Revolution in the Leisure Society: Los Carpinteros
at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey

Barbecue ideology: it’s the epitome of American leisure culture. The ensemble of black, highly polished barbecue grills that Los Carpinteros created for their installation National Liberation Movement, however, turns things around—each grill takes on the form of a five-pointed star, the symbol of Communism. The highly designed objects not only look expensive and cool, they are, indeed, quite cold: neither the heat of the charcoal fire nor the Revolution rises up from them. In a similarly ironic way, the Cuban artists’ collective pokes fun at the Russian Embassy in Havana: they shrink the modernist high-rise down to a practical bureau with drawers. Mutations like these are typical for Los Carpinteros. This is evident in the major show on view at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey (MARCO). Architecture, design, and sculpture combine to form visual allegories and formulate an ongoing commentary on prevailing social conditions.

Virtuosic large-scale watercolors play an important role in the work of Los Carpinteros; several of these works are part of the Deutsche Bank Collection, and a selection of them can now be seen at the MARCO. They frequently visualize the creative processes at work while the collective develops its large-scale installations, or they show everyday objects such as screws, bricks, and clocks that transform into surreal objects. Los Carpinteros came together in the 1990s in Havana. At first, they often recycled driftwood for their sculptures—this is where the name of the artists’ group comes from, which in English means “carpenters,” but at the same time it stands for collective authorship.

Deutsche Bank has a long-standing connection to the MARCO. The show The Return of the Giants. German painting from 1975–1985 (2002) made a guest appearance here, as well as two additional exhibitions with works from the corporate collection: in 2006, More Than Meets the Eye presented current German art photography, while Beuys and Beyond of 2011 examined Joseph Beuys’s influence on his students.


Los Carpinteros
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey
8/20/2015 – 1/31/2016