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who is ana mendieta, and why is her absence from the new tate a controversy?

Though the museum owns five of Mendieta’s works, none of them are currently on display.

by Annie Armstrong
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Jun 15 2016, 3:40pm

All photos courtesy of Sisters Uncut.

London's foremost modern art gallery, the Tate Modern, has expanded into a new building with a promising mission statement: "Art Changes. We Change." The gallery is celebrated for its dedication to inclusivity and diversity, and the number of works on display by female artists has doubled as it moves into the new space. However, the fact that the Tate's five works by performance artist Ana Mendieta are not on display has left some patrons dissatisfied. At a demonstration on Monday, protesters demanded that the museum display Mendieta's work.

The artist, best known for her visceral "Earth Body" performances, died in 1985, leaving a legacy of feminist art that explored identity through primal impulses. Mendieta's early death (she was only 36) also inspired controversy over whether she truly fell from a window or was pushed, by her husband, fellow artist Carl Andre. Andre does have a piece in the new wing.

According to HyperAllergic, protesters at Monday's event chanted, "OI TATE, WE'VE GOT A VENDETTA - WHERE THE FUCK IS ANA MENDIETA?", "ANDRE, ANDRE, ANDRE, WHAT YOU GONNA DO, WHAT YOU GONNA DO WHEN WE COME FOR YOU?", and, "I WAS PUSHED — I DID NOT FALL." The protests were organized by activist groups WHEREISANAMENDIETA and Sisters Uncut, an activist group against domestic violence. Protest organizers wrote, "This is an obvious example as to how an honest emotional female voice is a threat to patriarchal institutions."

The new Tate Modern opens this Friday, June 17.