Art folklore has it when artist Marisol (Maria Sol Escobar, b. 1930) was a teenager she admitted self-inflicted acts of penance upon herself. “She walked on her knees until they bled, kept silent for long periods and tied ropes tightly around her waist in emulation of saints and martyrs.” Her Venezuelan father put a stop to that by sending her to New York where she studied with the “dean of Abstract Expressionism” Hans Hofmann. The art world loved her. Her first show, at The Leo Castelli Gallery in 1958, was a great success. She became a regular at the Cedar Tavern with friend Willem de Kooning, and appeared in two Andy Warhol movies (“The Kiss” and “13 Most Beautiful Girls”).
Marisol’s post-war American influences were diverse, and now in her 80s (in her downtown TriBeCa studio) she continues to produce politically charged sculptures addressing the poor and disenfranchised. It’s no wonder the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is showing a comprehensive look at Marisol’s career: Marisol: Sculptures and Works on Paper, June 14-September 8, 2014.
Marisol, The Family, 1969, mixed media: wood, plastic, neon, glass, 88 x 56 x 65 inches, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Commissioned for Brooks Memorial Art Gallery.