biography connects with existential dilemmas of the modern era: the experience of displacement; the loss of continuity with one’s individual and collective past; the pressures to conform and assimilate in a foreign environment, language, and value system. Mendieta’s aesthetic lexicon encompasses the persistent, universal dialogue with history and yearning for wholeness that underpins much of artistic expression. The exhibition’s title derives from a statement she made in an interview with the artist Linda Montano: “In 1973 I did my first piece in an Aztec tomb that was covered in weeds and grasses—that growth reminded me of time. I bought flowers at the market, lay on the tomb, and was covered with white flowers. The analogy was that I was covered by time and history.”
Mendieta was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1948 and was sent to the United States at the age of twelve as part of Operation Peter Pan, an initiative that brought 14,000 Cuban children to this country between 1960 and 1962. After living in several foster homes in Iowa, she attended the University of Iowa, where she received undergraduate and graduate degrees in studio and intermedia art. In 1978 she moved to New York and joined A.I.R., the first gallery of women artists, established in 1972. The recipient of several prestigious grants and awards, Mendieta was a highly disciplined and prolific artist; she produced important artworks in Cuba, Italy, Mexico, and the United States. She died at the age of thirty-six in 1985 by falling from the thirty-fourth-floor apartment she shared in New York with her husband, the artist Carl Andre.
Theater Two Screening
Digital; color, sound; 8 mins
Documentary short produced and edited by Raquel Cecilia. Music by Carlos José Alvarez. All art by Ana Mendieta. Lecture by Ana Mendieta at Alfred University, 1981; courtesy of Alfred University, New York. © Corazón Pictures, LLC
Wed & Thu 11 a.m.–2 p.m. & 5–7 p.m.
Fri 11 a.m.–2 p.m. & 5–9 p.m.
Sat & Sun 11 a.m.–7 p.m.