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Martín Ramírez

January 23, 2007–May 13, 2007
Exhibition

Martín Ramírez (1895–1963) created nearly 300 drawings of remarkable visual clarity and expressive power within the confines of DeWitt State Hospital in northern California, where he resided the last 15 years of his life. Ramírez has been codified primarily as a “schizophrenic artist”; this project goes beyond the boundaries of Ramirez’s diagnosis of mental illness and considers the artistic quality and merit of his artwork. In this way, Ramirez’s works are understood—and appreciated—for the complex, multilayered drawings that they are. “Martin Ramirez,” the first major retrospective of the self-taught master in more than 20 years, features approximately 97 works on paper and is accompanied by a full-color catalog.

Artworks

UNTITLED (Train)
Martí­n Ramí­rez (1895–1963)
Auburn, California
c. 1953
Pencil and crayon on pieced paper
22 1/2 x 47 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill Jr., 1990.1.2
Photo by Gavin Ashworth

UNTITLED (Horse and Rider)
Martín Ramírez (1895–1963)
Auburn, California
c. 1948–1963
Crayon and pencil on pieced paper
34 1/4 x 24 in.
Collection of Joseph D. and Janet M. Shein
Photo courtesy Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York

UNTITLED (Horse and Rider)
Martín Ramírez (1895–1963)
Auburn, California
c. 1948–1963
Crayon and pencil on paper
17 1/2 x 24 in.
Collection of Todd and Paige Johnson
Photo by Rick Gardner

UNTITLED (Horse and Rider)
Martín Ramírez (1895–1963)
Auburn, California
1954
Pencil, colored pencil, crayon, and watercolor on paper
33 1/8 x 23 15/16 in.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 97.4601
Photo courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

UNTITLED (Collage)
Martín Ramírez (1895–1963)
Auburn, California
c. 1952
Pencil, colored pencil, and collage on pieced paper
35 13/16 x 18 1/2 in.
Adolf Wölfli Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Bern, Switzerland, A1988.25
Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Bern, Switzerland

UNTITLED (Stag)
Martín Ramírez (1895–1963)
Auburn, California
c. 1948–1963
Crayon and pencil on pieced paper
56 x 29 1/2 in.
Collection of Selig and Angela Sacks
Photo by Gavin Ashworth

Credits

“Martin Ramirez” is presented by JP Morgan Chase Bank. Additional support is provided by Altria Group, Inc., the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro. Support for the catalog has been provided by Furthermore, the publication program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

Resources
A Child’s Comfort: Baby and Doll Quilts in American Folk Art

By Bruce Johnson, with Susan S. Connor, Josephine Rogers, and Holly Sidford. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in association with the Museum of American Folk Art, 1977. 116 pages.

Martín Ramírez - Exhibition Catalog (a New York Times Notable Book)

By Brooke Davis Anderson, with Víctor M. Espinosa and Kristin E. Espinosa, Daniel Baumann, and Victor Zamudio-Taylor; foreword by Maria Ann Conelli; introduction by Robert Storr. Seattle: Marquand Books in association with the American Folk Art Museum, 2007. 192 pages.

Exhibition Wall Texts

View the Exhibition Wall Texts

PDF
Exhibition Wall Texts (Spanish)

View the Exhibition Wall Texts in Spanish

PDF
New York Times

Close Reading

PDF
New York Times

Profile of the Ramirez family

PDF
Time

Blog post

PDF
Reviews
... powerful, beautiful, and new ...
– Village Voice
... extraordinary achievement ...
– New York Times
... remarkable ...
– New Yorker