Geles Cabrera: Museo Escultórico at Americas Society. (Image: Arturo Sánchez)

Geles Cabrera: Museo Escultórico at Americas Society. (Image: Arturo Sánchez) 


Americas Society Presents Geles Cabrera: Museo Escultórico 

The Mexican sculptor’s first U.S. exhibition runs June 8 through July 30, 2022 and spans 40 years of her career.

May 24, 2022—Americas Society presents Geles Cabrera: Museo Escultórico, the first solo exhibition in the United States dedicated to Mexican artist Geles Cabrera, who is one of the most prominent female sculptors of her country. Geles Cabrera: Museo Escultórico will feature artwork created over 40 years of her career and will be on view from June 8 through July 30, 2022.

Curated by Americas Society Chief Curator and Director of Visual Arts Aimé Iglesias Lukin, Assistant Curator Tie Jojima, and Assistant Curator Rachel Remick, the exhibition will display approximately 50 of Cabrera’s sculptures. The works reveal the artist’s interest in the human body through her experimentation with different materials such as volcanic rock, bronze, terracotta, papier-mâché́, and molded plexiglass. Between abstraction and figuration, Cabrera carved and molded human forms evoking labor, motherhood, and human relationships. The show also includes archival documentation about her artistic practice in Mexico City.

“Long overdue, the exhibition gives audiences a chance to appreciate the breadth of Cabrera’s prolific career, which has spanned more than seventy years,” said Aimé Iglesias Lukin. “It is our hope that this exhibition will allow viewers to rethink art history through the voice of a powerful female artist who, quite literally, managed to carve out a space for herself.”

Born in Mexico City in 1926, Cabrera studied at Mexico’s Academia Nacional de San Carlos and La Esmeralda art schools, where she began working in sculpture. At the time, sculpture was almost exclusively practiced by male artists, and women were dissuaded from pursuing a career in this discipline. However, Cabrera persisted and, by 1949, had her first solo exhibition at the Mont-Orendáin Gallery in Mexico City. Cabrera found artistic success in the 1950s alongside the “Generación de la Ruptura” (“Breakaway Generation”), a grouping of Mexican artists who, from the 1950s onward, diverged from the legacies of Mexican muralism. Cabrera’s abstracted human forms aligned with shifts in Mexican art away from representation and nationalism—embodied in muralism—toward abstraction and individualism.

Tie Jojima highlights how Cabrera’s love for dance informed her work. “Her dance practice and her public art help to illuminate Cabrera’s work’s exploration of the dynamic between the body and space. Considered in the context of modern architecture and experimental dance, her sculptures negotiate the affective nature of the body and the city.”

In the 1960s, Cabrera founded the Museo Escultórico Geles Cabrera in her own home in the neighborhood of Coyoacán, where she was able to share her artwork with the surrounding community. She financed the museum, and it stayed open for 40 years. In addition to running her museum, she continued to experiment with material and form, and in the 1970s worked with colleagues Ángela Gurría, Juan Luis Díaz, and Mathias Goeritz to create public art. Her prolific career paved the way for other women in sculpture.

“Cabrera was never content with merely producing art. She took it upon herself to archive her artistic practice and accomplishments, not only creating her own museum but also keeping meticulous records of her work and exhibitions,” said Rachel Remick. “Though the space no longer exists today, its memory lives on in this exhibition, where Cabrera’s sculptures are on display for new communities and neighbors, thousands of miles away from where they were created.”

Geles Cabrera: Museo Escultórico will be the first installment in a series of Americas Society exhibitions highlighting the legacy of women and female-identifying artists of the Americas, focusing on celebrating artists previously understudied or overlooked.

The exhibition will be accompanied by the publication of a pocketbook featuring images of all artwork, as well as curatorial texts. Americas Society will host a series of public programs, both in-person and virtual, accompanying the show, including panel discussions with the curatorial team and scholars of Latin American art and sculpture, performances, and regular free gallery tours.

Funders and Sponsors

The presentation of Geles Cabrera: Museo Escultórico is made possible by the generous support from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Additional support is provided by the Smart Family Foundation, the William Talbott Hillman Foundation, and Galería Agustina Ferreyra. Americas Society acknowledges the generous support from the Arts of the Americas Circle contributors: Estrellita B. Brodsky, Virginia Cowles Schroth, Emily A. Engel, Diana Fane, Galeria Almeida e Dale, Isabella Hutchinson, Carolina Jannicelli, Vivian Pfeiffer, Phillips, Gabriela Pérez Rocchietti, Erica Roberts, Diana López and Herman Sifontes, and Edward J. Sullivan.

Image credit: Geles Cabrera in the museum of her work (El Museo Escultórico), c. 1960s Geles Cabrera Archives, Courtesy of the artist and Galería Agustina Ferreyra.