Art & Artists (New York, NY). -- Vol.12, no. 3 (Feb. 1983)
The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This is the transcript of an interview between Eva Cockcroft, writer of the journal Art & Artists, and Juan Sanchez—Nuyorican artist and curator of the exhibition Ritual and Rhythm: Visual Forces For Survival (1982)—as well as a couple of the show’s featured artists: Ana Mendieta and Willie Birch. Sanchez outlines the scope of the exhibition as striving to address and articulate artistically the issue of daily survival in the face of oppressive forces. In the interview, Sanchez discusses the setting for the exhibition in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a poor mainly African-American and Latino neighborhood, and his conscious attempt to bring art to an overlooked and culturally underserved area of New York City. Along with Mendieta and Birch, the artist addresses such topics as the power of the political image, making transcendental art by returning to one’s roots, as well as the importance of creating art that connects the viewer to others as a means toward the common goal of achieving freedom for everyone.
A writer, art historian and artist, Eva Cockcroft (1937-99) wrote extensively about progressive art movements for social change, especially muralist art. Cockcroft conducted this interview for Art & Artists (formerly Art Workers News), whose demographics between 1971 and 1989 were working artists. In the interview, she explores the concepts informing the Ritual and Rhythm show, both from a curatorial and artistic standpoint. The exhibition curator, Juan Sanchez, is a Nuyorican artist and writer dedicated to creating and promoting political art. As he explains, the exhibition was an expansion of a previous one he curated on political artists (Beyond Aesthetics) that focused on the negative aspects of societal oppression. With Ritual and Rhythm, he chose artists that utilized their culture as a means of resistance and affirmation. This exhibition was unique, not only in its intended Latino and African-American audience, but also as one of the earliest exhibitions to include artists from many different ethnic backgrounds. Also noteworthy are Mendieta’s answers to Cockcroft’s questions, which provide valuable insight on her art making during this point in her career.