Luis Camnitzer

Biography of Luis Camnitzer

Originally born in Germany in 1937, Luis Camnitzer's parents fled the Nazi regime to settle in Uruguay where he spent much of his early life. He moved to New York in 1964 and quickly established himself as a leading figure of 1960s New York conceptualism. Starting out as a printmaker, he was one of the founding members of the New York Graphic Workshop, who sought to place conceptualism at the forefront of printmaking and expand the definition of the medium. He then developed his practice to include sculpture and installation and engaged with the issues of social injustice and repression, revealing a fervent dislike of institutions.

In the 60s and 70s Luis Camnitzer's work highlighted those caught up in the cycle of injustice perpetrated by the regimes then seizing power in South America. His piece, Leftovers, 1970 featuring bloodstained numbered boxes neatly piled up on top of each other, is a brutal and unequivocal insight into "body count logistics" as perpetrated by the ruling Uruguayan regime.

Often employing humor to get his point across, Luis Camnitzer's deep engagement with politics gave his language—an integral part of his artistic medium—a vivid, acerbic bite. His work is located in the permanent collections of some of the leading museums around the world, including MOMA and Whitney in New York as well as Tate Britain.

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