Published: April 20, 2004
A landmark collaboration between El Museo del Barrio and The Museum of Modern Art has resulted in the exhibition “MoMA at El Museo: Latin American and Caribbean Art from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art” on view through July 25.
In 1935, The Museum of Modern Art became the first museum outside of Latin America to collect modern works by artists from this region. This compelling exhibition traces the history of MoMA’s acquisitions of Latin American and Caribbean art from the late 1930s to the present, featuring more than 150 seminal works drawn from MoMA’s departments of painting and sculpture, drawings and prints and illustrated books.
El Museo Del Barrio is at 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street. A full range of educational and cultural programs will accompany the exhibition, including a scholarly symposium, a video marathon, music and dance performances and a street festival celebration.
“‘MoMA at El Museo’ is designed to shed light on important Latin American and Caribbean artists over a period of more than 50 years while providing an opportunity for the public to view familiar and lesser known works from one of the greatest collections of its kind,” said Fatima Bercht, chief curator, El Museo del Barrio. “As the foremost center for Latino arts and culture, El Museo del Barrio provides an exceptional perspective and context for MoMA’s collection in this area.”
The show is organized in four chronological sections reflecting the history of MOMA’s collecting. The first section of the exhibition begins with major paintings and drawings acquired in the 1930s by Jose Clemente Orozco (Mexico, 1883-1949); Diego Rivera (Mexico, 1886-1957); and David Alfaro Siqueiros (Mexico, 1896-1974). These early acquisitions and gifts entered the collection shortly after they were created and set a precedent for MoMA as a collector of contemporary art.
The second section highlights works acquired after the creation of MoMA’s Inter-American Fund in 1942. This fund enabled the museum during the 1940s to obtain an extensive range of works reflecting both geographic and stylistic diversity, including masterpieces by artists such as Frida Kahlo (Mexico, 1907-1954), Wifredo Lam (Cuba, 1902-1982); Roberto Sebastian Matta (Chile, 1911-2002); Candido Portinari (Brazil, 1903-1962); Rufino Tamayo (Mexico, 1899-1991); and Joaquin Torres-Garcia (Uruguay, 1874-1949.
The third section of the exhibition focuses on the 1960s, when MoMA markedly increased its acquisitions from Argentina, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and other countries, with a particular emphasis on drawings, print portfolios and artists’ books.
Important paintings and sculptures by major artists, including Fernando Botero (Colombia, born 1932); Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt, Venezuela, born Germany 1912-1994); Julio Le Parc (Argentina, born 1928); Marisol (Marisol Escobar, Venezuela, born 1930 in France); Rafael Montanez Ortiz (Puerto Rico, born 1934); and Jesus Rafael Soto (Venezuela, born 1923), also entered the collection at this time and are represented in the exhibition.
The fourth and final section of the exhibition presents MoMA’s most recent acquisitions. The contemporary works from this section include a range of works in a variety of media by artists such as Fernando Bryce (Peru, born 1965); Guillermo Kuitca (Argentina, born 1961); Jose Leonilson (Brazil, 1953-1994); Cildo Meireles (Brazil, born 1948); Vik Muniz (Brazil, born 1961); Gabriel Orozco (Mexico, born 1962); and Doris Salcedo (Colombia, born 1958).
A 185-page book with forewords by El Museo Director Julian Zugazagoitia and MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry, will accompany the exhibition.
El Museo del Barrio is at 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street. Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm; Thursday, 11 am to 8 pm. For information, 212-831-7272.
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