Cited by many as the most influential of self-taught American modernists, Martín Ramírez assembled not just one of most significant bodies of material in the 20th century canon, but one of the foremost by any Latin American artist of any era.
This achievement is all the more profound if one considers the context. Ramírez was just one of thousands of illegal refugees, fleeing Mexico to seek employment during the Great Depression. For him, as with so many of his countrymen, the desire to feed a family soon led to homelessness, isolation and institutionalisation. Martín Ramírez was never to see his wife and children again.
Instead, the artist began to draw impossible architectures, swirling landscapes and heroic pioneers. His homeland evolved into an abstracted dreamworld of border crossings, elongated horizons and deconstructed tunnels. Caballeros, male and female, towered over vertiginous hilltops, unable to stop the high-speed trains and vehicles hurtling by. Yet this was a man with no formal art training. The scale and effortless complexity was astonishing.
It was Tarmo Pasto, a local art educator, who brought Ramírez’s interior geographies into cultural society. He encouraged the artist during his lifetime, bringing materials to the humble hospital studio and introduced his draughtsmanship to artists like Wayne Thiebaud and Jim Nutt.
Since then, Ramírez has enjoyed retrospectives at Centro Cultural Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (1989) and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2010), curated by Smithsonian director Lynne Cooke. He is a key artist in Kasper KÖNIG's seminal The Shadow of the Avant-Garde at the Museum Folkwang, Essen (2015) and was also seen at LACMA, LA in 2017.
The Gallery of Everything proudly presented a series of masterworks by this highly regarded art-ist, sourced in collaboration with the Ramírez estate. The inaugural UK exhibition also featured the largest work ever created by the artist, which is intended for museum collections only.
CATALOGUE OF EVERYTHING #6, THE MUSEUM OF EVERYTHING 2016
MARTIÍN RAMÍREZ, VÍCTOR ESPINOSA (UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PRESS) 2015
AMERICAN FOLK ART: A REGIONAL REFERENCE, KRISTIN CONGDON AND KARA KELLEY HALLMARK (ABC-CLIO) MARCH 2012
MARTIÍN RAMÍREZ: REFRAMING CONFINEMENT, LYNNE COOKE (PRESTEL) 2010
EVERYTHING #1, THE MUSEUM OF EVERYTHING
MARTIÍN RAMÍREZ: THE LAST WORKS, RICHARD RODRIGUEZ AND WAYNE THIEBAUD (POMEGRANATE COMMUNICATIONS) 2008
MARTIÍN RAMÍREZ – EXHIBITION CATALOG, BROOKE DAVIS ANDERSON, FOREWORD BY MARIA ANN CONELLI AND INTRODUCTION BY ROBERT STORR (MARQUAND BOOKS) 2007
AMERICAN ANTHEM, BROOK DAVIS ANDERSON (HARRY ABRAMS) 2001
MARTIN RAMIREZ: PINTOR MEXICANO, ELSA WEINER (FUNDACION CULTURAL TELEVISA) 1989
THE PROBLEM OF MARTIÍN RAMÍREZ, MICHAEL HALL (THE CLARION) 1986
A CHILD’S COMFORT, BRUCE JOHNSON (MUSEUM OF AMERICAN FOLK ART) 1977
Outliers and American Vanguard Art, National Gallery of Art (Washington) 2018
Martín Ramírez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation, ICA (LOS ANGELES) 2017
EXHIBITION #7, The Museum of Everything (Tasmania) 2017/8
EXHIBITION #6, The Museum of Everything (Rotterdam) 2016
The Shadow of the Avant-Garde, Museum Folkwang (Essen) 2015
Top Drawer, High Museum of Art (Atlanta) 2014
Great and Mighty Things, Philadelphia Museum of Art 2013
EXHIBITION #1.1, The Museum of Everything, Chalet Society (Paris) 2012/3
Accidental Genius, Milwaukee Art Museum 2012
Martín Ramírez: Reframing Confinement, Reina Sofía (Madrid) 2010
EXHIBITION #1, The Museum of Everything (London) 2009
Martín Ramírez: The Last Works, AFAM (NYC) 2008
Martín Ramírez, San Jose Museum of Art + Milwaukee Art Museum 2007
Inner Worlds Outside, La Caixa (Madrid) + Whitechapel (London) + IMMA (Dublin) 2006
Dubuffet and Art Brut, Museum Kunstpalast (Düsseldorf) + LaM (Lille) 2005
Parallel Visions, LACMA (Los Angeles) + Reina Sofía (Madrid) + Kunsthalle (Basel) 1992
Martín Ramírez: Pintor Mexicano, Centro Cultural/Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City) 1989
The Heart of Creation, Moore College (Philadelphia) + Milwaukee Art Museum 1985