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The Collection / About / Team

The von Christierson Collection

Bárbaro Martínez-Ruiz
Academic Counselor

Dr. Martinez-Ruiz earned his B.A. from Havana University in 1994 and his Ph.D. from Yale in 2004. He is an Art Historian with expertise in African and Caribbean artistic, visual, and religious practices. After holding positions at Havana’s High Institute of Art from 1993-1997, the Rhode Island School of Design from 2002-2004 and in Stanford University’s Department of Art and Art History from 2004-2013, Dr. Martinez-Ruiz came to the University Of Cape Town in 2014. His books include Kongo Graphic Writing and Other Narratives of the Sign, Temple University Press, 2013 (English) and El Colegio de México, 2012 (Spanish); Faisal Abdu’Allah: On the Art of Dislocation, Centro Atlántico de Art Moderno Press, 2012 and Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds, Yale University Press, 2007, which was awarded the Alfred H. Barr Prize by the College Art Association. Other recent publications include “Ma kisi Nsi: L’art de habitants de region de Mbanza Kongo”, in Angola Figures de Pouvoir (Paris: Dapper Museum Press, 2010), “Writing Bodies in the Bakongo Atlantic Experience”, in Performances: Challenges for Art and Anthropology (Quai Branly Museum Press, 2010), “Funerary Pots of the Kongo in Central Africa”, in African Terra Cotta: A Millenary Heritage (Geneva: Musee Barbier Mueller Press, 2008) and “The Impossible Reflection: A New Approach to African Themes in Wifredo Lam’s Art”, in Wifredo Lam (Miami: Perez Art Museum Press, 2008). Dr. Martinez-Ruiz curated Things that Cannot Be Seen Any Other Way: The Art of Manuel Mendive at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles and The Frost Museum, Miami (2012-2013), On the Art of Dislocation at the Centro Atlántico de Art Moderno, Spain (2012), Call and Response: Journeys in African Art at the Yale University Art Gallery (2001), and Marks of the Soul: Poetics, Philosophies, and Religions –Eight Caribbean Artists at the University Galleries, Florida Atlantic University (2001). Current curatorial projects and publications include Visual Thinking: The New Art of Chuck Close, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Spain 2016, Spirituality in the Art of the Caribbean, Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles 2017 and Unwrapping the Universe: Kongo Art and Cosmology in Central Africa, The Ethnographic Museum, Geneva, The Tropenmuseum, Holland and The Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium, 2018.

D. Martinez-Ruiz also serves as editor for the Cuban Studies Magazine and for Harvard University’s Transition magazine and is a Pacific Standard Time LA/LA research fellow from 2014-2017 at The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles California.

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