The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-supported coup d’etat with art that responds to the landmark event.
New York University’s Gallatin Galleries showcases the work of contemporary Chilean artists living mostly outside of their homeland in Chile: Memory and The Future. Curated by Keith Miller, the exhibition features Marisa Cornejo, Alfredo Jaar, Cristobal Lehyt, Felipe Mujica, Iván Navarro & Courtney Smith, Johanna Unzueta, and Cecilia Vicuña.
Some of the artists were born within a year of the coup and have lived in exile, explained Miller. Several were included in his 2003 exhibition, The Children of 1973/Hijos de ‘73. The exhibition includes multimedia works in video, neon, photography, installation, painting, and textiles. All grapple with political and social issues.
“The thing that unites these artists is their continued engagement with an activist stance toward contemporary politics,” Miller says. “Their work is very much informed by their experience and the historical echoes of the coup. Very often it has a historical memory aspect to it, too.”
Among the exhibition highlights are two pieces from Jaar, who has been making art since the 1970s, including his work, September 11, 1973 (Coke) (1974/1982), a Coca-Cola calendar that references the coup d’etat. A playful video by Vicuña focuses on small objects on a desk to remind viewers of the human cost of conflict. Unzueta will contribute hand-made felt demonstration signs that spotlight issues of labor, housing and education. Navarro and Smith have collaborated on an installation of revolutionary music.
The exhibition is intended to invoke conversations about the impact of the coup and its historical reverberations, as well as the underlying U.S. involvement in it. Chile: Memory and The Future also aspires to help students and the broader university community consider not only the Chilean 1973 coup but to understand its role in the political upheavals in other parts of Latin America and the world, Miller says.
“These historical events have long reverberations,” he says. “But more importantly, while it’s easy for things to feel overwhelming and paralyzing, the arc of history is long and these artists make clear that an individual can and should take action and can bring about change through those actions.”
Chile: Memory and The Future is on view Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1 Washington Pl (and Broadway) in Greenwich Village.
About Gallatin Galleries
Housed in New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, the Gallatin Galleries showcases innovative and immersive work that blends multiple forms of artistic practice with themes that encompass economic, racial, and social justice. Founded in 2008 and curated by Keith Miller, the Galleries are home to complex and compelling displays that integrate video, photography, sound, painting, and sculpture, illuminating the work of both up-and-coming and established artists while reflecting the interdisciplinary academic mission of the Gallatin School. For more information, please visit https://wp.nyu.edu/gallatingalleries/.