|Birth Day:||November 18, 1948|
|Death Date:||Sep 8, 1985 (age 36)|
As per our current Database, Ana Mendieta died on Sep 8, 1985 (age 36).
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She earned her B.A., M.A., and M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. She was taught by the famed Hans Breder.
Mendieta was born on November 18, 1948, in Havana, Cuba, to a wealthy family prominent in the country's politics and society. Her father Ignacio Alberto Mendieta de Lizáur was an attorney and nephew of Carlos Mendieta, who was installed as president by Fulgencio Batista for just under two years; her mother, Raquel Oti de Rojas, was a chemist, researcher, and granddaughter of Carlos Maria de Rojas, a sugar mill owner celebrated for his role in the war against Spain for Cuban independence. Ana, aged 12, and her 15-year-old sister Raquelin were sent to the United States by their parents to live in Dubuque, Iowa through Operation Peter Pan, a collaborative program run by the US government and the Catholic Charities. Mendieta and her sister Raquelin were among 14,000 children who immigrated to the United States through this program in 1961. Mendieta's first two years in the United States consisted of constant alternation from foster homes and orphanages. The sisters were able to stay together during this time due to a power of attorney signed by their parents mandating that they not be separated. Mendieta and her sister spent their first weeks in refugee camps before moving between several institutions and foster homes throughout Iowa. In 1966, Mendieta was reunited with her mother and younger brother; her father joined them in 1979, having spent 18 years in a political prison in Cuba for his involvement in the Bay of Pigs invasion.
When she began her Silueta Series in the 1970s, Mendieta was one of many artists experimenting with the emerging genres of land art, body art, and performance art. The films and photographs of Siluetas are in connection with the figures surrounding her body. Mendieta was possibly the first to combine these genres in what she called "earth-body" sculptures. She often used her naked body to explore and connect with the Earth, as seen in her piece Imagen de Yagul, from the series Silueta Works in Mexico 1973–1977. Mendieta's first use of blood to make art dates from 1972, when she performed Untitled (Death of a Chicken), for which she stood naked in front of a white wall holding a freshly decapitated chicken by its feet as its blood spattered her naked body. Appalled by the brutal rape and murder of nursing student Sarah Ann Ottens at the University of Iowa, Mendieta smeared herself with blood and had herself tied to a table in 1973, inviting an audience in to bear witness in Untitled (Rape Scene). Professor and art historian Kaira Cabañas writes about Untitled (Rape Scene):
In 1978, Ana Mendieta joined the Artists In Residence Inc (A.I.R. Gallery) in New York, which was the first gallery for women to be established in the United States. The venture allowed the opportunity for Mendieta to network with other women artists at the forefront of the era's feminist movement. During that time, Mendieta was also actively involved in the administration and maintenance of the A.I.R. In an unpublished statement, Mendieta noted that "It is crucial for me to be a part of all my art works. As a result of my participation, my vision becomes a reality and part of my experiences." At the same time, after two years of her involvement at A.I.R. she concluded that "American Feminism as it stands is basically a white middle class movement", and sought to challenge the limits of this perspective through her art. She met her future husband Carl Andre at the gallery when he served on a panel titled "How has women's art practices affected male artist social attitudes?" Her resignation in 1982 is attributed, in part, to a dispute instigated by Andre over a collaborative art piece the couple had submitted. In a 2001 journal article, Kat Griefen, director of A.I.R from 2006 to 2011, wrote,
Mendieta presented a solo exhibition of her photographs at A.I.R. Gallery in New York in 1979. She also curated and wrote the introductory catalog essay for an exhibition at A.I.R. in 1981 entitled Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States, which featured the work of artists such as Judy Baca, Senga Nengudi, Howardena Pindell, and Zarina. The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York hosted Mendieta's first survey exhibition in 1987. Since her death, Mendieta has been recognized with international solo museum retrospectives such as "Ana Mendieta", Art Institute of Chicago (2011); and "Ana Mendieta in Context: Public and Private Work", De La Cruz Collection, Miami (2012). In 2004 the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., organized "Earth Body, Sculpture and Performance", a major retrospective that travelled to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, and Miami Art Museum, Florida (2004).
