LUIS CAMNITZER

The Instrument and Its Work

source: bombsite

A bio of Luis Camnitzer, repeated numerous times in press releases for various projects, states, “Luis Camnitzer was born in Germany in 1937, grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay, and has lived and worked in New York since 1964. He has made his mark internationally not only as an artist but as a critic, educator and art theorist as well. Formally allied with the American Conceptualists of the 1960s and ’70s, over the past 50 years Camnitzer has developed an essentially autonomous oeuvre, unmistakably distinguished from that of his colleagues in the US.” In spite of sharing his North American counterparts’ interest in language, Camnitzer is not necessarily allied with them formally, as his use of printmaking and other manual processes indicates. He is, however, very much in dialogue with them, being both a product and an instigator of some of the main aesthetic and political changes of the time.
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source: alexandergray

Luis Camnitzer (b.1937) is a German-born Uruguayan artist and writer who moved to New York in 1964. He was at the van guard of 1960s Conceptualism, working primarily in printmaking, sculpture, and installations. Camnitzer’s artwork explores subjects such as social injustice, repression, and institutional critique. His humorous, biting, and often politically charged use of language as art medium has distinguished his practice for over four decades.

From the 1964 to 1970 he co-founded The New York Graphic Workshop, along with fellow artists Argentine Liliana Porter and Venezuelan Guillermo Castillo (1941–1999). Together they examined the conceptual meaning behind printmaking, and sought to test and expand the definition of the medium. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Camnitzer developed a body of work that explored language as primary medium, shifting from printing text on paper or walls, such as his Dictionary etchings and the room-size installation Living Room (both 1969). As his interest in language unfolded, so did his aim to identify socio-political problems through his art. Camnitzer responded in great part to the growing wave of Latin American military regimes taking root in the late ’60s, but his work also points to the dynamic political landscape of his adopted country, the United States.

During the 1970s he created a key body of work that blended both language and humor, producing a series of object-boxes that placed ordinary items within wood-framed glass boxes with text printed on brass plaques. In all cases, the printed sentences are also the works’ titles. In many ways, these boxes anticipate one of Camnitzer’s most important works, the Uruguayan Torture Series (1983–84). This photo-etching series epitomizes Camnitzer’s ability to question the social and political roles of an individual in society, while also examining a dimension of human psychology by pairing images and text to create new meaning.

Though Camnitzer never left New York, his practice remains intrinsically connected to his homeland and the whole of Latin America. This consistent dedication cements his place as a key figure in shaping debates around ideas of post-Colonialism, Conceptualism, and pedagogy.

His work has been shown in noted exhibitions and institutions since the 1960s, including individual shows at The Kitchen and El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY; List Visual Arts Center at M.I.T., Cambridge, MA; and Museo Carillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico. Retrospectives of his work have been presented at Lehman College Art Gallery in the Bronx, NY; Kunsthalle Kiel, Germany; as well as at the Daros Museum in Zurich, Switzerland, El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY; and Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Bogotá, Colombia. His work has appeared in numerous group exhibitions, including Mail Exhibition at the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina (1969); the seminal Information show at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (1970); Dia Foundation, New York, NY; Beyond Geometry at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA (2005); among others.

Additionally, he has been featured in several international biennials, including the Bienal de la Havana, Cuba; Whitney Biennial, and Documenta 11. Camnitzer’s work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the TATE, London, UK; and Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Argentina (MALBA), among others. He was the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowships on two occasions, 1961 and 1982. A highly regarded critic and curator, Camnitzer is a frequent contributor to contemporary art magazines. He has authored the publications New Art of Cuba (University of Texas Press: 1994, 2003), Conceptualism in Latin American Art: Didactics of Liberation (University of Texas Press: 2007), and Didáctica de la liberación: Arte conceptualista latinoamericano (Fundación Gilberto Álzate Avedaío, IDARTES: 2012). He taught at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury since 1969, and he continues to serve as professor emeritus.
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source: galerie-bastade

Luis Camnitzer ist noch immer ein Geheimtipp im Bereich der konzeptuellen Kunst. Der uruguayische Künstler, der 1937 in Deutschland geboren wurde, in Montevideo aufwuchs und seit 1964 in New York lebt und arbeitet, darf zu den ausserordentlichsten Künstlerpersönlichkeiten der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts gezählt werden. Die Einzelausstellung bietet dem Betrachter mit rund 70 Werken, die von 1966 bis in die Gegenwart reichen, einen profunden Einblick in das Œuvre des Künstlers.
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source: tarlatanagraficablogspot

Luis Camnitzer (6 de noviembre de 1937, Lübeck, Alemania) es un pintor y artista, crítico, docente y teórico uruguayo nacido en Alemania y residente en Estados Unidos desde 1964. Es una figura líder del conceptualismo latinoamericano Sus padres fueron refugiados judíos que huyeron de la Alemania nazi en 1939 a Uruguay. Creció en Montevideo, estudió en la Escuela de Bellas Artes de Uruguay y en la Academia de Munich Recibió la Beca Guggenheim en 1961 y 1982.
Es Professor Emeritus de la State University of New York. Su obra se halla en el Tate Modern, MoMA, y El Museo del Barrio, con retrospectivas en el Bronx (1991), Kunsthalle Kiel (2003), Daros Museum (2010) y El Museo del Barrio (2011). Participó en la Bienal de La Habana (1984, 1986 y 1991), Bienal de Venecia (1988), Bienal del Whitney (2000), Documenta 11 (2002) y la Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Recibió el Premio Konex Mercosur 2002.

Según sus palabras:
… El grabado era un arte secundario, aplicado a reproducir ideas desarrolladas en la pintura y la escultura, y por ende atrapado en dos dimensiones y en el papel. Fue entonces que decidimos que convendría redefinirlo como acto de edición y no de impresión. Con eso nos liberamos de la cocina del grabado y pudimos empezar a pensar en problemas artísticos. Fue eso que nos llevó rápidamente a entrar en estrategias conceptualistas que marcarían el resto de nuestras trayectorias. La experiencia fue increíblemente fructífera, nos criticábamos implacablemente pero con conciencia de ser constructivos.
…La misión del artista es ayudar a que la sociedad sea capaz de crear sin intermediarios

Hoy la diferencia entre un artista y el resto de la sociedad, es la misma que hay entre cualquier productor y los consumidores. Lo que pasa es que el artista (bueno) es un productor muy particular que también actúa de traductor entre el universo y el consumidor. El mercado fue desviando el acento de esa función de traductor y lo fue llevando hacia la producción de objetos. El problema de eso es que la verdadera función del artista, la de empoderar al consumidor para que termine no necesitando una traducción y pueda enfrentarse y dilucidar el universo por sus propios medios, se va alejando cada vez más. Pienso que la misión verdadera del artista es ayudar a que su función deje de ser necesaria para que todo ese “resto de la sociedad” sea capaz de crear sin intermediarios. La misión del artista es lograr dejar de existir como un “otro” y compartir totalmente su especialidad (en términos de profesión y de ser especial).