Artists
Estate of León Ferrari1920-2013, Argentina
Estate of León Ferrari

"Art is not beauty or novelty, art is effectiveness and disruption…”

 

Born in 1920 in Buenos Aires, León Ferrari's artistic practice encompassed the media of painting, collage, sculpture, poetry, and printmaking. Known internationally for his often-provocative social and political critiques, Ferrari made work that was highly critical of war, social inequality, discrimination (sexual, religious, and ideological), and abuse of power.

 

In the 1950s, Ferrari traveled repeatedly to Italy, where he began making sculpture. In the early 1960s, he began exploring the connections between word and line in Cuadros escritos (Written Paintings) and Dibujos escritos (Written Drawings) and he continued these explorations throughout his career. These abstract “writings” on canvas and paper combine dry pastel, graphite, watercolor, and colored pencil to make lyrical, almost calligraphic imagery. About these works, Ferrari writes, “I draw silent handwritten words, which tell things, with lines that recall voices. And I write drawings that recite memories that words cannot say” (Letter to Christina Harrison, 1996).

 

In 1965, an exhibition including Ferrari’s La civilización occidental y cristiana (Western Christian Civilization) was censored and then closed by the Catholic Church. His subsequent work would challenge the policies of the church and the role of religion in the history of art. In the late 1960s, Ferrari participated in the collective known as Tucumán Arde. The group intended to draw attention to the conditions of the Tucumán Province through an intervention into the circuits of mass communication, countering the official news media of the Argentine dictatorship. During this period of increasing political activism, Ferrari published what would become a famous manifesto and call-to-arms for artists, in which he wrote, “Art is not beauty or novelty, art is effectiveness and disruption…”

 

With the persecution, murder, and disappearances of family members and friends during the Guerra Sucia (Dirty War) in Argentina, Ferrari fled to São Paulo, where he remained from 1976 to 1991. During this political exile, Ferrari created metal sculptures, photocopies, postal art, heliography, and art books, and he continued his explorations in drawing. Upon his return to Buenos Aires in the early 1990s, Ferrari created a series of collages to illustrate the official report about the disappearance of Argentineans during the war; the report, created by the National Commission for the Disappearance of Persons, was titled “Never Again” and it was published in 1984 and reissued with Ferrari’s collages in 1996. The imagery condemns the relationships between the repressive military regime and the religious establishment.  

 

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2015: León Ferrari: To Write, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA

2014: La donación Ferrari, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina

2012: León Ferrari - Brailles y relecturas de la Biblia, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina

2011: León Ferrari, Haunch of Venison, New York, NY, USA

León Ferrari, Museo del Banco de la República de Bogotá, Colombia

2010: Re-encontres, Église Sainte Anne, Arles, France

Luces de León, Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Retrospective, Museo Emilio Caraffa, Córdoba, Argentina; Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes Juan B. Castagnino/Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Rosario, Argentina

Secundario de Artes, Fiorito, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museo de Bellas Artes, Salta, Argentina

2009: León Ferrari: 40 Years of Work, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA

Galería Zavaleta LAB, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Locura urbana, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina

2008: León Ferrari, Los Músicos, Galería Braga Menéndez Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

León Ferrari. Obras 1976-2008, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico

León Ferrari. Antológica, Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes Juan B. Castagnino, Ciudad de Rosario, Argentina

2007: Secretaría de Cultura de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Leon Ferrari, Galería Ruth Benzacar, Buenos Aires, Argentina

2006: Revisiting Tautology, Pan American Art Projects, Miami, FL, USA

Poliuretanos, Sonoridad Amarilla, Buenos Aires, Argentina

León Ferrari, A Relentless Critique of Power, University Gallery, University of Essex, Essex, UK

Retrospectiva León Ferrari, Pinacoteca do Estado do São Paulo, Brazil

2005: Escrito en el Aire, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Neuquén, Argentina

Plumas y Brillos, Galería Braga Menéndez Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

2004: Retrospective León Ferrari, obras 1954-2004, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Instrumentos para dibujar sonidos, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina

Politiscripts, The Drawing Center, New York, NY, USA

Escrituras, Ruth Benzacar, Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

León Ferrari's work has also been featured prominently in numerous group exhibitions including Impressions / Abstractions, Sicardi Gallery, Houston (2013); Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2004); Heterotopias: Medio siglo sin lugar, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2000); Cantos Paralelos, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin (1999); Global Conceptualism: Point of Origin, 1950s-1980s, Queens Museum of Art, New York (1999); and Re-Aligning Vision: Alternative Currents in South American Drawing, Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin (1997).

