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The Art of Anna Bella Geiger

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Harper Montgomery, a writer in the Wertheim Study, has curated a fascinating exhibition at Hunter College, going until May 4. At 68th and Lexington, it is a smallish (read: do-able) delight — Open Work in Latin America, New York & Beyond: Conceptualism Reconsidered, 1967-1978.

It features prints, artists' books, photography and videos, photocopies, all sorts of experimental treats, including Ed Ruscha's Stains, a portfolio of 75 mixed media stains on square paper and one stain on the inside cover of the box. The stains range from ketchup (Heinz) to Pacfic Ocean sea water to egg white (and yolk), beer (Coors), bacon grease, and castor oil. The inside cover stain is from the "blood of the artist." Another engaging one was Diego Barboza's Thirty Girls with Nets, 30 gelatin silver prints of a performance realized March 7, 1970, in London. Yes, 30 girls (women actually) wandering around London covered with netting over their clothes.

But really captivating me was Anna Bella Geiger's Aqui e o centro (Here is the Center), on loan from MoMA. Born in 1933, Geiger was one of the first to introduce video in Brazilian conceptual art. Besides the usual painting, sculpture, etching, etc., since the '70s she developed experimental productions, using photomontage, photocopies, etc. — you get the picture. Call me old-fashioned but I thought this aquatint was just out 'n out beautiful. The Library, rather the Print Collection here at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street, has another and very different print of hers, Cerebro. It uses etching and acquatint, is the 2nd pull of 25, and from the 1966 series Corpo Humano. The staff kindly let me take a picture of it for this blog. (Of course the Great and Powerful Web shows none of the subtle beauty and fineness of either piece). The next time you're in the Library, why not sashay over to room 308 and have a look at it? After all, that's what we're here for. Tell them Jay sent you.

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