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Luis Camnitzer and Selby Hickey at CMCArts

Jan. 23, 2008 — CMCArts is proud to announce an exhibition featuring the work of internationally acclaimed artists and scholars Luis Camnitzer and Selby Hickey. The two-person show will feature a series of 20 digital photos by each artist and will be open with a reception at CMCArts on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m.
Camnitzer, one of the Latin America’s foremost conceptual artists and award-winning curator and author, engages us with a series of minimal yet symbolic images. His artwork is not purely spectacle but about ideas. Known for his groundbreaking work tackling such difficult issues as oppression, torture and state-enforced police brutality, Camnitzer does not shy away from the political. This work however, is seemingly less political than some of his earlier well-known and acclaimed series, and much more subliminal in its approach.
Camnitzer’s digital prints, mostly taken from his series entitled “Serie de los papelitos” (Series of the little papers), are comprised of several photos of what looks like paper torn out from a classroom notebook, some crumbled up, others folded origami-style, featuring such words as “Paisaje” (Landscape) and “Proyecto” (Project) scribbled in Spanish. In these simple yet stunning images he plays with our perceived notions of a given word and its meaning. Beguilingly simple, his works encompass multiple layers of interpretation.
Camnitzer is a master at subverting the viewer into making his or her own realizations and discoveries. Like any great social artist, he understands the transformative experience of art to inspire change, even if that change is just in the individual viewer’s perception. Camnitzer in his own words, describes this series of works as being about “empowerment, not only by not overtly making declarative messages but hoping that things click in the viewer so that the viewer feels not like a consumer, but like a creator, or at least like a potential creator.”
The photography of Selby Hickey taken over the period of 2004-07 records “anonymous events” from her travels spanning from Spain and Italy to Argentina, Costa Rica and New York. Unlike your regular touristic photos that document the place, Selby masterfully draws attention to the line, texture, form and beauty of the object at hand. According to Selby, these found images are meant to “focus attention on the unexpected and then to offer that to the viewer as a suggestion.”
Selby is an accomplished former professor of political science and academic administrator at SUNY-Old Westbury. Selby Hickey earned a doctorate in political science and African studies from Boston University and spent 30 years in higher education. She has worked with photography for much of her career, but it wasn’t until her retirement from teaching in 2000 that she could give serious attention to her chosen medium. Selby had her first solo show, “Dipticos,” in October 2005 at the Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires, and a second solo show at the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at SUNY-Old Westbury in March 2006. Three of her works were reproduced as boxed sets of photo-etchings by Arte y Naturaleza in Madrid. Selby’s photo interpretation of Heinrich Heine’s “The Rabbi of Bacherach,” recently exhibited by Liesl and Johannes Metten in Bacherach, Germany, in July 2006. The work will be on sale at the exhibit.
Luis Camnitzer was born in Germany in 1937 and immigrated to Uraguay in 1939. He graduated in sculpture at the National School of Fine Arts, University of the Republic, Uruguay. In addition, he studied sculpture and printmaking at the Academy of Visual Arts in Munich. He was a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1961 and 1982. In 1998 he received the annual award of the Latin American art critic award and in 2002 he received the Konex MERCOSUR award. He has been living in NY since 1964. He is a Professor Emeritus of Art at SUNY Old Westbury. He served as viewing program curator at the Drawing Center in New York City from 1999 to 2006.
Camnitzer has published New Art of Cuba, 1994, 2004 and more recently Conceptualism in Latin American Art: Didactics of Liberation, both published by the University of Texas Press. His work is in numerous private and public permanent collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of Art, New York; Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires; Museo de Bellas Arts, Caracas; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Sao Paulo, Brazil; the Museum of Malmo, Sweden; and Yeshiva University, New York.
Accompanying the exhibition will be an educational program including a series of three artist lectures, the first one commencing on Sunday, Feb. 3, at 2 p.m. This event will consist of a meet-and-greet for VIPs, members of the Collectors' Circle, and artists/photographers. Teachers are encouraged to please bring their advanced art students for a class tour on Wednesday, Feb. 6, and to call to schedule an appointment. In addition, the artist will be available to offer critiques for those interested artists on Thursday, Feb. 7. This exhibition project is jointly supported by a grant from the V.I. Council for the Arts and V.I. Humanities Council for the Arts. For more information, please feel free to contact CMCArts at 772-2622, or Monica Marin at St. Croix Country Day School at 778-1974.

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