“Dear Mr. Thanatos”

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This show of eight Latin American artists, organized by critic/curator Christian Viveros-Fauné, persuasively suggests that violent death haunts the imagination of the socio-politically troubled region’s artists, regardless of where they practice at any given moment. Cases in point include photos documenting Ana Mendieta’s 1973 performance in response to the rape and murder of a University of Iowa nursing student, Jorge Tacla’s sketchy monochrome paintings of bombed-out Middle Eastern buildings and a video by Anibal López (A1-53167)—an artist known by name and government ID number—showing a Guatemalan hit man nonchalantly describing his work to an audience at the last Documenta. Lethal aggression, as the exhibition title implies, seems routinely close at hand—like a familiar though always formally addressed neighbor.