Brooke Davis Anderson Presents: Martín Ramírez: Memory and Mexico at the Joan Mitchell Center

Joan Mitchell Center, Indigo Building
2285 Bayou Road
Wednesday, May 15th at 6 pm

Martín Ramírez left his native Los Altos de Jalisco, Mexico, in 1925 to find work in the United States and support his wife and children back home. Political struggles in Mexico that directly impacted his family and the economic consequences of the Great Depression left him stranded, jobless and homeless on the streets of California in 1931. Unable to communicate in English and apparently confused, he was soon picked up by the police and committed to a psychiatric hospital, where he would eventually be diagnosed as a catatonic schizophrenic. Ramírez spent the second half of his life in California mental institutions. Separated from his homeland, his family, and his friends, and not speaking the language of his adopted country, Ramírez began to assemble found bits of paper -- flattened paper cups, hospital supply forms, and book pages, for example -- using a self-made glue concocted of bread or potato starch and spit to create large surfaces for drawing. Anderson - the author of two books about the artist and curator of several exhibitions - will discuss the artist and his art, as well as explore the myriad ways that he has been misinterpreted and his artwork, misunderstood, all to the benefit of the sanctioned art world. 

Brooke Davis Anderson is the Executive Director for U.S. Biennial. Prior to her appointment, Anderson held the position of Deputy Director of Curatorial Planning at LACMA, where she worked across several departments to develop strong relationships with the community and curators. In this role, Anderson oversaw several major projects, including the Watts Towers Conservation and Community Initiative, and initiated a Mellon funded pilot program, the "Curatorial Diversity Initiative" to change the demographics of museum professionals in American museums across the nation. From 1999 to 2010, Anderson was Director and Curator at The Contemporary Center at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, where she curated more than twenty exhibitions, authored four books and numerous articles, and oversaw the $1 million acquisition of the Henry Darger Study Center. Prior to moving to New York, Anderson was director of the Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University (1992-1999). During her tenure there she was recognized by the Chronicle Newspaper as "Curator of African American Art" and an endowment was established in her name to ensure the museum's future.   

In order for the Joan Mitchell Center to accommodate everyone who would like to attend, they request that you RSVP for this event to Light refreshments will be served. For more on Ramírez, see the American Folk Art Museum and NPR.