Artists
Gego1912-1994, born Germany
Gego

“Art is firmly rooted in spiritual values. The creator is involved in a continuous process of discovery—not of himself, but of the roots of the universe which he has been able to discover within himself.”

 

As a young woman, Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt) worked as a draftsman in several architecture firms, painting workshops, and carpentry shops in her native Germany while completing a degree in architecture from the University of Stuttgart in 1938. To escape the increasing anti-Semitism in her home country, she emigrated to Venezuela in 1939, where she worked as a freelance architect and industrial designer until the mid-1940s. In 1953, she moved to the coastal town of Tarma and began her artistic work, producing drawings, watercolors, monotypes and xylographs; the majority of these early works were figurative and expressionist. She returned to Caracas in 1956, and there, using pure abstraction as her starting point, she began to address problems of sculptural space in her work; in 1957, along with artists Carlos Cruz-Diez, Alejandro Otero, and Jesús-Rafael Soto, Gego participated in the exhibition Arte abstracto en Venezuela. By 1959, the Museum of Modern Art in New York had begun to acquire her work; she moved to New York in 1960 and remained in the United States until 1967.

 

Gego taught at the school of architecture of the Universidad Central de Venezuela and at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas Cristóbal Rojas. Her first individual show was held at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas in 1961; in 1962 she installed a sculpture at the headquarters of the Banco Industrial de Venezuela. She helped found the Instituto de Diseño Neumann in Caracas where she taught from 1964 to 1977. In 1969, with Gerd Leufert, she completed murals for the headquarters of the Instituto Nacional de Cooperación Educativa (INCE). From the 1970s to the 1980s she completed important, architecturally integrated sculpture for public buildings, residences, and shopping malls. In 1972, for example, she constructed Cuerdas (Cords), a sculpture-installation consisting of suspended nylon and stainless steel strips, for the Parque Central architectonic complex in Caracas.

 

Gego eventually began to use random procedures and “poor” materials such as industrial scraps and metals. Her series of suspended sculptures Dibujos sin papel (Drawings without Paper) and her series Bichos (Creatures) also date from the 1980s, as does her Reticulárea ambiental. Her last, extremely significant work was Tejeduras (Weavings), in which small fields of orthogonal lines were interwoven with strips of paper.

 

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

 

2012: Gego: Origin and Encounter, Mastering the Space, Americas Society, New York
Gego, obra abierta. Testimonios y vigencia, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas
2007: Gego: Between Transparency and the Invisible, The Drawing Center, New York

2006: Gego, Entre la Transparencia y lo Invisible, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Buenos Aires
2005: Gego: Between Transparency and the Invisible, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
2003: Gego, Gertrud Goldschmidt, Sicardi Gallery, Houston
1996: Gego, Drawings, Engravings, Weavings, Centro Cultural Consolidado, Caracas
1994: Gego, A Look at Her Work; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas
1984: Drawing without paper, Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas
1981: Environmental (permanent installation), Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas
1977: Gego, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas
1975: Gego. Drawings for Projects, Instituto de Diseño, Fundación, Neumann INCE, Caracas
1971: Gego, Sculpture and Drawing, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York
1969: Environmental, Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas
1968: On paper. Lithographs by Gego, Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas
1964: The Never Projected, Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas
1963: Lines and Inter-lines. Engravings and Drawing by Gego, Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas
1961: Recent Drawings by Gego, Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas
1958: Gego. Sculptures and Gouaches, Librería Cruz del Sur, Caracas

 

Gego’s work has been exhibited prominently in numerous group exhibitions, including Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric, and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2012); Imminencia de las Poéticas, 30th São Paulo Biennial (2012); Mind and Matter: Alternative Abstractions, 1940s to Now, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); North Looks South: Building the Latin American Art Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2009); Sites of Latin American Abstraction, Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach (2009); Bienal del Aire, Museo Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Sofía Imber, Caracas (2006); Marked Pages, Sicardi Gallery, Houston (2006); Cruz-Diez, Gego, Maggi, Soto & Tomasello, Sicardi Gallery, Houston (2006); Parallel Storeis: Venezuelan & Brazilian Abstract Constructive Art, Sicardi Gallery (2004); Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2004); The Experimental Exercise of Freedom: Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, Gego, Mathias Goeritz, and Mira Schendel, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1999); and many others.

 

SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Alte Oper, Frankfurt, Germany

AT&T Art Collection, New Jersey
Banco Industrial de Venezuela, Caracas
Cisneros Collection, Caracas
DAROS Latin American Collection, Zürich
Facultad de Arquitectura Urbanismo, Universidad Central de Venezuela
Fundación Banco Mercantil, Caracas
Fundación Polar, Caracas
Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas
Grunwald Art Center, Los Angeles
Iowa State University (Film Department), Iowa City
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, Caracas
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Francisco Narváez, Porlamar
Museo de Arte Moderno Jesús Soto, Ciudad Bolivar
Museo de Barquisimeto, Barquisimeto
Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Museum of Modern Art, New York
New York Public Library, New York
Pratt Graphic Art Center, New York
Taller de Artistas Gráficos Asociados, Caracas
University of Texas at Austin
 

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