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Against the Archive: Raphael Montañez Ortiz’s Destructivist Cinema

Raphael Montañez Ortiz
Chon A. Noriega considers the work of Raphael Montañez Ortiz, the founder of El Museo del Barrio in Harlem, whose film practice highlighted the exclusion of minority and working class artists from the canon. In the late 1950s, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, then painting in an Abstract Expressionist style, picked up a wet paintbrush from a stack of paper towels, only to have the brush pull up several layers of the paper, leaving behind an almost sculptural artefact with paint soaked through the towel.