Katherine E. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota; University of California Press, September 2015. 272 p. ill. ISBN 9780520288010 (cl.), $65.00.
Reviewed January 2016
Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta is a publication based on the September 2015 exhibition held at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota. The book features the writing of seven authors, including the curators of the exhibition on which the book was based, as well as the film archivist for the Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC. The authors use an informal and sometimes personal tone when discussing the technical and the stylistic approaches that Mendieta took toward her work. Also discussed are the choices made for digitally restoring the artist's moving image works, as well as the context in which Mendieta's works have been seen through exhibitions curated since her death in 1985. Each author reinforces the idea that Mendieta's works transcended categorization into a specific style or social statement; they illustrate this idea by going into exhaustive detail about the production and interpretation of the entire body of her moving image works.
The publication is a hardcover with a case binding. More than half of the book features text and still image reproductions of the artist's works, printed on sturdy matte paper. A span of eighty-eight pages features text descriptions and still image reproductions of the twenty-one moving image pieces featured in the September 2015 exhibition; these pages are printed on glossy paper stock. All images in the book are printed in color at a resolution that appropriately emulates the film materials that Mendieta often used, although the glossy paper provides a more dynamic color quality within the images.
Featured at the conclusion of the book's essays is the most thorough index of Mendieta's 103 moving image works to date. The index discusses the selected exhibition history, production notes, and characteristics of the digitized instance of each item. Also featured are an exhibition checklist, a description of the authors, and an index of terms featured throughout the book. Anyone looking for detailed facts about the artist's filmography would be thoroughly satisfied with the information that this book provides. The book would further benefit those studying film history or contemporary art at both the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as those looking for context on how to process and preserve an amateur film collection. Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta would be a wonderful addition to any library with a focus on visual arts.