Raphael Montañez Ortíz (b. 1934)

The Kiss (1985)

Dance No. 1 (1985)

What is this? (1985)

Beach Umbrella (1985)

Ring Ring Rag Time (1996)

Raphael Montañez Ortíz (born in Brooklyn, New York in 1934) is an American artist, educator, and founder of El Museo del Barrio. He is a graduate of Art and Design High School of New York City, and studied at Pratt Institute, where he began as a student of architecture, decided instead to become a fine artist, and received his BFA and MFA at Pratt Institute in 1964. He continued honing both his artistic skills and his formal education, finishing a doctorate in Fine Arts and Fine Arts in Higher Education at the Teachers College of Columbia University. Ortiz's works are in the collection of the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York, the Chrysler Museum in Virginia and the De Menil Collection in Houston, Texas.

Ritual, coincidence, duality, transcendence, humanism, performance, gesture, religion and history are only a few of the subjects that the artist has addressed through his works. From the beginning of his career, perhaps his most important concern was avant-garde practice. He worked on the margins of cultural production, creating art from non-art objects, such as domestic items, which he would unmake in a process of (de)struction. While he was interested in avant-garde movements like Dada and Fluxus, readings in psychology and anthropology influenced him most and acted as the link between his early Archaeological Finds series and his interest in the perceptions of the unconscious mind.

Ortiz incorporated indigenous elements to the process of deconstruction, underscoring his awareness of indigenous cultural practice and its possibilities as a model for contemporary aesthetics. In the creation of his earliest film works from the late 1950s, he hacks a film into pieces while chanting. Placing the pieces into a medicine bag, he then arbitrarily removed each piece and spliced them together in a completely random fashion. In his film work from the early 1980s, the artist used an Apple computer hooked up to a laser disc player. He scratched the laser disc, creating a stammering image, and a disconnection between time and space. -- Wiki

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