Protesters Bloody the Sidewalk Over Dia’s Carl Andre Show

Ana Mendieta's supporters still believe she was murdered.

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Self-Portrait with Blood) 1973. Photo courtesy of the American Patrons of Tate, courtesy of the Latin American Acquisitions Committee 2010. ©The estate of Ana Mendieta, courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York.

Protesters paid a visit to the Dia Art Foundation’s Chelsea offices to voice their opposition to the institution’s current retrospective of Minimalist sculptor Carl Andre on May 19, spilling a bucket of chicken blood and guts on the sidewalk outside the building, reports Hyperallergic.

The entrails were courtesy of artist Christen Clifford, a member of the feminist group No Wave Performance Task Force, who were calling attention to the suspicious death of Andre’s late wife, conceptual artist Ana Mendieta.

The couple, who met in 1979, were both finding success as artists—Andre for his Minimalist work, and Mendieta for her performance art—when they married in 1985. Eight months later, Mendieta died after falling from the window of their 34th-floor apartment during an argument with her husband.

Was it an accident, suicide, or an act of defenestration? Andre was arrested for murder, but, after three years of legal proceedings, was acquitted. Many still feel convinced of his guilt.


The building where the Dia Art Foundation’s offices are in Chelsea.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The protest was inspired by an early Mendieta piece, in which she decapitated a chicken, letting its blood splatter her naked body. It was meant to coincide with the exhibition’s only programmed event, a lecture about Andre’s work by artist Leslie Hewitt, but the the talk was cancelled for medical reasons at the last minute.

Just under 20 people turned out for the protest, including members of Mendieta’s family. Participants donned white Tyvek jumpsuits scrawled with the phrase “I wish Ana Mendieta was still alive.” Theater Three Collaborative director Karen Malpede performed a reading while Clifford spilled a bag of bloody chicken guts onto the sidewalk along a white paper banner sporting the same phrase.


Installation view, “Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010,” Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, Beacon, New York. May 5, 2014–March 2, 2015. Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York. Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York.

Although police showed up as the event was winding to a close, participants dispersed quietly, leaving the Dia staff to clean up the gory mess.

Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010,” which opened earlier this month, is on view at Dia:Beacon through March 2, 2015.

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