By filmmaker David Cripton
Born in 1971 in Atlanta, Georgia, Anthony Goicolea is a first-generation Cuban American artist now living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Employing a variety of media, Goicolea explores themes ranging from personal history and identity, to cultural tradition and heritage, to alienation and displacement. His diverse oeuvre encompasses digitally manipulated self-portraits, landscapes, and narrative tableaux executed in a variety of media, including black-and-white and color photography, sculpture and video installations, and multi-layered drawings on Mylar. Best known for his powerful, and often unsettling, staged photographic and video works, Goicolea made his artistic debut in the late 1990s with a series of provocative multiple self-portrait images.
These early works featured groups of young boys on the threshold of adolescence, acting out childhood fantasies and bizarre rituals of revelry and social taboo. Soon thereafter, Goicolea garnered international attention with his ambiguous, yet strangely compelling, landscapes, ranging from dream-like woodland environments to vast, unforgiving urban and industrial wastelands. The artist has created several series of digitally composited, and heretofore uncharted, topographies, often populated by bands of masked and uniformed figures. In recent series, many of the images are devoid of humans, although the landscape reflects an anonymous and increasingly tenuous human presence. Suggesting a world on the brink of obsolescence, these chilling images further cement the pervasive undercurrent of human alienation—from one another as well as the natural environment—that can be traced throughout the artist’s work. Remarkably prolific and inventive, Goicolea continues to intrigue his viewers with meticulously crafted, thought-provoking works.
The artist has exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia—notably at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography, New York . Goicolea’s art is held in many public collections, including those of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; as well as Yale University. It has been featured in ARTnews, Art in America, Art Forum, the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Chicago Tribune, among many others. Goicolea holds a B.A. in art history, with a minor in romance languages, and a B.F.A. in drawing and painting—both earned at the University of Georgia, Athens, in 1992 and 1994, respectively. He received an M.F.A. in sculpture and photography, from Pratt Institute of Art, New York, in 1997.