Julia P. Herzberg is an art historian, independent curator, and Fulbright Senior Specialist living in New York. She completed her Ph.D. in art history at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, in 1998, with a dissertation on Cuban artist Ana Mendieta. She specializes on Latin American artists living in the United States, and has curated more than twenty-five exhibitions. Herzberg was a co-curator of The Decade Show (1990), held in New York at the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, the New Museum, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, and she was the curator of the official US representation for the III Bienal Internacional de Pintura in Cuenca, Ecuador (1991). In addition to being a consulting curator at El Museo del Barrio in New York (1996–2001), she curated American pavilions at the 2003, 2006, and 2009 Bienales de La Habana, and she is a contributing and consulting editor for Arte al día Internacional. Herzberg has taught, lectured, and published extensively in the United States and abroad and received two J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board awards: one at the Pontificia Universidad Católica (2007) and another at the Universidad Diego Portales (2013), both in Santiago, Chile, and also served as visiting professor at the Instituto de Arte, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile (2016).
This group exhibition took place in 1993 at the Center for Latino Art and Culture at Rutgers University, New Jersey. It included art from the late 1970s to the early 1990s that responded to the Escena de Avanzada—a political and conceptual art movement that emerged in the 1970s during the Pinochet dictatorship to subvert the regime’s censorship. Its members included artists Eugenio Dittborn, Diamela Eltit, Carlos Leppe, Raúl Zurita, and French-born Chilean cultural theorist Nelly Richard (b. 1948), a key mentor in shaping the movement.
Twelve artists, most of them Santiago-based, were included in the exhibition. Lotty Rosenfeld (1943–2020) was well known for her public art interventions in which she manipulated road markings and traffic signs as politicized acts. Francisco Brugnoli (b. 1935) created installations responding to the sense of urgency/emergency he felt under the military dictatorship. His wife, Paz Errázuriz (b. 1944), took stark photographs of transgender male prostitutes and other marginalized figures. Juan Pablo Langlois Vicuña (1936–2019) drew on pop culture in his mixed-media works that addressed contemporary subjects with biting sarcasm. Claudio Bertoni (b. 1946) made installations comprising hundreds of old shoes, which expressed a sense of poetic loss, especially poignant in light of missing activists. Eduardo Garreaud (b. 1942) depicted well-known pop figures in his Neoexpressionist paintings. Carlos Altamirano (b. 1954), first associated with the Avanzada, later made large-scale printed, painted, and collaged images portraying barbed wire and mass graves. Gonzalo Díaz (b. 1947) addressed Chile’s cultural landscape by depicting his countrymen. The Catalonian painter Roser Bru (b. 1923) contended with persecution and loss in her neo-figurative paintings on the Holocaust and Chile’s missing individuals. Enrique Zamudio (b. 1955), not associated with the Avanzada generation, created a series following the 1988 plebiscite depicting former presidents in a hybrid style (combining photography and printmaking). Arturo Duclos (b. 1959) made installations and interventions in public spaces stemming from the Avanzada’s conceptual approaches. Lastly, Nancy Gewölbe (b. 1939) created installations infused with coded autobiographical references. This essay was the first to address the metaphors used by the Chilean artists of different generations who used various media to express their resistance to Pinochet’s regime. Most of them (i.e., Rosenfeld, Errázuriz, and Bru) had never been shown in the United States, nor had they been written about at the time.