Liliana Porter creates surreal compositions that interrogate the boundaries between reality and representation. Her ongoing practice spans more than six decades and encompasses printmaking, photography, painting, installation, video, and theater. Porter consistently draws from an eccentric cast of toys, miniature figures—including the likenesses of Mickey Mouse, Elvis Presley, Che Guevara, and Jesus Christ—and other objects to create theatrical vignettes that invite existential meditations on the human experience.
Liliana Porter: Actualidades / Breaking News will feature a video and a small selection of photographs by the artist that explore the news as a stage in which politics, spectacle, and everyday life collide. The video uses the structure of the newspaper through transitional headings, such as “Arts and Leisure,” “Fashion and Style,” and “World News,” and a dramatic score to string together “situations” that are humorous, tragic, or even banal. The disparate vignettes, staged in otherwise nondescript settings, break with ideas of linear time and narrative, offering disjoined scenarios that resonate with the dramas and absurdities of human life across history and geography.
This exhibition—the artist’s first solo presentation at a museum on the West Coast—provides a focused examination of Porter’s expansive conceptual practice, highlighting her skilled evocation of poignant philosophical and political questions through otherwise simple gestures and miniature objects.
Liliana Porter was born in 1941 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and studied at the National School of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires from 1954 to 1958, and at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, from 1958 to 1961. She moved to New York in 1964 and in 1965 founded the New York Graphic Workshop with fellow artists Luis Camnitzer and José Guillermo Castillo, producing prints while redefining conventional models for making and distributing art. Select solo exhibitions include the Museo Caraffa, Cordoba, Argentina; Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Museo Tamayo, Mexico City. Her work is in numerous public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires; Museum of Fine Art, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San José Museum of Art; Smithsonian Museum of American Art; Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zurich; Tate Modern, London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Porter lives and works in New York.
Liliana Porter: Actualidades / Breaking News is supported by the SJMA Exhibitions Fund, with major support from Elizabeth and Byron Ryono.
Operations and programs at the San José Museum of Art are made possible by lead support from SJMA’s Board of Trustees, a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San José, the Lipman Family+ Foundation, the Adobe Foundation, the Richard A. Karp Charitable Foundation, Sally Lucas, Yvonne and Mike Nevens, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Skyline Foundation, the Knight Foundation, Brook Hartzell and Tad Freese, the SJMA Director's Council and Council of 100, the San José Museum of Art Endowment Fund established by the Knight Foundation at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.
Patricia Albers on Liliana Porter, Squarecylinder
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