Occupation: Painter
Movement: Contemporary Art
Famous Works
“R,” 1985
“Foot Fetish,” 2010
“Untitled (Maybe This Could be the Title: Henry Taylor's Version of Bohemian Rhapsody),” 2012
“Bureau of Artistic Rehab Logo 4,” 2012
“Insane in the Membrane,” 2013
“Las Plagas,” 2014
Manuel Ocampo is a Filipino artist who earned fame during the 1990s for his iconoclastic paintings associating religious symbolism with political and racial oppression in contemporary society. 
Ocampo’s work relies heavily on the use of Spanish Catholic iconography to depict the intensity of religious fervor and colonial oppression against the backdrop of contemporary secular postmodern doubt. Ocampo’s work has been described by commentators as visually nightmarish and thematically complex. He is a recipient of grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, not to mention a winner of the Rome Prize awarded by the American Academy in Rome. Ocampo was also announced as representing Philippines, along with Lani Maestro, at the Venice Biennale 2017.
Manuel Ocampo was born in 1965 in Quezon City in the Philippines. As a child, he was introduced to the practice of painting by the priests at his Catholic school who taught him to make copies of devotional paintings. He studied at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, graduating in 1984 with a degree in fine arts. The following year, he moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at the California State University in Bakersfield. In 1988, Ocampo mounted his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, receiving favorable reviews and generating a great deal of interest in his work. His big break came in 1992 when his work was included in the landmark exhibition “Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s.” That very year, he also participated in Dokumenta in Kassel and in 1993, participated at the Venice Biennale as well.
Political Art
Ocampo’s work was remarked to have been politically charged in 1990s. His style drew upon particularly art historical visual references and represented nightmarish scenes of contemporary oppression and the scars of a colonialist past. His energetic and visually challenging work attracted critics and collectors alike and Ocampo exhibited his work widely across Europe and the United States during the 1990s. His paintings have been described as drawing upon Gothic horror in terms of its internal drama and his work is characterized by the artist’s attempt to transform the feeling the horror into an experience of beauty. At Dokumenta for instance, one of his paintings was left out of the exhibition because it featured several Nazi swastikas.
By the 2000s, Ocampo was an internationally famous artist. He began to spend more time in Europe as he participated in several important international expositions in Berlin, Venice, Seville, Luxembourg as well as in Gwangju in South Korea. Most recently however his work has undergone a degree of change, transitioning from overt political comment to more idiosyncratic explorations of haunting personal visions. For instance, religious iconography has given way to representations of teeth and bone as symbols. Whereas previously the dream-like quality of his paintings relied on his bold use of color, his later works express the same shadowy effects with blacks and grays instead — he later stated that he’d become bored with his previous artistic direction.
Ocampo current lives in Manila in the Philippines and is the country’s most active and well-known international artist. He is one of two artists representing the Philippines at the 2017 Venice Biennale.
1965  -  Born in Quezon City, Philippines
1984  -  University of the Philippines, Quezon City
1985  -  California State University, Bakersfield, California
1995  -  Recipient, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant
1995  -  Recipient, The Rome Prize, American Academy in Rome, Rome
1996  -  Recipient, The National Endowment for the Arts grant
1996  -  Lives and works in Manila, Philippines
Major Exhibitions
2000  -  Galerie Philomene Magers, Munich
2000  -  Galerie Baerbel Grasslin, Frankfurt
2000  -  Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
2000  -  Galerie Michael Neff, Frankfurt 
2001  -  Galeria OMR, Mexico City
2001  -  Babilonia 1808, Berkeley, California
2007  -  Nosbaum & Reding Art Contemporain, Luxembourg
2009  -  Orel Art, Paris
2009  -  Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Fitzroy, Australia
2010  -  Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York
2012  -  Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York
2013  -  Galerie Nosbaum & Reding Art Contemporain, Luxembourg
2014  -  Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris
2015  -  Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York
2015  -  Galerie Nosbaum & Reding Art Contemporain, Luxembourg
Museums / Collections
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Oakland Museum, California
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California
The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid 
Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, Badajoz, Spain
Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Valencia
Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Canary Islands, Spain 
Sintra Museu de Arte Moderna, Lisbon
Fonds National D’Art Contemporain, Paris
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Mudam Luxembourg, Luxembourg
FRAC Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier, France
FRAC Île-de-France, Le Plateau, Paris
Museo Berado, Lisbon
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Books/ Publications
“Paintings of Manuel Ocampo, Virgin Destroyer” by Jennifer Bloom

Art History Cut from UK Schools, Fake Ticket Scandal at Versailles, and More

By Taylor Dafoe | October 14, 2016