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.
In this statement, artist Raphael Montañez Ortiz describes the process by which he created Archaeological Find, Number 9. Through a ritualistically-prescribed series of destruction sessions, Ortiz recounts how he ripped the sofa apart, thus “releasing it to its less spurious materiality.” After coating the remnants in multiple coats of glue and mounting them on plywood, Ortiz inspected the work to determine how it would hang as a wall piece.
Raphael Montañez Ortiz wrote this artist statement for the exhibition catalogue of the Raphael Montañez Ortiz: Early Deconstruction, 1957-67 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1996. Presented as part of the Whitney’s ongoing “Collection in Context” series, the show featured Archaeological Find, Number 9, an artwork purchased from Ortiz that was included in the Whitney’s Young Americans exhibition (1965). His brief statement not only provides valuable insight into Ortiz’s aesthetic framework, but also brings to the fore thorough information on the creation of this specific artwork from his Archaeological Find series. As one of the seminal figures of the international avant-garde, Ortiz was one of only two U.S. representatives for the Destruction InArt Symposium (DIAS) in London in 1966; the other artist was Yoko Ono. In 1969, Ortiz was the founding father of New York’s El Museo del Barrio and from that point on he ceased to be recognized within the mainstream art milieu and became primarily known as a “Puerto Rican artist.” This artist statement attests to Ortiz’s avant-vanguard role of making innovative contributions in areas that had not yet been codified as “art” genres.