Graciela Kartofel, NY 1996
The LCAC is excited to announce a generous gift from Graciela Kartofel, an art historian, art critic, curator and educator with a prolific writing career across Latin American, the US and Europe. Mrs. Kartofel studied Art History at UBA -University of Buenos Aires- before moving to Mexico City. She currently lives in New York City, and Mexico, continues to write, and curate exhibitions. Victoria, from the LCAC Team, recently conducted an over-the-phone interview with Graciela to learn about her personal journey, her writings and experiences.
Over the decades, Graciela has written and accumulated an expansive library of books about Indigenous cultures, Latin American artists and innovators. She has generously donated a bulk of her library collection to the Latino Cultural Arts Center (LCAC) Research Library, which includes over 5,000 titles and stories about Latinos from Colorado and beyond.
A Visitor at The LCAC Library Collection
Having grown up in Argentina, Graciela described it as an intellectual place with a high level of education and visual arts activities. When she was fifteen, still in high school, she learned of the second Latin American Art Biennial in Córdoba, Argentina and went there. She was surprised by the various forms of artistic expressions and found her passion for discovery and learning in the process. Writing gave her a chance to spread and/or confront what she saw and experienced. She recalls an anecdote on learning. Later on, in college, the professor instructed the students to read an assigned book that got very bad reviews with the idea that even from bad publications one could still learn. Kartofel went to libraries alternated with artists studios, art galleries & museums, researching art & culture.
Carmen Padin (artist and gallery co-owner), Graciela Kartofel, and Xavier Meléndez at his opening at Kim Gallery, Mexico City; Excelsior newspaper section B, October 29th, 1981.
Graciela and her family moved to Mexico City in 1980 where she found an art environment that allowed her to take her career to new heights. Graciela continued her work as a journalist and editorialist with writings in Sabado at Unomásuno, Excelsior cultural section with Edmundo Valadez, Revista del Colegio de México, and Mexican Vogue among others. She was curating shows, writing the catalogs, and publishing weekly articles about exhibitions and other cultural matters. She expanded her local work internationally. She participated as an exhibition jury and biennials curator, met artists and wrote about how they lived and created new paths in the arts. Kartofel wrote about the visual arts, architecture, literature, fashion, archeology – any subject that would allow her and her readers to build a deeper understanding of the world.
Graciela identified the need for teaching Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art at one of the Schools in the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She proposed to the then Director to create that program. It opened in 1984 and welcomed students from around the globe, thus Graciela had to teach in English, Spanish, or French. She spent over a decade as a faculty member. She finds pleasure and responsibility sharing her knowledge in the academic arena as well as in journals and magazines, radio, video, and films on Latin American Art. Her scope of work is wide, it refers to handicraft, a variety of disciplines and art materials, including ephemeral & technological art.
Graciela Kartofel Lecturing at The National Museum
of Death, Aguascalientes, Mexico Photo by
Jorge H. García Navarro.
She and her family moved to Germany from 1986 to 1989 and she traveled to France and Austria to participate in cultural activities including biennials, video, film and television. In 1992, Graciela began to share her life and work between Mexico and New York. Her published books, editorial and curatorial work span across the US, Latin America, Europe, and Australia. She is a lecturer and visiting professor at different universities, among them Universidad Michoacana, Morelia, Michoacán; The Hochschule für Künstlerische und Industrielle Gestaltung in Linz, Austria; Cristobal Colón University, Veracruz, México; and Hunter College, New York City. Kartofel works as a critic and independent curator specializing in Contemporary and Latin American Art. When asked about the significance of her life work, and what she hoped people would learn from it, she responded, “The knowledge I have to share is rich and I feel a great responsibility to share it with those who are curious to learn about different cultures”.
Published Books by Graciela Kartofel: Museo Nacional de la Muerte, Reynaldo Velazquez - La piel despierta, & Octavio Bajonero
I am honored to have met a woman who dedicates her life to sharing her curiosity, knowledge and love for the arts. I learned that Latin American history runs deep and that we have only brushed its surface. It weaves through three continents, each country, state, and pueblo with its unique history, art and culture. There is so much for us to learn and we can investigate it together. It is with great pleasure to announce that the LCAC along with our media partner, El Semanario, are making Kartofel’s work accessible to our public across Colorado and the Southwest today! Every month we will share Graciela’s published writings about Latin American cultural art. Once we open the LCAC Research Library, we will house her books where they will be accessible to students and researchers.
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For more information about Graciela Kartofel visit: http://gracielakartofel.com/index.html