Ana Mendieta: “The Remarkable Story of a Rebel Artist, Her Mysterious Death and Cult Resurgence”

The Estate of Ana Mendiera Collection LLC Courtesy Gallery Lelong New York

Ana Mendieta’s work will be on view at the Cruz Collection (owned by art collector Rosa de la Cruz) in an exhibit titled “You’ve Got to Know the Rules to Break Them,” which opened on December 1 in Miami, Florida, in conjunction with the Art Basel Miami Beach fair. Guelda Voien writes in detail about Ana Mendieta, her trajectory, the exponential increase in value of her work, and especially about the about sordid details surrounding her death. Voien writes that justice has been served, “finally, for the works of Cuban-American artist, and 1980s rising star.” Here are excerpts; read the full article in the link below:

The first week of December, a mesmerizing body of artwork rarely seen and almost forgotten will go on display in Miami, at the public collection of Rosa de la Cruz, one of the country’s leading Contemporary art collectors. The pieces include images of the mud-smeared body of the artist and of her sweating blood from her pores. The dark imagery foretold her demise, some fans of the artist maintain.

On the 30-year anniversary of her death, a powerful cult is growing around photographer and filmmaker Ana Mendieta. Famous for some years mostly for the way she died, and forgotten for many more, her works are being rediscovered, exhibited around the U.S. and are climbing at auction. [. . .]

What is that story? In brief, the young and promising Cuban-American artist fell to her death in September 1985 from the 34th-floor window of her Greenwich Village apartment; her newlywed husband, legendary sculptor Carl Andre, was indicted, tried and eventually acquitted of her murder. His defense attorney argued, among other points, that Mendieta had committed “sub-intentional suicide.”

A sordid art world mystery at the time that polarized well-regarded art world principals on both sides, Ana Mendieta’s backstory is, finally, being overshadowed by her growing artistic legacy. It may have taken the art establishment years to find her work, but once it did, the response was what Mendieta seems to inspire, generally: devotion, even obsession.

Ms. de la Cruz estimates that, at 24 artworks, she is probably the largest single owner of Mendieta works outside the artist’s family. Ms. de la Cruz has created with her husband a personal museum, the Cruz Collection, and will show her Mendieta works at in an exhibit called “You’ve Got to Know the Rules to Break Them,” opening December 1 in Miami, in conjunction with the Art Basel Miami Beach fair. And that’s at least the third show to feature significant portions of Mendieta’s work in just the last two years. [. . .]

“There are very few women,” at a certain level in the art world, said Richard Move, a curator who made the 2009 film BloodWork: The Ana Mendieta Story. “There’s no [female] Damien Hirst. It’s even worse for ethnic women. And it hasn’t really changed at all.”

“My art is grounded in the belief of one universal energy which runs through everything: from insect to man, from man to spectre, from spectre to plant from plant to galaxy,” Mendieta wrote, according to the Feminist Art Archive at the University of Washington.

To many in the couple’s social circle, her death was not just a terrible mishap, but a symbol of the fate of so much feminist work and feminist women: marginalized and misplaced. “Mendieta became emblematic of the male-dominated art world,” Mr. Move told the Observer. [. . .]

The tragedy was as divisive as it was shocking. [. . .]

[Photo above: The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection LLC Courtesy Gallery Lelong New York.]

For full article, see

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