Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980-2008

Miami Art Museum. From Oct 9th, 2009 through Jan 17th, 2010.

In October of 2009, Miami Art Museum premieres the most comprehensive survey of the work of Argentine artist Guillermo Kuitca ever presented in North America. On view at MAM from October 9th, 2009 through January 17th, 2010, Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980-2008 traces the evolution of Kuitca’s work through more than 50 canvases and 25 works on paper, spanning 28 years of the artist’s career. The exhibition will feature Untitled, 1992, a piece comprised of 20 painted mattresses from the collection of Tate Modern, and two large-scale paintings, Everything and The Ring. 

Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980-2008 is co-organized by Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and Miami Art Museum.

Guillermo Kuitca explores themes of dislocation and the intersection of public and private spaces through works ranging from early paintings of theatrical scenes, to complex abstractions, which reference maps and architectural plans. Kuitca was the chosen representative of Argentina at the Venice Biennale in 2007, where he was one of only three artists with work on view in both a national pavilion and in the central international Biennale exhibition. The artist’s work was previously exhibited at the Center for Fine Arts, which later became the Miami Art Museum, in the 1995 exhibition Burning Beds Guillermo Kuitca: A Survey 1982-1994.

In addition to the artworks within Miami Art Museum’s on-site gallery space, the Museum will also host Guillermo Kuitca: Everything (else), at Miami’s Freedom Tower. MAM is working with the Art Gallery System of Miami Dade College, which owns and operates this nationally designated landmark historic building, to install a series of 32 drawings and a pair of large-scale paintings, each over 20 feet wide.

“Drawing inspiration from ground plans, maps, and theater seating plans, Kuitca’s work challenges boundaries both literally and figuratively,” said Terence Riley, MAM Director. “MAM is a hemispheric hub for art across the Americas, and this exhibition is particularly relevant to MAM and the Miami community. We are pleased to present our second exhibition of Kuitca’s work, and look forward to presenting many more exhibitions of this scale and importance once MAM moves to its new, expanded facility at Museum Park.”

Curated by Doug Dreishpoon of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980-2008 will travel to:  Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., following its Miami premiere. Major funding is provided by the Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation, AXA Art Insurance Corporation, and the Leadership and Honorary Patrons Committee for the exhibition, with additional catalogue support from Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.

Dating to the early and mid-1980s, the earliest works in the exhibition were inspired by Kuitca’s experiences as a theatrical stage director in Argentina, with titles often drawn from plays, literature, and popular music.  Works such as El Mar Dulce and Siete Ultima Canciones, both completed in 1986, are reminiscent of stage sets viewed from a distance, with tiny figures acting out mysterious and disturbing dramas. Themes of absence and disappearance emerged in subsequent works of this period, which depict overturned chairs, sullied beds that appear to be on fire, and a microphone on an empty stage.

Kuitca’s works of the late 1980s and early 1990s explore architecture and topography, as well as domestic and communal spaces. The floor plans of public institutions (the “Tablada Suite”), geographical maps (the artist’s “map” paintings on canvases and mattresses), and genealogical charts (the “People on Fire” series) begin to serve as important references during this period. Though these works infer human interconnection and spaces which are normally occupied by large groups, the human figure remains notably absent.

Kuitca further explored organizational systems throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. In Neufert Suite, 1998, a series of paintings, and L’Encyclopédie, 2002, a series of works on paper, he references an architect’s handbook and the work of French philosopher Denis Diderot, who attempted to condense the whole of human knowledge into an encyclopedia. In his series of drawings titled Global Order, 2002, Kuitca fuses a map of the world with building plans for domestic spaces, identifying borders and notions of “place” as the changing products of human invention.

Since the late 1990s, Kuitca has created both large and small-scale works on paper that investigate and deconstruct his painted works. Continuing his investigation of mapping, Kuitca based a 2007 series on seating charts from renowned performance spaces such as the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Kuitca selectively edits information from these charts in an electronic format before printing them. He then further alters their appearance and meaning by subjecting them to different water treatments, which alter the printed image. The resulting works are surreal abstractions, whose pictorial elements have migrated across paper. Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980-2008 will explore the relationship between these recent works, which court accident through the use of procedures with unpredictable results.

Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980-2008 will include Kuitca’s canvas Mozart-Da Ponte VI, 1996, from Miami Art Museum’s permanent collection, as well as two works included in the 2007 Venice Biennale, Desenlace I, 2006, and Desenlace IV, 2007.

Miami Art Museum
101 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL 33130

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