ALBANY, NY – Latin American and Caribbean Art: Selected Highlights from the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) opens at the New York State Museum. On view through October 13 in the Museum’s West Gallery, the exhibition is the 19th installment of the Bank of America Great Art Exhibition and Education Program, which brings art from New York State’s leading art museums to the State Museum. This also is the fourth exhibition in the Bank of America Great Art Series drawn from the Museum of Modern Art’s collections.
The exhibition will showcase a selection of more than 50 works from MoMA’s collection of Latin American and Caribbean art, ranging from early modern to contemporary, tracing significant stylistic trends and movements found in works from this region. With some 3,500 works, MoMA currently holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of Latin American and Caribbean art.
Included in the exhibition are significant works of artists as varied as Wifredo Lam, Diego Rivera, Joaquín Torres-García, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Emilio Pettoruti, Matta, Hector Hyppolyte, Marisol, Alejandro Otero, Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and others. This exhibition is organized in two sections. The first includes significant examples of early modernism in Latin America — embracing Mexican muralism, Caribbean early modern figuration, surrealism, late modern figuration and landscape, and Latin American pop art. The second section includes radical examples of the concrete and neo-constructivist movements that offered a fertile field for the transformation of constructivism in Latin America, from the early modernists to mid-20th century artists. This section of the exhibition ends with a selection of contemporary artists whose works both reflect, and radically transform, historical traditions and precedents.
Together, the works in this exhibition deliver a lesson not only about Latin American art, but about modern art in general: that modernity was never completely unified but, rather, existed as various constellations of artists, singular individuals, and complex collective experiences. The exhibition is organized by Luis Pérez-Oramas, the Estrellita Brodsky curator of Latin American Art, and Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães, curatorial assistant with the Museum of Modern Art.
MoMA’s long history of collecting Latin American and Caribbean art began in the 1930s, when it became the first institution outside of Latin America to collect, display, and study this art. Through these activities, MoMA played an important role in shaping the perception of Latin American and Caribbean art in the United States. Alfred H. Barr, MoMA’s founding director, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, co-founder, were early champions for inclusion of Latin American artists in MoMA’s collection. Mrs. Rockefeller donated the first such works, with a gift of 36 paintings and 105 drawings, including important works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. The tradition continued throughout the 20th century, with important gifts from former Governor Nelson Rockefeller and David Rockefeller.
The New York State Museum is a cultural program of the New York State Education Department. Started in 1836, the Museum has the longest continuously operating state natural history research and collection survey in the United States. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, N.Y. the Museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.