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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami

Javier Téllez – Theatre of cruelty: Barrio, Carnevale, Clark, Meireles, and Valero La Cruz

Oct 10 – 25, 2023
Fall Semester 2023: Global Conceptual Art
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Javier Téllez portrait

The seminar Theatre of Cruelty will explore the radical art practices of five Latin American artists focusing on single projects that each made during the tumultuous decades of the 1960’s and 1970’s: Francisco Valero La Cruz, Untitled action for the XXI Venice Biennale, 1962; Graciela Carnevale, Acción del encierro (Lock-up action), 1968; Artur Barrio, Situation SituaçaoT/T1 (Situation T/T1), 1970; Lygia Clark, Baba antropofágica (Cannibalistic Slobber), 1973; and Cildo Meireles, O Sermâo da Montanha: Fiat Lux (The Sermon on the Mount: Fiat Lux), 1973-1979. 

We will use Antonin Artaud’s book, The Theatre and Its Double to research the theatrical nature of these works and the transgressive impulse that seems to characterize them, while reviewing selected texts by critics and historians that offer different readings to these works, situating them in the specific contexts in which they were produced. 

The goal of the seminar is to study how these artists who engaged politically and aesthetically in alternative practices did subvert normative discourses and attacked the art establishment during oppressive times, creating a new paradigm of theatricality that proposed the dissolution of the barriers between the spectator and the spectacle, calling for a full involvement of the viewer (whether voluntary or not), that seems to echo Artaud’s radical aspirations for a “theater of cruelty”.

  • Seminar 1: Discussion on Graciela Carnevale, Acción del encierro (Lock-up action), 1968 and Discussion on O Sermâo da Montanha: Fiat Lux (The Sermon on the Mount: Fiat Lux), 1973-1979.

    Mon, Oct 16, 2023
    6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
  • Seminar 2: Lygia Clark, Baba antropofágica (Cannibalistic Slobber), 1973.

    Tue, Oct 17, 2023
    6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
  • Seminar 3: Discussion on Artur Barrio, Situation SituaçaoT/T1 (Situation T/T1), 1970.

    Wed, Oct 18, 2023
    6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
  • Public Lecture: Francisco Valero La Cruz, the Rat Man.

    Thu, Oct 19, 2023
    7:00 pm
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.

Seminar Readings
  • Antonin Artaud, Theater and Its Double, trans. Mary Caroline Richards. New York: Grove Press, 1958.

  • Carnevale, Graciela.”Project for the Experimental Art Series, Rosario, 1968″. Participation, edited by Claire Bishop. London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006. 117–19.

  • Cildo Meireles “O Sermâo da Montanha: Fiat Lux (The Sermon on the Mount: Fiat Lux), 1973-1979”, and Guy Brett, “Let there be light”. Cildo Meireles. London: Tate, 2008. 84-89

  • Suely Rolnik. “Molding a Contemporary Soul: The Empty-Full of Lygia Clark”, in: eds Rina Carvajal; Alma Ruiz. The Experimental Exercise of Freedom: Lygia Clark, Gego, Mathias Goeritz, Hélio Oiticica and Mira Schendel. Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art, 1999. 55-108.

  • Claudia Calirman, A New Visual Aesthetics, Artur Barrio, Brazilian Art under Dictatorship: Antonio Manuel, Artur Barrio, and Cildo Meireles. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2012. 79-113.

Oct 10 – 25, 2023
Fall Semester 2023: Global Conceptual Art
Learn More