Americas Society: first U.S. solo exhibition of Chilean artist Sylvia Palacios Whitman

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Americas Society: first U.S. solo exhibition of Chilean artist Sylvia Palacios Whitman
Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Drawing from the series Visit to See the Monkey and Other Childhood Stories, 1960 – 2019 Mixed media, 9 x 12 inches (22.9 x 30.5 cm).



NEW YORK, NY.- Americas Society is currently presenting Sylvia Palacios Whitman: To Draw a Line with the Body, the first solo exhibition and career survey of the Chilean artist in the United States. Co-curated by Aimé Iglesias Lukin, Director and Chief Curator, Art at Americas Society, and Rachel Remick, Assistant Curator, Art at Americas Society, the show will restage Palacios Whitman’s key historical works; feature sketches, video, photographic documentation of performances; and include new large-scale works on paper.

The exhibition focuses on the fundamental connection between drawing and performance in Palacios Whitman’s practice. “Sylvia Palacios Whitman is truly an interdisciplinary artist who moves between drawing and performance in a way that is very unique. Her works are playful and engaging, and she pays close attention to personal history in her pieces,” said co-Curator Remick. “From the well-known performances of the 1970s to the paper drawings and sculptures she makes today, Palacios Whitman’s work is rooted in a keen sense of experimentation.”

Sylvia Palacios Whitman (b. Osorno, Chile, 1941) is a visual and performance artist who moved to New York in 1961 and began working with movement and contemporary dance. She soon became a key figure of the avant-garde scene in downtown Manhattan.

Through solo and group performances, Palacios Whitman created a distinct “choreographic language,” which highlighted the participation of untrained performers and favored playful movements and exaggerated gestures. In Human Paper Coil (1975), Palacios Whitman walks onto a paper floor with a spiral design. She then picks up the center of the paper floor and winds it around her own body. The image created in this performance starts with one of a seemingly static floor and transforms into Palacios Whitman swallowed up by that paper surface.

Works in the exhibition also demonstrate Palacios Whitman’s interest in personal history and autographical themes. In Visit to See the Monkey and Other Childhood Stories (1960–2019), a key work in the presentation, Palacios Whitman utilizes drawings of her childhood in Chile created over the last six decades to illustrate her performative retelling of the scenes.




Sylvia Palacios Whitman: To Draw a Line with the Body is the second exhibition in Americas Society’s series focused on women-identifying artists of the Americas.

“This exhibition provides one more example of an artist who has not received the institutional attention that her expansive production deserves,” said co-Curator Iglesias Lukin. “Palacios Whitman’s work allows us to think not only about what it means to discuss childhood and nostalgia in the work of women artists, but also in that of a migrant artist for whom ‘home’ and the past have a particularly poignant meaning.”

Sylvia Palacios Whitman: To Draw a Line with the Body will be accompanied by the publication of a pocketbook. Americas Society will also present a series of public programs in conjunction with the exhibition.

“It is an honor to be able to present so much of Palacios Whitman’s work in one space and give new audiences the chance to experience her drawings and performances,” said Remick. “In the spirit of the series, this exhibition shines a light on Palacios Whitman’s crucial contributions to the 1970s avant-garde in Manhattan and gives new scholarly attention to her artistic practice as a whole.”

The presentation of Sylvia Palacios Whitman: To Draw a Line with the Body is made possible by generous support from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Additional exhibition support is provided by the Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Heritage of Chile.

Americas Society acknowledges the generous support from the Arts of the Americas Circle contributors: Estrellita B. Brodsky, Virginia Cowles Schroth, Emily A. Engel, Diana Fane, Almeida & Dale Galeria de Arte, Isabella Hutchinson, Carolina Jannicelli, Vivian Pfeiffer, Phillips, Gabriela Pérez Rocchietti, Erica Roberts, Sharon Schultz, Diana López and Herman Sifontes, and Edward J. Sullivan.

Americas Society
Sylvia Palacios Whitman: To Draw a Line with the Body
June 7th, 2023 - July 22nd, 2023










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