Current Exhibitions

Marisol: Sculptures and Works on Paper

06/14/2014 - 09/07/2014

No location provided


Marisol: Sculptures and Works on Paper seeks to re-introduce Marisol to critics and the public while re-establishing her as a major figure in postwar American art. She is best known for her large figural sculptures in a wide variety of materials, but also created a significant number of prints and drawings. Marisol rose to fame in the 1960s; since the 1970s, however, her work has been eclipsed by changing tastes in the art world. This exhibition will bring together 34 of Marisol’s most important sculptures and works on paper and will offer a comprehensive scholarly examination of Marisol’s life and career. Among the themes that will be explored are the many different influences on her work; her relationship to postwar art and cultural movements (Pop, Minimalism, and feminism); her experimentation with a variety of materials; her extensive use of portraiture and images of the family; her politically charged sculptures addressing Native Americans, poverty, and the Vietnam War; and her identity as a female artist who was born in Paris of Venezuelan parents and lived most of her life in New York City.  

Her extensive exhibition history is mirrored by equally extensive critical attention; she was routinely written about by such critics as Dore Ashton, Lucy Lippard, and Irving Sandler. In 1962, Sandler wrote of her: “Marisol’s pieces are hilarious and caustic parodies of politics (“The Kennedys”), on society (“Mayflower,” which caricatures the Pilgrims and their descendants as well as a favorite artists’ hangout), on herself (“Self Portrait”), and above all, on art. She generally spoofs that kind of current art which is itself satiric—Neo Dada, Junk School, New Realism—a practice which requires the utmost sophistication. But Marisol carries it off with aplomb.”  

Marisol was immensely popular with the public as well. Her 1964 exhibition at the Stable Gallery drew 2,000 people a day. According to Lawrence Campbell, “Her visitors included not only everyone who counts in the art world, but the kind of people one does not expect to find in an art gallery—mothers with five children, for example. Children are among Marisol’s most loyal fans.” She received important commissions from Time magazine for cover portraits of Hugh Hefner and Bob Hope. In 2006, she was granted a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts from the Women’s Caucus for Art.

Marisol: Sculptures and Works on Paper is organized by the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and curated by Marina Pacini, Chief Curator and Curator of American, Modern, and Contemporary Art at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. A reduced version of the exhibition will travel to El Museo del Barrio in New York City from October 9, 2014 through January 10, 2015.

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Marisol, American (born France, 1930)
mi mama y yo, 1968 
Steel and aluminum  
Collection of the artist
© Marisol Escobar / Licensed by VAGA, New York
Photograph Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery


National Sponsors:
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Henry Luce Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts


Corporate Sponsor:
Raymond James

The Jeniam Foundation

Thomas W. Briggs Foundation, Education Sponsor