Critical Trilogy

a critic's millennial journey

Resurrecting Ana Mendieta…

… 0n the 25th anniversary of her tragic death.


Ana Mendieta's 1978 "Silueta Series"



An altar memorializing Ana Mendieta in the office of the NYU Department of Performance Studies was placed between the windows overlooking the spot on the deli where she fell.



The deli across the street from the NY School of Performing Arts where Mendieta fell in the early morning of October 8, 1985.


September 8, 2010 marked the  25th year anniversary of the fall of Ana Mendieta (1948-1985) from the 34th story of her apartment with Carl Andre, her husband of eight months. She landed on the Delion delicatessen across the street from the NYU Tisch School of Performing Arts on Broadway.

Where is Ana Mendieta? Curated by Richard Move, the exhibition at the NYU Fales Library opened the A.I.R.  (Artist in Residence) Gallery Archive  to the public and screened Move’s new film (in which I was a participant), Bloodwork: The Story of Ana Mendieta.

On October 7, 2010, Move hosted a panel which resurrected her groundbreaking art to bold new interpretations in the 21st century.

It was standing room only. Several people had to be turned away.


Kat Griefen – Director, A.I.R. Gallery spoke the five years in which Mendieta (in white shirt) played an active role in A.I.R.



Genevieve Hyacinthe – Assistant Professor, Purchase College (SUNY) provided a fascinating interpretation of Mendieta's art through the spiritual practice of Santeria



Jose Esteban Munoz – Chair, NYU Department of Performance Studies, spoke about why we are still looking for Ana Mendieta



Carolee Schneemann – Multidisciplinary Artist revealed the parallel path she and Anna were on to give form to the unseen force of the kundalini in the body.



Diana Taylor – University Professor, NYU and Founding Director, Hemispheric Institute spoke about Re-performance: Here she demonstrates how "Abramovic can't let go."


Richard Move, the most avant-garde of New York performance artists, has catalyzed a (r)evolution in the academy.



Richard Move at the reception following the symposium with his longtime collaborator, Janet Stapleton

Ana Mendieta's "Tumbas (Tombs)" 1977


If man can no longer control the female through the body, then it effectively means the death of the patriarchy.  With a grounding in this consciousness, Where is Ana Mendieta? answered its own question by delivering performance art into a new era.

The Kundalini climbing out of exile (the tomb) into an awakening was captured in a spirit collaboration described by Carolee Schneemann in both the film and symposium:


Carolee Schneemann talking about the process of making the art which gave form to a dream sent by Ana.


(Left to Right) A letter sent to Mendieta informing her unpaid dues at A.I.R. and the artist’s response in the form of a brief letter resigning from the collective through the sell of her share.  Beside it, an invitation to  participate in an Earthworks show which would have placed her as an equal among the male artists in a new Land Art movement.  She didn’t live to participate.  

Think of how art history, and the culture, might have evolved if Mendietta had lived!


Ana Mendieta's "Alma Silueta en Fuego (Soul Silhouette on Fire)," 1975 brings the unseen force of the Kundalini into the human form.


But perhaps it was inevitable with an artist who ventured that far out into the unexplored realm of inner space would be creating her own tomb …

She left the family that she created in NYC, the grounding of the A.I.R. collective of female artists and lept into an unconscious marriage with the High Priest of minimalism, Carl Andre.  But her star was ascending as his was on the decline.


"Tree of Life" a 1976 self-portrait by Ana Mendieta captures her image as the ancient love goddess Inanna/Ishtar of the Sacred Marriage Rites


In a more perfect world they might have met in the middle as collaborators of a new vision of equal partnership, ushering in the icon of a new era: the hieros gamos (sacred marriage).


View of where Ana Mendieta landed from her 35th story fall. Carl Andre, who was tried and acquitted of murder, still lives in the same apartment on the top floor of this high rise building across the street from the Tisch School of Performing Arts


It was not to be.  And from where we stood to honor her memory on October 7, you can look right down at the spot she fell.

The transformative love of  Richard Move for the feminine divine has propelled the Kundalini consciousness out of the Underground where she fell and directly into the Ivory Tower!


October 13, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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