Beatriz González

1938 | Bucaramanga, Colombia
Beatriz  González — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

© Photo: Alamy Stock photo

Colombian painter, art historian and critic.

Beatriz González studied fine arts at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá and print-making at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Her first solo show took place in 1964 at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, where B. González exhibited her Encajeras [Lacemaker] series based on Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting. This series revealed what would reoccur in her oeuvre: a careful study of canonical paintings and an interest in color blocking and saturated colors. As her career progressed, B. González became aware of the intersection between old master paintings and their re-signification in so-called Third World countries, such as Colombia, where these images are ubiquitous in mass media and popular among many sectors of society. This link between formal painting and widely held traditions propelled González to become one of the leading pointers in what at the time was known as neo figuración (new figuration) and what today is generally known as pop art. The 1965 painting series Los Suicidas del Sisga [The Suicides of Sisga] was inspired by a tabloid story, published in the local newspaper El Tiempo, about a young couple who committed suicide by throwing themselves over the Sisga Dam. Other series depicted images of important politicians, family portraits published in newspaper society pages, and naive scenes painted on city buses.

The political impact of B. Gonzalez’s works has led her to be considered as a key player in the shaping of conceptual art in Colombia. With Los Suicidas del Sisga, B. González won second prize in the 17th Salón de Artistas Nacionales (1965). During her career she has received other awards, such as second prize at the 1st Salón de Pintura (1965) in Cali and special mention at the 33rd Salon Nacional de Artistás de Colombia (1990). Adding to these accolades is her participation in important biennials, such as the 11th Bienal de São Paulo (1971), 38th Venice Biennale (1978), 8th Berlin Biennale (2014), and documenta 14, Kassel (2017). Most recently, Los Suicidas del Sisga and her furniture piece La Última Mesa [The Last Table, 1970] were included in The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern, London (2015). B. González’s work has extended beyond the gallery walls. Since 1983 she has curated numerous exhibitions in Colombia and has published monographs on individual artists, including Luis Caballero (1943-1995). Her work is in international collections such as Havana’s Casa de las Américas and New York’s Museum of Modern Art and El Museo del Barrio as well as in museums in Colombia.

Marcela Cristina Guerrero

Publication made in partnership with the Hammer Museum, in the framework of the exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985.

© Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions

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