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Rafael Montañez Ortiz describes the assemblages of Marcos Dimas as an extension of the artist’s childhood experience of digging up bits of Taíno artifacts in the fields of Puerto Rico. Ortiz proposes that Dimas’s works are the result of his mining his subconscious, communing with his root culture, and affirming his identity as a modern Puerto Rican artist. Ortiz proposes the term “ethno-aesthetic” to define Dimas’s approach to creating art. Ortiz further claims that all modern art is indebted to the arts of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. He observes that Euro-American artists who regarded native art as primitive or alien were misguided, and praises Dimas for the authenticity of his art.


Rafael Montañez Ortiz was an innovator in the destruction art movement of the 1960s. A member of the Art Workers’ Coalition, an activist group that fought to end racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination in the New York City art milieu, Ortiz founded the community-based Puerto Rican museum, known as El Museo del Barrio, in 1969. Ortiz also collaborated with Marcos Dimas, the founder of the Puerto Rican artist collective, Taller Boricua, in the early-1970s. This untitled essay was published by El Museo del Barrio as an introduction to the exhibition catalogue on the work of Marcos Dimas, entitled The Voyager, held from November 6, 1981 to February 5, 1982. The Voyager is Dimas’s only major retrospective to date.

Yasmin Ramirez
Courtesy of artist R. M. Ortiz, Highland Park, NJ
Archives of Marcos Dimas, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, New York