June 18, 2021 - July 31, 2021
18 June – 31 July 2021
Book launch: Thursday, 8 July 2021
Bortolami Gallery is pleased to announce Renée Green’s second exhibition with the gallery, bringing
together a series of paintings and gouaches produced between 1985 and 1987. Presented for the first time,
these richly layered paintings provide dream-like narratives stemming from the time spent by the artist in
Mexico during the 1980s, as well as that decade’s US-backed political violence and societal turmoil in
Central and South America. The images call to mind the equivocal storytelling of Green’s 1994 bilingual
novel, Camino Road, tracing a New York art student’s illusive reminiscence of a road trip to Mexico.
For the past four decades, Green’s process has been accretive, with artworks created through her prolific
career combining to generate their own novel systems and taxonomies. Her practice has also been marked
by a clear intertextuality, sliding seamlessly between text, film, sound, and art objects. With these strategies
in mind, the exhibition is flanked by the presentation of two new books: Pacing (2020), a monograph
detailing the artist’s multiyear project at Harvard’s Carpenter Center and a cycle of interrelated exhibitions,
and Camino Road (1994), re-printed this year by Primary Information.
Bookended by an early novel and a contemporary monograph, the exhibition constitutes a recollection of
statements that maintain close associations despite being dispersed in time, so that an excerpt from 1994
informs our reading of artworks from the mid 1980s being viewed today.
Renée Green, Camino Road, “Appendix”, 1994: p. 109.
“Why Mexico? She tried to think back. A rapid rush of associations and images flooded her vision: (tk)
flashback – Her uncle in uniform, young, her mother’s brother, back from Mexico, he says a family wanted
to adopt him there, later he used to read in Spanish in Cleveland aloud to workers at the American Greeting
Card Company, he was the first artist she’d ever met, she’d met him before she’d known it, he was a
beatnik’s age, she didn’t know that until later when she found his Esquire jazz greats photo magazines, his
Kent State yearbook, photos with the other hip cats, and a turquoise ring with a missing stone, which she
believed to be from Mexico and which she still wears. The flood continued, times and places all jumbled:
Freddie Prince (suicide), Geraldo Rivera (sell out), “West Side Story,” Spanish, a usable language in the
U.S., Timoteo (Peace Corps hippy), Ms. Fajardo (Cuban debutante via Miami), Spanish eyes, looking
Spanish (Are you from the island?) P.R., Ajúa Campos/The Latin House, salsa in CT. and in Mexico, D.F.,
Ntozake Shange, near rape, my Spanish teacher’s rape, Argentineans in exile, my exiled Argentinean
journalist-political economics/Latin American studies professor, my foreign exchange student from formerly
Allende’s Chile, me getting lost.
She asked herself: Do I want to unpack this dense baggage? Is it too soon still? Maybe I want to be
lost a little longer”
Renée Green (b. 1959, Cleveland) is an artist, filmmaker and writer. Solo exhibitions of her work have been
mounted at the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard University; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San
Francisco, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; Musée Cantonal
des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne; Portikus, Frankfurt; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; Contemporary Arts
Center, Cincinnati; Vienna Secession; Stichting de Appel, Amsterdam; Dallas Museum of Art; the Museum
of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Jeu de Paume, Paris, among many others. Inevitable Distances, a
large-scale retrospective dedicated to Green’s decades-long practice, will be held at the KW – Institute of
Contemporary Art and daad galeries in Berlin this fall. Green is also a Professor at the MIT Program of Art,
Culture, and Technology, School of Architecture and Planning.