Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014

March 20-May 1, 2015
Haverford College's Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery

Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014

Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014 Arqueologías de destrucción 1958-2014

In 1966 a group of artists, poets, musicians, and psychologists from Europe, the United States, Japan, and industrialized countries in Latin America traveled to London to participate in the first Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS). Never intended to signify a “movement” or an “ism,” DIAS was born from a communal preoccupation with the potential that destruction offers for artists seeking a more just society as well as an artistic revolution indicated by the breakdown of divisions between media and the elimination of commercial art objects. These shared attitudes developed in the aftermath of WWII via a consideration of atrocities like the Holocaust and the atomic bomb. Consumed with the tangible material and psychic effects of industrialized warfare as well as the spread of institutionally sanctified violence, artists desired a means of understanding as well as mitigation. How could the work of art harness the symbolic power of destruction by displacing it through ritual and performative event, embedding in its conceptual and formal structures an underlying urge towards insurrection and revision?

Arqueologías de destrucción 1958–2014 is catalyzed by the belief that these ideas concerning destruction continue to resonate in art, in the polity, and in our own physical frailty. Focusing on artists with either familial roots or life experience in Latin America, the exhibition traces a half-century of experimentation in this political, social, and economic context: the abandoned Modernist utopias of a mid-century characterized by political turmoil, American interventionism, and the growth of militaristic regimes; symbolic adaptations of the language of guerilla warfare and pre-Columbian ontologies in a subsequent époque of collective action and hand-held imaging technologies; and contemporary preoccupations with an ever-expanding violence that recalls 1960s trauma within a visual regime shaped by current industrial complexes.

Coalescing these discrete historical periods is an ongoing tension between artifact and image, object and representation, and history and revisionism. The six artists in the exhibition manifest said tension in works that make use of time-based media, manipulated document, and sculptural processes that evoke domestic archaeologies. And while these individual practices are distinct in terms of context, methodology, and intention (neither a “movement” nor an “ism”), together they help us make sense of the following provocation: How do you create a present moment that redresses a past in order to open a future not entirely determined by past harms? That is in itself a will to revision.

The exhibition features work by Eduardo Abaroa, Kenneth Kemble, Marcos Kurtycz, Ana Mendieta, Marta Minujín, and Raphael Montañez Ortiz.

Exhibition Site
Arqueologías de destrucción, 1958-2014

Reviews
In the galleries: Art picks for March
Artishock: Revista de arte contemporáneo
Galleries: A look back at art of destruction
Arte al Dia
Deslumbrar: Essays about arts from Iberia and the Americas
Haverford College Blog
art & education

Mellon Creative Artist Residency
Eduardo Abaroa: Archaeologies of Destruction

Exhibition Design
Camille Sacha Salvador