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Museo de Arte de Ponce opens Luis Camnitzer. Art in Response

The Museo de Arte de Ponce presents Luis Camnitzer. Art in Response, an exhibition on view April 14, 2012 – August 27, 2012.

Luis Camnitzer, Museo de Arte de Ponce

Art in Response is an innovative project in which Museo de Arte de Ponce invites distinguished contemporary artists to create a work or series of works inspired by pieces in the museum’s permanent collection of European art. The final product is revealed as a counterpoint in the same gallery as the art work that inspired it. The first artist invited to take part in this program is Luis Camnitzer. Born in Lübeck, Germany, in 1937; raised in Montevideo, Uruguay, and moved to New York City in 1964, Camnitzer has distinguished himself not just as an artist but also as a critic, educator, and art theorist. During his early career, in the sixties and seventies, he was one of a group known as the American Conceptualists. Over the last fifty years he has developed an oeuvre that is uniquely his own, a remarkable body of work that invites reflection, analysis, and debate on systems of power. His work is owned by some of the most important collections in the world and hangs in such institutions as the Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and the Museo del Barrio, to name just a few.

Camnitzer is recognized as one of the pillars of Conceptual art in Latin America and the world. Conceptual art emerged in the sixties. One of its first (and most provocative) proponents was the brilliant French artist Marcel Duchamp, who famously said that the concept was more important than the object created. One of the principal characteristics of Conceptual art is that it downplays the importance given to the work’s optical impact in favor of the intellectual processes that are triggered in viewers’ minds by the artist’s creation.

Camnitzer visited Puerto Rico in early March this year to choose his source of inspiration from Museo de Arte de Ponce’s permanent collection artworks. He spent hours contemplating masterpieces in the European collection, and finally selected the gallery called “Stories of Love and Loss,” where Konstantin Makovsky’s work Choosing the Bride is portrayed to visitors. This piece inspired Camnitzer to propose a response that would deal with the issue of violence against women. Other important works in this gallery are also reinterpreted by Camnitzer, and for these re-imaginings he employs such non-traditional techniques as projecting images onto unusual surfaces, multiple compositions, and other surprising strategies.

“Art in Response is a very important link in the chain of possibilities, efforts, and achievements that we use in guiding the Museo de Arte de Ponce into a new era. It will interweave the beauty and importance of our European works of art with the most innovative work being done within the infinite panorama of contemporary art,” explained Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the museum’s chief executive officer and director. The Art in Response program encourages collaborations between artists and the Museo de Arte de Ponce, and it invites comparison of works of art from differing periods—a search for connections—that will allow a better understanding of artists’ visions down through time. Luis Camnitzer has made a remarkable contribution to this effort.

Currently, the museum’s European collection is organized thematically: landscapes; portraits; masters of light and emotion; Vanitas, or the fleeting nature of life; and classical mythology, to name just a few. Art in Response will be integrated into that thematic schema in a way to stimulate a visual tour through time via the various “counterpoints” in the Museum’s galleries. This unique exhibition forms a continuum with this organizational scheme that encourages a visual journey through time via. “This play of dualities is intended to engage audiences of varying artistic preferences; it will lead that audience particularly interested in the work of the Old Masters to experience contemporary works, while offering those visitors fundamentally interested in contemporary art the opportunity to see the work of classical painters from a new perspective,” notes María Arlette de la Serna, the museum’s assistant curator.

The Museo de Arte de Ponce’s internationally renowned collection is comprised of more than 4,500 works of art from many cultures, dating from the ninth century C.E. to the present. This dynamic, wide-ranging collection includes paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, drawings, decorative arts, pre-Hispanic and African objects, Puerto Rican folk art, contemporary ceramics, video, and sound art.

Museo de Arte de Ponce
2325 Ave. Las Américas Ponce
Telephones: 787-848-0505, 787-840-1510
Fax: 787-841-7309
[email protected]

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