This is a blog of select works of art by Ana Mendieta, created in the Winter of 2015 in connection with Art History 410: Contemporary Art 1960’s and 70’s. Along with images and explanations of her art, there are four short essays. The essays include: her biography (below), a detailed account of her artistic influences, her influence on art in the 1970’s, and an essay by myself, the author of this blog, Abby Morgan, describing my favorite piece by Mendieta. Visitors to this site will also find information about the artist’s legacy and links to articles and visual resources, located above under the tabs “Legacy” and “Links,” respectively.
Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Facial Hair Transplant), 1972
Ana Mendieta was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948. Following the Cuban Revolution, fearing for the welfare of Cuban children under Castro’s communist regime, Mendieta and her sister were sent by their parents to the United States via Operation Peter Pan in 1961. Her exile from the country at an early age had a profound influence on her personal identity and desire to create art. Despite a twenty year exile from Cuba, Mendieta kept in touch with her country of origin through research and recognition of the Santería religion and indigenous cultures of the island. She studied at the University of Iowa in Hans Breder’s Intermedia M.F.A. program, expanding her art making practices beyond traditional forms and into conceptual, land, performance, process, sculpture, feminist, and body arts. She created her own term, “earth body,” to define her relationship and exploration of the human body in connection with nature. Through the use of photography and video, she conveyed the themes of ephemerality, tension, displacement, presence via absence, and ritual, among others, in her pieces. She completed several extensive, durational series, select examples of which can be found under the “Art” tab above, all the way up until her death in 1985. Her legacy, represented through gallery and museum retrospectives and feminist art ideology, continues to be of influence to artists working today.
All images of Ana Mendieta’s art from the Estate of Ana Mendieta, courtesy of the Galerie Lelong, New York.