Marisol is best known for her large figural sculptures that address a variety of subjects, including women’s roles, families, and historical and contemporary figures.
An amalgam of artistic references and styles, her sculptures are composed of such varied materials as carved wood and stone; assembled plywood components; found objects such as clothing, televisions, and baby carriages; industrial materials such as neon, Astroturf, and mirrors; plaster casts; and drawn and painted elements.
2,000 people a day can't be wrong
Recognition came swiftly to Marisol. She was included in important exhibitions such as the Museum of Modern Art's landmark exhibition The Art of Assemblage in 1961. One year later, Marisol's exhibition at the Stable Gallery established her as a major figure in post-war contemporary art. New York Post critic Irving Sandler lauded the show as "one of the most remarkable shows to be seen this season." Well-received by critics, Marisol was immensely popular with the public as well. In 1964, her second solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery drew over 2,000 people a day.
As enigmatic as Andy Warhol
In the '60s and '70s art scene, Marisol was truly an icon. She was the "Latin Garbo" to readers of Vogue, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan; she topped Life magazine's “Red-Hot Hundred” list, and she starred in Andy Warhol's 13 Most Beautiful Women and The Kiss. Marisol and Warhol were also close friends and frequently made the rounds of openings and parties together. Inspired by Warhol's public persona, which peaked curiosity about his art, Marisol took cues to develop one of her own. His "idiot savant" was the perfect foil for her chic, Audrey Hepburnesque sophistication.
A mélange defying classification
With all her success, fame, and intrigue, it is a wonder Marisol is not more widely known today. One reason may be found in her body of work, "a mélange defying classification," according to art critic Irving Sandler, and history does not readily recall what cannot be classified. Fittingly, identity itself has long been a theme in Marisol's work. She cast herself in her art–literally and figuratively–her hands and face in plaster, her face in a photograph, as a model for a drawing. In addition to this being practical, Marisol was using her image to explore identities, “trying to figure out what she looked like,” hoping the work would speak for itself, and her as well.
Memphis Meets Marisol
“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.” – Lawrence Campbell
To honor the diverse audience Marisol's work has engaged, and in keeping with the museum mission of enriching lives through the power of art, several community exhibitions, Brooks + collaborations, and museum programs happened throughout the summer in conjunction with the artist's first major retrospective, Marisol: Sculptures and Works on Paper.