MARISOL: Sculptures and Works on Paper

October 9, 2014 – January 10, 2015

The exhibition represents the artist’s first solo show in a New York museum, features 30 works by the artist, and is the first retrospective to include Marisol’s work on paper in conjunction with her sculptures. The exhibition reestablishes Marisol as a major figure in postwar American art, fosters a broader understanding of her work, and positions it within a larger historical context. The various phases of Marisol’s career are explored, beginning with her early carvings, cast metal works, terracottas, large, complex sculptures, and a broad selection of works on paper.

Marisol is best known for her large figural sculptures, which address a variety of subjects pivotally important in the second half of the twentieth century, including women’s social roles, new family dynamics, as well as historical and contemporary figures. Her sculptures, an amalgam of several artistic styles and references, are composed of drawn and painted elements; plaster casts, carved wood and stone, assembled plywood; industrial materials such as neon, Astroturf, and mirrors; and many found objects including clothing, televisions, and baby carriages.

Among the themes explored in the exhibition are Marisol’s many influences (Neo-Dada, Surrealism, American and Latin American folk art, Pre- Columbian art, etc.); her relationship to postwar art and cultural movements (Pop, Minimalism, and Feminism); her experimentation with materials; her extensive use of portraiture; her politically charged sculptures; and her identity as a female artist from an eclectic background.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, co-published between the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and Yale University Press. It will be sold at El Museo’s gift shop, La Tienda.

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What’s Been Said

“We are excited to celebrate the life and work of Marisol Escobar, an icon in American pop art. Marisol is a Venezuelan, born in Paris and living in New York—a museum retrospective survey of her work is long overdue in New York. We thank the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art for organizing this important study of a monumental artist,” – Jorge Daniel Veneciano, Executive Director, El Museo del Barrio

Marisol: Sculptures and Works on Paper brings together significant examples of her art from her witty sculptures to her emotionally charged prints and drawings. Her perceptive portraits of Pablo Picasso and Bishop Desmond Tutu share space with her moving rendering of President Kennedy’s funeral and her imaginative reworking of the nativity. As the exhibition makes plain, Marisol’s work is as complex as it is compelling, and it is especially fitting that it will be on view at El Museo del Barrio.” -Marina Pacini, Chief Curator, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

“This exhibition reminds us of the significance of Marisol, who was always named among the most important American Pop artists of the period. It also illustrates how her work differed from theirs in subject matter and in the materials she used.” – Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Curator, El Museo del Barrio


The Funeral, 1996 / Collection of the artist; Mi Mama y Yo, 1968 / Collection of the artist; The Family, 1969 / Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN