Ana Mendieta at the Hirshhorn Museum

A spectacular retrospective of Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta opened last week at the Hirshhorn Museum.

Curated by Olga Viso, Deputy Director of the Hirshhorn, this show for the first time gathers the most comprehensive exhibition of one of the most influential (and lesser known) artists of the 20th century.

In her short tragic life (Mendieta died in her 30s after falling from the 34th floor of a New York City building) she created nearly 100 artist films, plus thousands of other pieces, the most important of which, as well as supporting material, have been included in this retrospective.

Mendieta was a “Pedro Pan child,” and was taken out of Cuba when she was 12 years old as part of the 14,000 kindertransport of Cuban children of the 1960s.

Raised away from her homeland, she nonetheless develop a powerful affinity with Cuba in her last few years, and became the first and only Cuban exile to exhibit both in the US and her native prison island.

This is the best exhibition that I have seen at the Hirshhorn in years, and I am told that Hollywood is now circulating several Mendieta scripts around, so i would not be surprised to see the Mendieta story become a film a-la Frida Kahlo movie.

The exhibition is free and open to the public and will be on until january 2, 2005.

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