Luis Camnitzer

(b. 1937)

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(1937– )

Uruguayan artist and writer. Born in Lübeck, Germany, he emigrated to Uruguay in 1939. He now lives and works in New York. His work, which comes out of Conceptual art, is highly political and makes continuous reference to torture and repression in his home country. Leftovers (1970, Tate) is a stack of bandaged bloodstained boxes and refers to the violent events of the period in Uruguay when martial law was imposed after a series of labour disputes. A series of photographic works of 1983, Uruguayan Torture (University of Texas, Austin), refers elliptically to the subject implied by the title: for instance a glass of water stands for fear of thirst, as though to indicate that the horror of torture lies not just in physical pain, but in its power to induce fear in everybody. Camnitzer stresses the ethical role of the artist. He stated in 1987: ‘In order to survive ethically we need a political awareness that helps us understand our environment and develop strategies for our actions. Art becomes the instrument of our choice to implement these strategies’ (New Art Examiner, June 1987). He has been a prolific writer on art, discussing the work of other political artists including Jimmie Durham and Ana Mendieta. He is also the author of works on art history, The New Art of Cuba (2003) and Conceptualism in Latin American Art (2007).

http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/vpadvance/artgallery/gallery/luis_camnitzer/index.htm Website of Lehman Gallery retrospective Camnitzer exhibition.

Subjects: Art — United States History.

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