"Out of the Window and Through the Panels: Violence, Trauma and the Grotesque in the Comic Biography Who is Ana Mendieta?"

black and white poster with skeleton and girl in bottom corner

Dr Jennifer Caroccio Maldonado (Rutgers University)

Thursday 18 February, 5pm GMT

In the comic biography Who is Ana Mendieta? (2011), art critic and writer Christine Redfern and artist and illustrator Caro Caron use the graphic medium to adapt the life and art of Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta to raise questions about the circumstances that led to her early death. They examine the ways that Mendieta’s art, which dealt with the symbolic and quotidian, reflected her experience as an exile of Cuba; a woman in a male dominated field; and a person of color in the United States. Who is Ana Mendieta? does not seek to answer its title’s question; rather, as Lucy Lippard asserts in the introduction, “it is a diatribe against violence against women.” The official story is that in 1985 Cuban-American sculptor Ana Mendieta went out a window in New York City. While many feminist scholars and activists believe she was murdered by her husband Carl Andre, he was never convicted of any crime. In paper I argue Who Is Ana Mendieta? presents a counter narrative that challenges the dominant historical telling of Mendieta’s death and places her as an artist within the larger pattern of men’s violence against women in the world of art and literature.

 

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