Artist Spotlight: Martine Gutierrez

Martine Gutierrez is an artist, performer, writer and musician whose photographs, performances, and videos subvert cis, white, Western standards of beauty. In constructing elaborate narrative scenes, the artist challenges pop cultural tropes and explores the intersectionality of race, gender, class and indigeneity relative to personal and collective identity. Her amass of media  — ranging from billboards and episodic films to music videos and her 2018 self-made magazine, Indigenous Woman — produce the very conduits of advertising that sell the identities she disassembles. Simultaneously acting as subject, artist and muse, it is Gutierrez herself who executes every role. Translating her Mayan heritage and Guatemalan-American ethnicity, Gutierrez takes inspiration from ancient Aztec deities that embody historical models of duality and gender-fluidity. As Gutierrez explains, “My authenticity has never been to exist singularly, whether in regard to my gender, my ethnicity, or sexual orientation. My truth thrives in the gray area…”

Martine Gutierrez, Demons, Chin ‘Demon of Lust,’ p93 from Indigenous Woman, 2018, Tia Collection
Martine Gutierrez, Demons, Yemaya ‘Goddess of the Living Ocean,’ p94 from Indigenous Woman, 2018, Tia Collection

In 2018, Gutierrez produced a large-format glossy magazine titled, Indigenous Woman. For the publication, the artist took on every position as editor in chief, creative director, model, photographer, stylist, hair and makeup, and more. In her “Letter From The Editor” Gutierrez asserted, “This is not a magazine about fashion, lifestyle, or celebrity. Indigenous Woman is an independent art publication dedicated to the celebration of Mayan Indian heritage, the navigation of contemporary indigeneity, and the ever-evolving self-image. It is a vision, an overture, a provocation.”

Installation of Martine Gutierrez: Indigenous Woman, Ryan Lee Gallery, New York, 2018
Martine Gutierrez, Queer Rage, Imagine Life-Size, and I’m Tyra, p66-67 from Indigenous Woman, 2018, Tia Collection

As an extension of that project and the artist’s continued exploration of identity, Gutierrez has recently executed a large-scale public art commission in collaboration with the Public Art Fund. Titled ANTI-ICON, the series features photographic portraits of Gutierrez portraying ten groundbreaking icons: Aphrodite, Atargatis, Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, Gabriel, Godiva, Helen of Troy, Judith, Mulan, and Queen of Sheba. Presented like advertisement posters, the larger-than-life portraits can be found on 300 JCDecaux bus shelters across New York, Chicago, and Boston.

Martine Gutierrez, ANTI-ICON, 2021. Courtesy the artist and RYAN LEE Gallery, NY. Photo: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund, NY. Photographic work as part of Martine Gutierrez: ANTI-ICON, an exhibition on 300 JCDecaux bus shelters displayed across New York City, Chicago, and Boston, August 25–November 21, 2021.

This series is complimented by another public art installation – a billboard project organized by the Whitney Museum of Art as part of their Outside the Box programming. Made in the signature style of Gutierrez’s photo performances, Supremacy embodies the artist’s investigation of archetypes of women celebrated by media as brand ambassadors of beauty and authenticity. While slated for October 2021, the installation has been postponed to a later date due to construction.

Her work can be found at The Momentary, a satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, in the upcoming group exhibition In Some Form or FashionOpening November 2021, the exhibition features site-responsive, large-scale installations that examine the cultural implications of fashion and how it shapes identity.

Martine Gutierrez, Supremacy, 2021, Whitney Museum of American Art

Martine Gutierrez (b. 1989) received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. She is also a published musician and has produced several commercial videos. Gutierrez lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.