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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami


A+RC Public Lecture by Javier Téllez – Francisco Valero La Cruz, the Rat Man

Art + Research
Thu, Oct 19, 2023
Virtual Event
Javier Téllez portrait Javier Téllez portrait

The lecture will center on the work of Francisco Valero La Cruz, a Venezuelan artist who is unfortunately still absent in all the historiographies of European and Latin American art. Valero La Cruz who was born in 1933 in Merida, Venezuela, lived in Madrid from 1955 to 1962 and moved afterwards to Paris, where all his traces disappeared. He became known in the sixties for a series of happenings of subversive nature that frequently caused him problems with the authorities, such as his attack with a bag full of live rats to the president of Italy in the XXI Venice Biennale of 1962. The radical nature of the brief but intense work of Valero La Cruz devoted to fervently attacking the principles that sustain the artistic institution precedes what will later be called institutional critique. His sabotages to the art world of his time carried out a scathing critique of the distribution and consumption systems of the artistic object that is still valid today.

About Javier Téllez

Javier Téllez is a New York based artist born in Venezuela. His work reflects a sustained interest in bringing peripheral communities and invisible situations to the fore of contemporary art addressing disabilities and mental illness as marginalizing conditions. Tellez’s projects have often involved working in collaboration with people diagnosed with mental illness to produce film installations that question the notions of the normal and the pathological. 

Téllez has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Thurgau Kunstmuseum, Warth, Switzerland (2022); Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2018); the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester (2018); the Blanton Museum, Austin; the San Francisco Art Institute (2014); Kunsthaus Zürich (2014); SMAK, Ghent (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (2011); Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (2005); and Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City (2004). He has participated in group exhibitions at MoMA PS1, Long Island City; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Castello di Rivoli, Torino; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; ICA, Boston; and Renaissance Society, Chicago, as well as Aichi Triennial (2019); dOCUMENTA, Kassel, Germany (2012); Manifesta, Trento, Italy; Sydney Biennial; and the Whitney Biennial, New York (all 2008); Venice Biennale (2001 and 2003); and Yokohama Triennial (2001). He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1999, and in 2016 the Global Mental Health Award for Innovation in the Arts from Columbia University, New York.