An interview of Raquel Rabinovich conducted 2012 September 25 and October 9, by James McElhinney, for the Archives of American Art, at Rabinovich's home, in Rhinebeck, New York.
Rabinovich speaks of growing up in Argentina; becoming aware of art; reproductions and books; European art; her Jewish heritage; her parents moving to Argentina before World War I; Jewish persecution; her parents' background; living in Cordoba; speaking Spanish and Yiddish growing up; quiet reflections; church; art exposure; traveling and moving to Paris; the influence of Ernesto Farina; Peron's dictatorship and rebellion; attending medical school and the call of art; political activities and spending time in jail; meeting Jose and moving to Scotland; Paris and exposure to artwork; teachings of Andre Lhote; her early works; abstraction; painting; the Mona Lisa; darkness and light; "The Dark is Light Enough"; exposure to literature and poetry; living in Copenhagen; meeting Jorge Luis Borges; the Book of Sand; her siblings; her children and her relationship to them; staying up to date with current events; libraries and a lack of books growing up; meditation; texture and the monochromatic works; interest in Jasper Johns' work; meeting Jasper Johns; living in New York; trip to Machu Picchu and spending the night outdoors; "Cloister, Crossing, Passageway 1.32"; glassworks and transparency; exhibiting artwork; her divorce; Rodolfo Mondolfo; environment and exposure; quiet contemplation; spending time with artwork; commissioned work near High Falls; "River Library"; libraries as places of knowledge; minimalism; the 1980s; her daughter's wedding and her relationship with Jose; stones; traveling to Nepal, Thailand, India, and Egypt; temples; Buddhism; "Chhodrtens"; garbhagrihas; NEA fellowship and residency in Paris; "Thrones for the Gods"; INTAR Gallery; "Gateless Gates"; artifacts; Pabhavikas sculpture; Charles Stein; Linda Weintraub; George Quasha; Station Hill Press; "Enfolded Darkness" and "Light Unworn". Rabinovich also recalls Baron Hughes, Beethoven, Lenin, Diego Velazquez, Andre Lhote, Mondrian, Picasso, Braque, David Levi Straus, Robert Kelly, Cezanne, Philip Pavia, Agnes Martin, Dorothea Rockburne, Barry Schwabsky, Bill Zimmer, Agnes Denes, Louisa Valenzuela, Julia Herzberg, and Marco Maggi.
Biographical / Historical:
Raquel Rabinovich (1929- ) is a painter and sculptor in Rhinebeck, New York. James McElhinney (1952- ) is a painter and educator from New York, New York.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.