Our fifteenth visiting artist was Luis Camnitzer, who gave his lecture about his work over a live video from his studio in New York. Camnitzer is a Uruguayan artist who has lived in the USA since 1964, and is Professor Emeritus of Art at State University of New York. He has an extensive portfolio, with his work being featured in the collections of over forty museums.
Camnitzer is a conceptual artist who focusses on political subjects in his work, including identitity, freedom, ethics, and history. Being a conceptual artist, his work is free of European influences, which is an attractive quality for Latin American artists. Leftovers, 1970, is a great example of this type of conceptual artwork, and it is composed of 200 boxes stacked together to represent that toxic waste shipped from First World to First World countries to be dumped.
Camnitzer has also written publications such as New Art of Cuba (1994) and other works about Latin America and art. He co-organised the landmark exhibition, ‘Global Conceptualisms: Points of Origin, 1950s to 1980s’ at Queens Museum (New York) in 1999. Global Conceptualisms featured work by over 100 artists from different regions, which they were grouped into, such as Japan, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, Africa, South Korea, China, etc. The focus was on exhibiting a wide breadth of conceptual artworks from across the globe in order to challenge other exhibitions that were a lot more conventional and westernised.
Camnitzer has received multiple awards, such as Guggenheim Fellowships for printmaking and visual arts, the Frank Jewitt Mather Award of the College Art Association, the Skowhegan Medal, and the USA Ford Fellow award. Camnitzer represented Uruguay in the Venice Biennial 1988.