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The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, presents “Beatriz González: A Retrospective”

Monumental career survey of pioneering Colombian artist who has addressed the socio-political climate in Latin America over five decades

HOUSTON—September 11, 2019—In October, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, presents Beatriz González: A Retrospective​, a monumental survey spanning six decades of the artist’s intensive exploration of culture, politics, and society in her home country of Colombia. The exhibition, which debuted at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) in April 2019, is González’s first career retrospective in the United States, providing a much-needed look at the work of an artist who was among the vanguard generation of “radical women” in Latin America. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from October 27, 2019, to January 20, 2020.

Beatriz González: A Retrospective presents more than 130 works, culled from the artist’s career from the early 1960s to now. The exhibition is co-organized by Mari Carmen Ramírez, the Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and Director, International Center for the Arts of the Americas, MFAH, in tandem with Tobias Ostrander, independent curator and former chief curator of PAMM.

Gary Tinterow, MFAH director, commented, “In recent years, the Museum has presented groundbreaking exhibitions that have brought Latin American artists to light, most recently Contesting Modernity: Informalism in Venezuela and HOME—So Different, So Appealing, furthering our efforts to build awareness and appreciation of the diverse artistic production of Latin American and Latino artists among our audiences. The Museum is honored to present this retrospective of Beatriz González’s work, in partnership with our colleagues at the Pérez Museum.”

“At 80, González is not only an internationally celebrated Colombian artist but also one of the few extant representatives of the so-called ‘radical women’ generation from Latin America,” added Ramírez. “Through her work González proved that art can express pain and grief without resorting to the clichés of figurative painting, creating harrowing images that remain in our consciousness long after we have seen them.”

Articulating a distinct mode of figuration, with flattened forms and a strong and eccentric color palette evocative of commercial advertising, early on González rejected conventional artistic methods in favor of an analytical approach to painting, drawing, and printmaking. Key to the artist’s iconoclastic method is the appropriation of images associated with Western art history as well as commercial printing and mass media outlets in Colombia. González carefully culled these images and recycled them, deploying them on a broad range of experimental supports. Filled with references to the domestic environments and traditions of her country, her compositions impress for their self-conscious irony and the critical, acerbic light they shed on middle-class notions of taste, class, gender, and ethnicity. Addressing the profound disruptions in society, politics and culture in Colombia, her work also expresses her homeland’s prevailing undercurrent of sorrow, grief and death.

Organized in a loosely chronological order, the exhibition will include the artist’s most iconic works, many of which have rarely been seen outside of Colombia. It will trace the successive stages in González’s creative and intellectual explorations of mass-media images as vehicles for her highly personal approach to representing key facets of Colombian society and its relationship to Europe and the United States. These range from two-dimensional oil-on-canvas paintings, drawings, silkscreen prints, and curtains, to three-dimensional recycled furniture, such as beds, tables, night tables, cribs, and armoires, and everyday objects including trays, TVs, and cigar boxes. The works will be loaned from the artist’s personal collection as well as from public and private collections in Colombia, the United States, and Europe. Complementing the works on view will be a thorough selection of documentary materials from the artist’s archives that will allow viewers insight into the mass-media sources that inspired González’s critical artistic practice.

About the Artist
Beatriz González (born 1938, Bucaramanga) received a degree in Architecture from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, in 1958 and an MFA from the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, in 1962. She has had solo exhibitions at the Galeria Casas Riegner, Bogotá; Peter Kilchmann Galerie, Zurich; Museo de Arte Moderno, Medellín, Colombia; Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico; Museo del Barrio, New York; Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela; Fondo Cultural Cafetero, Bogotá; Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá; CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, France; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. Her work has been included in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Drawing Room, London; documenta 14, Kassel, Germany; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Pérez Art Museum Miami; Tate Modern, London; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museo de Bellas Artes de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Jerusalem International Convention Center, Israel; Phoenix Art Museum; and the Denver Art Museum. González’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museo del Barrio, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt; and the Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Established in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States, with an encyclopedic collection of nearly 70,000 works dating from antiquity to the present. The Museum’s Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim main campus comprises the Audrey Jones Beck Building, designed by Rafael Moneo and opened in 2000; the Caroline Wiess Law Building, originally designed by William Ward Watkin, with extensions by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe completed in 1958 and 1974; the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, designed by Isamu Noguchi and opened in 1986; the Glassell School of Art, designed by Steven Holl Architects and opened in 2018; and The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza, designed by Deborah Nevins & Associates and opened in 2018. Additional spaces include a repertory cinema, two libraries, public archives, and facilities for conservation and storage. Nearby, two house museums—Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, and Rienzi—present American and European decorative arts. The MFAH is also home to the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), a leading research institute for 20th-century Latin American and Latino art. 

Organization & Funding
This exhibition is organized by the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Generous funding for this exhibition is provided by:

Leslie and Brad Bucher
Samuel F. Gorman
Cecilia and Ernesto Poma
Silvia Salle and Peter T. Wood

Media Contact
Sarah Hobson, publicist | 713.800.5345