university of iowa museum of art

We started featuring Iowa artifacts on Facebook on a weekly basis nearly 4 years ago, and this was one of our first features! We then joined up with Tumblr and Instagram, and our following has boomed! Because this is one of Iowa’s most remarkable artifacts, it’s definitely worth of a second feature. This beautiful shell gorget was found at Hadfields Cave in northeastern Iowa. It’s thought to be the head of a deer and the body of a snake. It’s currently on exhibit at Iowa Hall in the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History - go check it out!

Intro

-I created this blog in order to get my depressed, anxiety ridden ass motivated to finish college! I have an ambitious mind, and I need my body to get caught up so my dreams don’t remain just dreams. I want to do well in school, and make my professors proud of me!

Basics

- Main: @hanhon14

- Residence: Iowa (for school) home-home is MN!

- Age: 21 🥂

School Info

- Year: Junior in College

- Major(s): Art History w/ an emphasis in Museum Studies

- Minor(s): Studio Art

- Classes:

——> fall semester (2017)<——

Art, Propaganda, and Power

Social Practice

History of Modern China

Elementary French

——>spring semester(2018)<——

Independent Study

World Art

Ceramics 1

Astronomy/Astronomy Lab

•Other Info

- I like to eat, sleep, and watch Hulu/Netflix

- Topp 3 drinks: water, sprite, and apple juice

- When I’m actually motivated, I draw

- I have a cat. She is a menace.

End

I am always looking for ways to help improve my studies and motivate me to do my best! Thank you :)

“I am overwhelmed by the feeling of having been cast from the womb.” Ana Mendieta.

Ana Mendieta Traces at Hayward Gallery London, 24 September – 15 December 2013.

 In life, Ana Mendieta was imprisoned by earth. And in death her works are imprisoned by art galleries. Traces, was an extensive chronological display challenging divisions between nature and the body, blurring the line between documentation and exhibition. Mendieta used her body and elemental materials to invent a uniquely intimate, provocative and compelling visual language, which yearns to be set free from the confines of the white cube, back to the landscape from whence it was born. The exhibition successfully displayed the tension between the material and the immaterial, the present and absent, what remains and what departs, by focusing on documentation. Mendieta’s work occupies the ‘in-between’ spaces, bridging the public and private, forcing the exhibition of memory. 

Left: Untitled (Facial Hair Transplant) (1972). Right: Untitled (Glass on body imprints) (1972).

The first phase of the exhibition gives focus to Mendieta’s early ‘body transformations’. Mendieta explores the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Untitled (facial cosmetic variations) (1972) and Untitled (Glass on body imprints) (1972), document the artist informally testing her bodily contortions, displaying the imprints made on the skin. Pressed firmly against a small, handheld pane of glass, she frames parts of her body, her skin. Here, hanging in the gallery, the pane of glass a frame, within a frame.

Untitled (facial hair transplant) (1972) demonstrates a kind of artistic intimacy and an exchange of personal currency. The somewhat cold documentary photographs record a transformation, in which Mendieta and a male friend share a disguise, “After looking at myself in a mirror, the beard became real. It did not look like a disguise. It became part of myself and not at all unnatural to my appearance.” (Thesis statement 1972) Within popular dream reading hair signifies sexual virility, seduction, and health, it is suggested that cutting your hair suggests that you may feel that someone is trying to censor you.  

The films do not stand to represent sculptures, thus these works are all their own. They are profound and captivating, and I’m thankful for the darkness in which I view them. They are silent and so is the gallery, it seems Mendieta commands taciturnity. Aptly the body is explored as a mutable and woundable thing, subject to subjection. Traces asserted our own mortality. All the works on show continue to endure, especially beyond their making.

Sweating Blood (1973) and Door Piece (1973) are shown side by side. In the former Mendieta with closed eyes concentrates on droplets of cattle blood, their gradual redness running down her face. In the latter, we adopt a voyeuristic peephole perspective. The artist rimming the peephole with her tongue, mocking Duchamp’s Etant Donnés. Limiting the viewer’s field of vision, and transforming herself into the object of the camera’s visionless gaze, casting her own body as landscape. Etant Donnes, while highly erotic is obviously violent, an influential precursor to Mendieta’s own piece Rape (1973), where Mendieta complicates the notion of female victimhood.

Sweating Blood, 1973, Super-8 colour, silent film transferred to DVD, 3 minutes. The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection.

Source (1975) appeared in the following room, for 3 minutes the rhythmic pumping of the fingers caused the milky liquid to drip continuously over fingers. Breasts are nutritive and sexual and breastfeeding in generally is considered mildly exhibitionary, however in this short film Mendieta excludes the body and reduces the breast alone to subject, a single, lone breast performing an elemental action. Nothing is false, Mendieta is focused on actuality and concerned with naturality, a self proclaimed orphan all her life.

 

Burial Pyramid, Ocean Bird Wash Up, Mirage (All 1974, all Super-8 colour, silent film transferred to DVD, all from The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection. Images from Alison Jaques Gallery).

