Marisol: A Retrospective

July 2024–January 2025

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

Marisol: A Retrospective Will Be Touring at the Following Locations: 

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, October 7, 2023–January 21, 2024
Toledo Museum of Art, March–June 2024
Dallas Museum of Art, early- to mid-2025

The exhibition will be on view at the Buffalo AKG Art Museum from July 2024 to January 2025.

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.”

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 was realized with the support and important contributions of Julia Vázquez, former Curatorial Fellow at the Buffalo AKG. It largely draws on the collection of artworks Marisol kept in her personal possession and left to the Buffalo AKG upon her death, in a historic and transformative bequest. It will travel to museums across North America from 2023 through 2025, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, October 7, 2023–January 21, 2024; the Toledo Museum of Art, March–June 2024; the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, July 2024–January 2025; and the Dallas Museum of Art in early- to mid- 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, paint acrylic, and glass eyes, 68 1/4 x 28 x 33 1/4 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.

About the Catalogue

To accompany the exhibition, the Buffalo AKG and DelMonico Books will copublish the most comprehensive catalogue yet dedicated to Marisol, in which assessments by leading scholars will affirm Marisol’s radical legacy for the twenty-first century. The catalogue will include 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 feature 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.

Exhibition 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.