 

SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, USA
Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY, USA
Casa de las Américas, Havana, Cuba
Centro Wifredo Lam, Havana, Cuba
Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zürich, Switzerland
Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, USA
Diane & Bruce Halle Collection, Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Argentina
Harvard Art Museum, The Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA, US
Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Argentina
Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina
Museo de Arte Moderno de Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, Mexico
Museo del Grabado, Argentina
Museo La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia
Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes Juan B. Castagnino, de Rosario, Argentina
Museo Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile
Museo Sívori, Museo de Arte Moderno, Argentina
Museu de Arte Brazileira, Pinacoteca do Estado Brazil
Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil
Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX, USA
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY, USA
Tate Modern, London, UK
University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA, USA

 

For full CV, please download the PDF below.

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EXHIBITIONS Divergent
Asis, Esmeraldo, Ferrari, Fer...
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EXHIBITIONS León Ferrari
To Write
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EXHIBITIONS León Ferrari
40 Years of Work
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EXHIBITIONS Impressions | Abstractions
Print Houston
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EXHIBITIONS Pressed
Prints from Latin America
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EXHIBITIONS Sculpture / Vision
Asis, Cruz-Diez, Ferrari, de ...
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NEWS Cruz-Diez, de la Mora, Espinosa,...
Sicardi Gallery at Expo Chica...
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NEWS Asis, Cruz-Diez, Dal Verme, Ferrari,...
Sicardi Gallery at Expo Chica...
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NEWS León Ferrari
Dallas Museum of Art
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NEWS Sicardi Gallery at Art Basel Miami Beach...
Cruz-Diez, Esmeraldo, Espinos...
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NEWS Ferrari, Muñoz, Porter, Rojas
Cisneros Fontanals Art Founda...
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NEWS Leon Ferrari | International Pop
Philadelphia Museum of Art
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NEWS León Ferrari
Museo de Arte Moderno de Bueno...
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NEWS León Ferrari and Gego
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houst...
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NEWS Asis, Ferrari, Tomasello, Cruz-Diez,...
Sicardi Gallery at The Armory...
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NEWS León Ferrari
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de...
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NEWS León Ferrari, Miguel Angel Rojas,...
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA...
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NEWS Carlos Cruz-Diez, Manuel Espinosa, León...
Abstract Experiments: Latin ...
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NEWS León Ferrari
Walker Art Center
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NEWS León Ferrari
Museu de Arte de São Paulo As...
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NEWS Arden Quin, Asis, Blaszko, Cruz-Diez,...
Sicardi Gallery at The Armory...
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NEWS Asis, Cruz-Diez, Espinosa, Ferrari,...
Sicardi Gallery at Expo Chicag...
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NEWS León Ferrari at REDCAT - Los Angeles,...
The Words of Others: León Fer...
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NEWS León Ferrari
Museo de Arte Banco de la Rep...
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NEWS 10th Mercosur Biennial
Mensajes de una Nueva América
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NEWS Dal Verme, Ferrari, Hasper, Muñoz,...
Museo de Arte Latinoamericano...
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NEWS Cardoso, Ferrari, Muñoz, Porter, Ríos,...
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
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NEWS León Ferrari, Gabriel de la Mora,...
HOME - So Different, So Appea...
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NEWS León Ferrari at the University of San...
Xerografia: Copyart in Brazil...
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NEWS Asis, Cruz-Diez, Ferrari, de la Mora,...
Sicardi Gallery at the Dallas ...
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NEWS Blaszko, Cruz-Diez, Espinosa, Ferrari,...
Sicardi Gallery at Art Basel ...
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PUBLICATIONS León Ferrari
Works 1954 - 2006
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PUBLICATIONS León Ferrari
Centro Cultural Recoleta
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PUBLICATIONS León Ferrari
Museo de Arte Banco de la Repú...
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PUBLICATIONS Ferrari and Schendel
Tangled Alphabets
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PUBLICATIONS León Ferrari
Works 1976 – 2008
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PUBLICATIONS León Ferrari
Prosa política
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PRESS León Ferrari | Art News
2015
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PRESS León Ferrari | La Nación
2014
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PRESS León Ferrari | NY Times
2009
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PRESS León Ferrari | Art Nexus
2007
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PRESS León Ferrari | Arte al Dia
2006
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