On view at Pérez Art Museum Miami through September 1, “Beatriz González: A Retrospective” gives the Colombian octogenarian her just due in the U.S. The Bogotá-based artist’s first large-scale retrospective stateside displays 150 works—including paintings, drawings and everyday objects repurposed as canvases from wood furniture to curtains—which are organized in loose chronological order over six decades. Several works come from her personal collection and have never been shown outside Colombia. The long wait doesn’t come as a surprise to a Latin American woman who spent the majority of her career in the shadow of European art. Her inspirations were as innocent as the memories of sunsets witnessed with her father in her native hometown, the park-filled Bucaramanga. Yet she became known for politically- and socially-charged themes that earned her a place among Latin America’s “radical women” generation. Rather than be lumped in with the era’s Pop Art movement and its consumer culture, she chose to focus on colonialism’s everlasting scars, the violent civil war that further stagnated her country in the 20th century, and common folks and their provincial tastes. Even if one doesn’t appreciate the political aspects of her work, her bold, bright palette and pioneering use of materials such as painting on a vintage vanity are worth a visit.
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