PAMM's Beatriz Gonzalez Retrospective Celebrates a Colombian Art Powerhouse

Los papagayos (1987)
Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, gift of Jorge M. Pérez
Los papagayos (1987)
Beatriz González isn't a familiar name for many American art lovers — but it should be. The Colombian artist's career spans more than half a century, challenging power structures in her homeland and earning her a place among Latin America's "radical women" artists. When her new exhibit, “Beatriz González: A Retrospective,” opens at the Peréz Art Museum Miami April 19th, it will be the first large-scale U.S. retrospective of her work, featuring around 150 pieces dating from the early 1960s through the present.

“Beatriz González: A Retrospective” spans six decades of González’s work and research that addresses cultural and political issues specific to Colombia. The exhibition gives a look at a Modern Colombian Art pioneer who displays a unique outlook of the postwar period in Latin America.

“I work with figurative art… This characteristic distinguishes it from other Colombian expressions,” González explains.

Los Predicadores (2000)
Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, museum purchase with funds provided by Jorge M. Pérez
“We are thrilled to present an exhibition by Beatriz González that truly shows the breadth and intensity of her work,” PAMM Chief Curator Tobias Ostrander affirms. “This exhibition underscores PAMM’s mission of presenting artists that reflect our community and speak to the Miami audience. It includes several works from our permanent collection, highlighting PAMM’s interest in not only displaying works by contemporary Latin American artists, but also adding their work to our permanent collection.”

González’s name is synonymous with the global Modern Columbian Art movement, in large party due to her unique, iconoclastic method of appropriating images from Western art history, as well as the commercial printing and mass media outlets of Colombia. She continues to pull from newspaper images and art history items in her recent work as well. In fact, her latest pieces have grown in complexity based on composition as well as the use of collages from various media perspectives and sources.

click to enlarge Beatriz González. Gratia Plena (Tocador) (Full of Grace [Vanity]), 1971. - THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON, MUSEUM PURCHASE FUNDED BY THE 2007 LATIN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE GALA AND AUCTION.
Beatriz González. Gratia Plena (Tocador) (Full of Grace [Vanity]), 1971.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase funded by the 2007 Latin American Experience Gala and Auction.
A couple of highlights from the exhibition are González’s 1965 painting, Los suicidas del Sisga II & III, from a photograph left behind from two lovers who drowned themselves in the Sisga dam to preserve their love, and Los papagayos (1987), which depicts the corrupt leadership of Colombia at that time.

Arranged in a loose chronological order, the exhibition includes González’s most well-known pieces including many not seen outside of Colombia. It unfolds the different stages in González’s creative and intellectual explorations of mass-media images as vehicles for her personal approach and also the representation of key facets of Colombian society and its relationship to Europe and the United States.

“My work clarifies and points out aspects of my country,” explains González.

“Beatriz González: A Retrospective.” Thursday, April 18 to September 1 at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; Admission costs $16 for adults, $12 for students, seniors, and youth ages 7 to 18, and free to members, active U.S. military, and children 6 and under.