Body Tracks (Rastros Corporales) debuted on April 8, 1982, in Franklin Furnace in New York City. The tracks are long, blurry marks made by Mendieta on a large piece of white paper attached to a wall. While recordings of the sacred music of Afro-Cuban Santeria are heard, Mendieta dipped her hands and forearms into a mixture of tempura paint and animal blood, pressed her hands and arms firmly to its surface and slid down towards the floor.
In 1983, Mendieta was awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. While in residence in Rome, Mendieta began creating art "objects", including drawings and sculptures. She continued to use natural elements in her work.
Mendieta had completed five photo-etchings of the Rupestrian Sculptures before she died in 1985. The book Ana Mendieta: A Book of Works, published in 1993, contains both photographs of the sculptures as well as Mendieta's notes on the project.
Ana Mendieta died on September 8, 1985, in New York City, after falling from her 34th-floor apartment in Greenwich Village at 300 Mercer Street, where she lived with her husband of eight months, minimalist sculptor Carl Andre, who may have pushed her out of the window. She fell 33 stories onto the roof of a deli. Just prior to her death, neighbors heard the couple arguing violently. There were no eyewitnesses to the events that led up to Mendieta's death. A recording of Andre's 911 call showed him saying: "My wife is an artist, and I'm an artist, and we had a quarrel about the fact that I was more, eh, exposed to the public than she was. And she went to the bedroom, and I went after her, and she went out the window." In 1988, Andre was tried and acquitted of her murder. During three years of legal proceedings, Andre's lawyer described Mendieta's death as a possible accident or suicide. The judge found Andre not guilty on grounds of reasonable doubt.
The performance was documented in the 1987 film Ana Mendieta: Fuego de Tierra, and described by scholar Alexandra Gonzenbach:
The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC, and family members found several films after her death while looking for work to be included in a retrospective at the New Museum in 1987. In 2016, more films were uncovered and digitized in anticipation of a documentary directed by the artist's niece, Raquel Cecilia Mendieta. As of 2019, that film, Rebel By Nature, is in post-production.
In 2009, Mendieta was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Cintas Foundation. Ana Mendieta's estate is currently managed by the Galerie Lelong in New York City. The estate is also represented by Alison Jacques Gallery, London. In 2018, The New York Times published a belated obituary for her that began, "Mendieta's art, sometimes violent, often unapologetically feminist and usually raw, left an indelible mark before her life was cut short." In 2010 she was the subject of Richard Move's controversial Where is Ana Mendieta? 25 Years Later - An Exhibition and Symposium, which included his film, BloodWork - The Ana Mendieta Story.
The acquittal caused an uproar among feminists in the art world, and remains controversial to this day. In 2010, a symposium called Where Is Ana Mendieta? was held at New York University to commemorate the 25th anniversary of her death. In May 2014, the feminist protest group No Wave Performance Task Force staged a protest in front of the Dia Art Foundation's retrospective on Carl Andre. The group deposited piles of animal blood and guts in front of the establishment, with protesters donning transparent tracksuits with "I Wish Ana Mendieta Was Still Alive" written on them. In March 2015, the No Wave Performance Task Force and a group of feminist poets from New York City traveled to Beacon, New York, to protest the Andre retrospective at Dia:Beacon, where they cried loudly in the main gallery, made "siluetas" in the snow on museum grounds, and stained the snow with paprika, sprinkles, and fake blood. In April 2017, protesters at an Andre retrospective handed out cards at the Geffen Contemporary with the statement: "Carl Andre is at MOCA Geffen. ¿Dónde está Ana Mendieta?" (Where is Ana Mendieta?). This was followed by an open letter to MOCA Director Philippe Vergne protesting the exhibit from the group the Association of Hysteric Curators.
Currently, Ana Mendieta is 72 years, 11 months and 7 days old. Ana Mendieta will celebrate 73rd birthday on a Thursday 18th of November 2021.
Find out about Ana Mendieta birthday activities in timeline view here.