This Upcoming Exhibition Highlights the Work of 116 Radical Latina & Latin American Artists

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Graciela Itrubide, Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas, Juchitán, Mexico, 1979

Graciela Itrubide, Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas, Juchitán, Mexico, 1979

“Because the system’s so biased and so restrictive, so much wonderful art has [gone] completely unnoticed.” With these words, Cecilia Fajardo-Hill succinctly described the impetus for an upcoming exhibition – Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985 – at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The last few decades has seen progress for female artists, but the art world hasn’t reached parity, with men still basking in the limelight far more often than women.

As LA Weekly notes, the Guggenheim dedicated 86 percent of solo shows to men in 2014. And between 2007 to 2014, the Tate Modern in London only featured female artists’ works in solo exhibitions a quarter of the time. Radical Women – which Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta curated together – exclusively focuses on Latinas and Latin American women who US museums don’t typically feature. “The reason for this is not a question of talent, but of a patriarchal matrix placed on the history of Latin American and Latina art,” Fajardo-Hill tells LA Weekly. “In other words, the system was even more biased than we knew it to be.”

In 2010, When they began looking into this topic, the curators found themselves having to defend the need for an exhibit that closely looks at Latin American and Latina art. Detractors told them that only a select number of women were worth highlight. But they refused to buy into this misguided notion, finding instead, that these women’s stories are necessary to tell.

“We are looking at a lot of women that have been completely overlooked,” Fajardo-Hill told the Los Angeles Times. “These are women that have shaped how we understand contemporary art today, how we use our bodies, how we can think about our bodies at a conceptual level.”

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