The curatorial grouping of the video works enabled a consequential type of viewing, allowing the pieces to appear as episodes. Burial Pyramid (1974), Ocean Bird Wash Up (1974) and Mirage (1974) appear side by side. Burial Pyramid has long been my favorite Mendieta work. I adore the rock blanket, placed precariously on top of her barely recognisable body. Slowly she breathes and the earth is respiring, the stones are rolling away (is it biblical?). The rocks are heavy, the breathing is heavy, the earth is heavy, laden with the burden of Mendieta. But Ocean Bird Wash Up contributes a watery alternative, feather covered Mendieta lays horizontal again, in the water, waves crashing against her, urging her, pushing her to shore. The waves glistening in the sun turn her body, revealing her nudity, she clings, lifeless to a fallen tree, as she reaches the shore her still lifeless body stands proud of the water. And finally in Mirage we see Mendieta’s figure in a mirror reflected back to us, the audience presented with multiple viewpoints on Mendieta’s self.  Occasionally at the bottom of the screen we simultaneously see her actual hand and it’s reflected movement.

Hayward Gallery Traces gallery installation image.

The artist’s early blood drenched tableaux both raised awareness of violence against women and explored the ritualistic connotations of the medium itself. Red is a colour associated with Mendieta and it punctuated this exhibition. Mendieta sidesteps masochism never spilling her own blood, uninterested in the formal qualities of her materials, just the emotional and sensual ones.

Rape Scene, 1973, Still photograph.

Appalled by a brutal rape in 1973 Mendieta presented a forensic recreation of the crime, using her own body and apartment. In Rape Scene (1973) she smeared her self with blood and had herself tied to a table to lay motionless for 2 hours. She invited an all male audience to bear witness. Consequently Rape (1973), was staged out of doors in a woodland area. Both tableaux were documented on slides and while Mendieta’s interest in the terrain of temporality is lost, the primacy of documentation on display here continues to assert the notion that the audience is implicated by the artist as witness after the fact. 

The Silueta seriesforms Mendieta’s principle body of work, seriality occurs here especially, as the inevitable consequence of a long sustained and mutating passion, extensively represented in the gallery. Nature, as canvas and medium, takes over Mendieta’s own ’Silueta’, in a myriad of controlled situations. Her physical urge to use her naked body to connect with and explore the earth, and her feeling of exile from it, seems is a discursive position from which to disrupt. (“I am overwhelmed by the feeling of having been cast from the womb.”) Within this tableau the silhouette is proxy for the artists own body, the repetition of shape and form seen on the walls lead to the formulation of a symbol. “I have been carrying out a dialogue between the landscape and the female body (based on my own silhouette). I believe this has been a direct result of my having been torn fro my homeland (Cuba) during my adolescence. (nature)” (Eshleman. P71.) Mendieta it seems was concerned with interactions, not interventions.

A selection of works from the Silueta series, circa 1978.

Interestingly Room 4 recreates Mendieta’s 1977 solo exhibition staged at Corroboree: Gallery of New Concepts, in the University of Iowa. Mainly exhibiting Siluetas, all works were colour photographs and displayed simply, presumably as decided by the artist herself. Mendieta was opposed to simulated gallery installation but was concerned that her audience would experience something real; “…perhaps my images can lead the audience to [speculate] on their own experiences [of] what they might feel I have experienced.” (Artist Statement for Corroboree exhibition 1977.)

For Ana Mendieta “Art is a material act of culture,” early on in her career she consciously rejected institutional ‘homes’ of art practice (studio, gallery, museum), investing instead in the outdoor. However, the works, even now, in Traces don’t resolve the alienation from which they originate. Disappointingly I felt that the exhibition lost momentum, post Silueta, (coincidentally as her bodily presence diminished). Sans body, sans Mendieta? Perhaps I wasn’t seeing them in their intended context, I still feel quite removed from her personal environmental interaction but “An outdoor environment bought indoors leaves much to be desired.” (Gylbert Coker ‘Ana Mendieta at AIR in Art in America, April 1980. P134) Although the sentiment is real, I hunger for a natural smell or sound or texture, few artists have rendered the four dimensional so two dimensional.

 

Hayward Gallery London, Re-Tracing Ana Mendieta: documents 1972-1985.

The pieces appear rooted in her (their) time, although there is the sense of a powerful timeless connection, a continuum in which these pieces, commanding discourse and debate, remain relevant. The concluding section Re-Tracing Ana Mendieta: documents 1972-1985, adds a fresh aspect to her chronology, presenting unseen slides and ephemera. Mendieta chose photography to render her private actions publically visible in an exhibition context, and they do just that. Selected to control perception, while exploiting the gap between the event and the image itself, each work represents a dual existence, firstly as a sculpture in nature, who’s impermanence rendered documentation vital. Do the photos do the sculptures justice? Or capture the essence as absence as Mendieta intended?

Although feminist debate was not a concern of Mendieta’s, she is inscribed into it; The first major writings about her appeared in major feminist publications. Mendieta didn’t want to be associated with problematic American feminism but her work featured consonants which resounded with poststructuralist feminism; persistent evacuation of the female body, iterability and repetition, levels of mediation introduced by the use of the document. Mendieta was dissatisfied with being reduced to one vision of feminism or one articulation of identity, but as a female figure within art history, her story is fascinating. Her art is inseparable from her body, her life, her cultural heritage. Works without Mendieta’s body still subject it, the exhibition is still about her, her body becomes the subject, even by its very absence; ‘Where is Ana Mendieta?’

Written by Alison Humphrey