Carlos Martiel

The New York Times

In Brutal Ordeals, a Performance Artist Embodies the Oppressed

It’s hard to look away from Carlos Martiel’s feats of endurance and self-harm. Does his sacrifice help us understand a legacy of racist violence?

May 23, 2024

The performance artist Carlos Martiel is naked, except for a rope looped around his neck and attached to the ceiling of a gallery, while four people shoulder his legs and prop up his back.

Carlos Martiel’s “Cuerpo” (2022), a video documentation of performance at Steve Turner, Los Angeles, now on view at El Museo del Barrio. Don Lewis

Confronting you head-on are a hanging flag, and a man in danger of hanging.

The flag, unfurled vertically between two white structural columns in a gallery at El Museo del Barrio, resembles the stars and stripes of the United States, except the blue and red are black, and the white has been dyed a gristly pink — stained with blood, according to the exhibition materials, given by undocumented immigrants living in New York.

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