Carlos Goico (1952–2009), El Pintor Maldito

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The story of Carlos Goico is a sad stroll through the streets of the Zona Colonial district in Santo Domingo. In this historic neighborhood is where many came to know this sensitive artist with a heart warming innocent smile. His workspace included benches and cafés, or any available spots along the streets of El Conde, 19 de Marzo, Sanchez, Santomé and Padre Billini. Famous streets in a famous neighborhood long recognized as an art hub in the Dominican Republic. These same streets are where Carlos Goico also spent many years as a nomadic vagabund. Sleeping on the very same benches where he painted and getting by with what little he could get from his art.

Carlos Goico en el 2007, dos años antes de su muerte.

Carlos Alberto Goico (November 14, 1952 – July 10, 2009) was a self-taught expressionist painter born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. As a teen "he had suffered the terrible impression of seeing his mother, Doña Gina, run over in a traffic accident." This event changed Goico's life; thereafter suffering from mental illness and emotional distress till his final days. He spent many years in and out the manicomio (mental institution), where he gave art lessons to his fellow inmates. According to a childhood friend named Temistocles, Goico experienced "invasive treatments that included at least one lobotomy" during his stays at the manicomio.

His early expressions were on low quality papers, coffee stained cardboards, and any other surface which he could get his hands on. His canvases, were sometimes sheets from local motels painted with broad finger strokes, as no brush was usually available. He frequented the workshops of renown Dominican painters, such as Eligio Pichardo, Ada Balcácer and José Cesteros.

Many of his works consist of portraits and faces: detailed by wide opened eyes. Strange abstractions and figurations; disturbing and shocking, but engaging. In his art Goico released his inner demons and dreams while engaging in conversations with someone or something, which only he could hear.

"I had the joy of meeting Carlos Goico, during one of his "escapes" from the sanitarium for the mentally ill in the Dominican Republic, where in addition to being a patient, he was a teacher of what he knows best, drawing and painting."
—Radames Rivera, fundador Galería Éxodo.
Radames Rivera, founder of Galería Éxodo.
"El pintor maldito, porque el pintor maldito es el pintor que la sociedad no lo quiere, y no quiere la sociedad."
—Carlos Goico, "Un Pintor Maldito" Carlos Goico," 2007.
Autorretrato de Carlos Goico
C. 2009. Imagen via Jose Levy.

Goico vocally rejected academic canons and the elitist art Establishment, in the Dominican Republic. He labeled himself "El pintor maldito," (the damned artist), "because the society did not want him," just as he did not want to be a part of that segment of society.

In 1976, he presents his first solo exhibition at the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library. This is followed by three more shows between 1983 and 1986, increasing his popularity, but remaining a self ostracized artist. Notable exhibitions throughout the 1990s and 2000s include; Biblioteca Nacional (1990), XVII Bienal Nacional de Artes Visuales (1990), Concurso E. León Jimenes; Universidad de Puerto Rico/Simposio Afroamérica y su Cultura Religiosa (1997) and the Centro Cultural de España (2002).

In the final decade of his life, Goico had become a recognized and respected artist within La Zona. A friend and restaurateur had provided Goico with a studio/residence across from the Falafel Zona Colonial bar. In 2004, the first studio exhibition took place at Goico's workshop sponsored by Falafel bar and coordinated by the anthropologist Soraya Aracena.

But the moment of success for this once shunned artist would not last long. On Friday, July 10, 2009, Carlos Goico died of a heart attack while taking a taxi to an art show at Galería Bolós in the Zona Colonial. He was 51 years old.

Sin titulo (El Rey)
Sin titulo (El Rey)
C. 2000. Acrilica sobre carton. 51 x 36 pulg. Imagen: Thomas Connelly.
Angel azul
C. 2002. acrílico sobre papel, 25 x 22 pulgadas. Imagen: Thomas Connelly.
Salvador Dali
Sin fecha, Acrilica sobre papel. 26 x 20 pulg. Imagen: Thomas Connelly.
Luna roja
C. 2002. Acrílico sobre lámina de vinilo. 46 x 27 pulg. Imagen: Thomas Connelly.
Sin titulo
Sin fecha. Imagen: Ytzhak, el Rey del Falafel, via Thomas Connelly.
Mascara Roja
Sin fecha. Acrilica sobre lienzo. 30 x 24 pulg. Imagen: Thomas Connelly.
Sin titulo
Sin fecha. Acrilica. Imagen: Thomas Connelly.
Mascara (Diablo Cojuelo)
Sin fecha. Acrilica. Imagen: Thomas Connelly.
Dos buhos
Sin fecha. Acrilica. Imagen: Thomas Connelly.
Florero en rojo
Sin fcha. Acrilica. Imagen: Thomas Connelly.
Retrato sin titulo
Sin fecha. Acrilica. Imagen: Thomas Connelly.

Credit where it's due

This article was put together from information produce by: Art Critic Fernando Casanova, Art Critic Danilo de los Santos, Reporter Inés Aizpún, Author Amable López Meléndez, Art Dealer Thomas Connelly, Art Dealer Radames Rivera, Documentary Filmmaker Rodrigo Montealegre.

Portrait of Carlos Goico is a still image from the documentary "Un Pintor Maldito" Carlos Goico, by Rodrigo Montealegre.

Carlos Goico self-portrait from 2009, via that other pintor maldito, José Levy.

Special credit to the art dealer, Thomas Connelly: who took a very special interest in Goico. Mr. Connelly has used his resources to help promote the life and art of Carlos Goico with the world. Most of the images used for this article are from a blog created by Mr. Connelly,

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