Amazonas, 1972. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 53.75 x 74.25 x 11.25

Zelia Sánchez: Minimalist Mulata

Zilia Sánchez defies categorical definition. Her high-relief, shaped canvases hover between painting and sculpture. A breakout art world success at the age of 87, she is a Cuban national, who has lived off the island since the revolution, and she creates apolitical work. Sánchez joins such venerable late-life art stars as Louise Bourgeois, Carmen Herrera, and Maria Lassnig as a living exemplar of the Guerrilla Girls joke about the advantages of being a woman artist—“knowing that your career might pick up after you’re 80.” In response to Sánchez’s 2013 solo show at Artists Space, her first New York exhibition since 1984, Holland Cotter exclaimed in the New York Times: “Altogether there is nothing in New York galleries like this work, which has a boldness and strangeness entirely its own. Why we have had to wait this long to have a survey is a mystery.”1 One explanation for Sánchez’s obscurity was her decision in 1972 to relocate from New York to Puerto Rico, where she has quietly labored and taught ever since. …see the entire article in the print version of January/February’s Sculpture magazine.

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