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Marisol: A Retrospective

Friday, July 12, 2024Monday, January 6, 2025

Harry Mattison (American, born 1948). Portrait of Marisol, December 1976. Photographic print. 11 x 14 inches (35.6 x 27.9 cm). © Harry Mattison. Digital Image: Courtesy of Bill Katz

Gundlach Building
Floor 3

Marisol (Venezuelan and American, born France, 1930–2016) remains perhaps the most intriguing and least understood artist associated with Pop Art. Born María Sol Escobar in Paris to a Venezuelan family, by the mid-1960s Marisol had been lauded as the female artist of her generation proclaimed the “only girl artist with glamour for her fashion sense and the “Latin Garbo” for her apparent exoticism, legendary beauty, and famed silences. Thousands lined up to see her remarkable life-size Pop Art sculptures, but much of the attention would evaporate as her work became more solemn following her retreat from the art world in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her 2016 obituary in the Guardian announced her as “Marisol: the forgotten star of pop art.”
 

A woman in a smock on bent knee paints on the white surface of a sculpture
Marisol retouching The Generals, 1961–62, at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in November 1963. Artwork: Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum. Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1962 (K1962:7). © Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image courtesy of the Buffalo AKG Art Museum Digital Assets Collection and Archives. Photo: Unknown. Digitized by: Amanda Smith, Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Far more than a muse or an icon of a single decade, Marisol created art that in radical ways addressed challenging and urgent issues of the twentieth and now twenty-first centuries. While celebrating her satirical and deceptively political sculptures and self-portraits of the 1960s, the exhibition also assembles, for the first time, lesser-known areas of her practice. In addition to her works about the life of the oceans, are those that engage with hunger, interpersonal violence, and modern gender norms. Her collaborative work with dance companies and her public sculpture, an important area of activity for Marisol from the 1970s onward, will at last receive their proper due. By examining and contextualizing her work over its long arc from the 1950s to the early 2000s, this internationally touring retrospective, the most comprehensive survey of her work ever assembled, demonstrates the extraordinary relevance of Marisol’s unique vision of culture and society.

The exhibition largely draws on the significant collection of artworks Marisol kept in her personal possession and left to the Buffalo AKG upon her death, in a historic and transformative bequest. The exhibition was realized with the support and important contributions of Julia Vázquez, former Curatorial Fellow at the Buffalo AKG.

Marisol: A Retrospective was on view at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, October 7, 2023–January 21, 2024 and the Toledo Museum of Art, March 2–June 2, 2024. After Buffalo, it will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art, February 23–July 6, 2025. 

Marisol (Venezuelan and American, born France, 1930–2016). The Generals, 1961–62. Wood, mixed media, and sound recording, 87 x 28 1/2 x 76 inches (221 x 72.4 x 193 cm). Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum; Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1962 (K1962:7) © Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Marisol (Venezuelan and American, born France, 1930–2016). Baby Girl, 1963. Wood and mixed media, 74 x 35 x 47 inches (188 x 88.9 x 119.4 cm). Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum; Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1964 (K1964:8) © Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Marisol (Venezuelan and American, born France, 1930–2016). Mi Mama Y Yo, 1968. Painted bronze and aluminum pole, 73 x 56 x 56 inches (185.4 x 142.2 x 142.2 cm). Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum; Bequest of Marisol, 2016 (2018:15a-d) © Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Marisol (Venezuelan and American, born France, 1930–2016). The Fishman, 1973. Wood, plaster, acrylic paint, resin, and glass eyes. 68¼ x 28 x 33¼ inches (173.4 x 71.1 x 84.5 cm). Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum. Bequest of Marisol, 2016 (2021:37a–g). © Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Marisol (Venezuelan and American, born France, 1930–2016). Portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe with Dogs, 1977. Graphite and oil on wood 52 5/8 x 53 x 60. inches (133.7 x 134.6 x 154.3 cm). Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum; Bequest of Marisol, 2016 (2021:44a–i) © Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Marisol (Venezuelan and American, born France, 1930–2016) Untitled, ca. 1971–72. Felt-tip pen and colored pencil on typewriting on paper, 22 x 14 inches (55.9 x 35.6 cm). Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum; Bequest of Marisol, 2016 (2021:89) © Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Marisol: A Retrospective is organized by the Buffalo AKG Art Museum and curated by Cathleen Chaffee, Charles Balbach Chief Curator.


 

A book cover with an image of a woman standing amongst wooden sculptures in a blue filter with the word "Marisol" written on the right side in orange fontABOUT THE CATALOGUE

To accompany the exhibition, the Buffalo AKG and DelMonico Books have copublished the most comprehensive catalogue yet dedicated to Marisol, in which assessments by leading scholars affirm Marisol’s radical legacy for the twenty-first century. The catalogue includes new essays by Chaffee and host curators Anna Katherine Brodbeck, Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at Dallas Museum of Art; Mary-Dailey Desmarais, Chief Curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; and Jessica Hong, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Toledo Museum of Art; as well as features new essays by Estrellita Brodsky, Alex Da Corte, Delia Solomons, and Julia Vázquez, and contributions by Jason Hose. These exciting examinations of and reflections on the long arc of Marisol’s career are presented alongside full-color reproductions of the works featured in the retrospective, a robust bibliography, an exhibition history, and an illustrated chronology. The catalogue is now available for purchase in the Shop

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Sponsors

The exhibition is supported by a major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. Critical work related to this exhibition and collection was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Buffalo AKG National Council. Additional support is provided by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. 

The exhibition catalogue was produced with the support of the French American Museum Exchange (FRAME).

Marisol: Works on Paper

A woman with dark hair leaning over a sketchpad and drawing while on the floor

This site is the latest significant resource the museum has developed to further research on Marisol. It offers scholars and members of the public the first ever opportunity to explore every phase of Marisol's artistic practice through her works on paper.

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