IMAGE to enter exhibition
Cardillo: Araucaria examines the
artistic career of the Uruguayan-born, New York-based artist
Rimer Cardillo during the last decade through a selection
of prints, mixed-media and sculptural works, and installations
as well as several new works commissioned by the Museum for
this exhibition. Cardillo's work operates at the intersection
of identity, culture, history, and nature to investigate the
relationship between ancestral and contemporary histories.
His artistic production represents a critique of the western
opposition between nature and culture by establishing parallels
between a remote past-the cultural genocide of South American
indigenous communities in a colonial context-and a more recent
reality-the ecological devastation of this region's natural
resources within a post-colonial and post-industrial era.
The exhibition's subtitle, "Araucaria" underscores
metaphorically these cultural and environmental concerns and
refers to a member of the pine tree family native to South
America. The araucaria tree once dominated immense forestial
areas in Brazil and Chile, but, like much of the natural terrain
in this region, has undergone severe abuse and faces near
extinction. For Cardillo, the representation of nature is
linked to a dual process of recuperation and renewal. Nature
is both a reflection of the past and the hope for the future.
The planning phase of this ambitious exhibition was initiated
in 1994 and encompassed the artist's travel to South America
to conduct field research and to gather relevant source materials.
The regions visited during this trip included the Misiones
and the Pantanal territories located in parts of Argentina,
Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay, and would not have been possible
without a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The documentation and materials collected by the artist during
this period have greatly informed and enriched the depth and
scope of the work in this exhibition.
There are numerous members of our staff who have significantly
contributed to the realization and success of this exhibition.
I would be remiss if I did not extend my sincerest gratitude
to Jane C. Delgado, Executive Director, for her spirited support
of this project. I would also like to thank my colleagues
in the curatorial department: Lydia Yee, Curator; Edwin Tangonan
Ramoran, Exhibitions Coordinator; and Skowmon Hastanan, Assistant
Registrar, for their invaluable advice, encouragement, and
assistance throughout the planning and implementation of this
exhibition. Wayne Rottman, Preparator, and the entire crew
of art handlers for their skillful handling of the installation
phase of the exhibition. Jerri Allyn, former Director of Education,
and Zoya Kocur, Public Programs Consultant, for their imaginative
and thought-provoking education and public programs. Jessica
Harvey, Curriculum Specialist, designed curriculum materials
for intermediate level students; and education interns Kim
Carmona and Molly Hennessy developed innovative and collaborative
responses to the artist's work. Alien Kleinman, Development
Officer, coordinated the fundraising efforts, and Alexander
Campos, Director of Public Affairs, with Toni Roberts, Press
Coordinator, managed the publicity.
I would like to extend my thanks to art critic Lucy R. Lippard,
and to Patricia C. Phillips, Professor of Art History and
Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at the State
University of New York at New Paltz, for their insightful
contributions to this publication. My sincere thanks also
go to former curatorial intern Jessica Hough, for conducting
research during the preliminary stages of catalogue production;
Amy Scholder, for her attentive and sensitive editing; and
to Cara Galowitz, for an attractive and elegantly designed
I would also like to acknowledge with gratitude the following
individuals and organizations who have lent works or otherwise
have been of particular assistance in the realization of this
exhibition: the Alien Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College,
Oberlin, Ohio; Bacardi Art Foundation, Miami; Cavin-Morris
Gallery, New York; Cristina Delgado; and Charles Frattini,
Assistant Director of Capital Projects and Montalee Hastanan,
Capital Projects Administrator, The New York Botanical Garden,
Mostly, I would like to thank the artist Rimer Cardillo for
his boundless creativity and dedication throughout this project.
I am inspired by the depth of his character, integrity, and
vision, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to share
his work with a larger audience.