Selene Wendt’s essay, Rooted in Cuba and Connected to the World, featured in monograph about María Magdalena Campos-Pons
Edited by Carmen Hermo, with contributions by Mazie M. Harris, Jenée-Daria Strand, Phillip Townsend, Selene Wendt, and an introduction by Amalia Mesa-Bains.
María Magdalena Campos-Pons (b. 1959) makes powerful work that holds and beholds the stories of historically silenced peoples and urges societal change. Her journey as an artist, teacher, and activist has taken her from Cuba through the United States, and her autobiographical compositions honor her Nigerian and Chinese ancestors while also facing the future. With an artistic practice that crosses boundaries, intertwines media—from photography to sculpture, film to performance—and references traditions and beliefs ranging from feminism to Santería, Campos-Pons’s work is deeply layered and complex.
This volume, the first critical look at the artist’s oeuvre in nearly two decades, surveys the concerns, materials, and places invoked throughout her forty-year career. Thoughtful essays explore her vibrant, arresting artwork, which confronts issues of agency and the construction of race and belonging and challenges us to reckon with these issues in our own lives.
This volume, co-published by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Brooklyn Museum, accompanies an exhibition on view at the Brooklyn Museum from September 15, 2023, to January 14, 2024, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University from February 15 to June 9, 2024, the Frist Art Museum from September 27, 2024, to January 5, 2025, and the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from February 11 to May 4, 2025.