VISUAL ARTS + MUSEUMS
Cosmopolitan Routes: Houston Collects Latin American Art
October 24, 2010 - February 6, 2011
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) presents the exhibition Cosmopolitan Routes: Houston Collects Latin American Art, on view Sunday, October 24, 2010 - Sunday, February 6, 2011 at the Audrey Jones Beck Building. The exhibition celebrates the ten-year anniversary of the Latin American art department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the vital collection of art it has amassed in a short time frame.
Supported by a collecting community made up of the Founding Members and Latin Maecenas, the MFAH has acquired more than 400 modern and contemporary Latin American artworks and has become a leader in the field. Inspired by the department´s mission to build a high-quality collection, organize groundbreaking exhibitions, uncover new research, and educate diverse audiences about Latin American and Latino art, supporters have accompanied the MFAH´s collecting activities since the department´s inception by both acquiring works for the museum and building their own collections. Cosmopolitan Routes encompasses over 100 works of art—from early modernism and postwar Latin American art to contemporary manifestations—all culled from the private collections of MFAH supporters.
The exhibition is guest curated by Gilbert Vicario, curator at the Des Moines Art Center (and formerly assistant Latin American art curator at MFAH), with support from Mari Carmen Ramírez, MFAH Wortham curator of Latin American art and director of the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), and Elizabeth Cerejido, MFAH assistant curator of Latin American and Latino art. A catalogue will accompany the exhibition, available in February 2011.
"This collecting community did not exist a decade ago," said Vicario. "Through the cornerstones of education and research the museum has galvanized the support of world-class collectors whose passion for art has benefited the Latin American art department in myriad ways. They in turn have become the greatest champions of the department´s mission. Though it is an international community that extends from Houston to cities throughout South America and Europe, made up of individuals with varying collecting philosophies, the collectors are all dedicated to a common goal and visitors will see a variety of artistic expressions—all Latin American masterworks."
"The creation of the museum´s Latin American art department would not have been possible without the pioneering vision of the patrons who make up the Latin Maecenas," said MFAH director Dr. Peter C. Marzio. "These generous individuals took the lead in supporting this under-recognized field, both at the museum and in their own collecting initiatives, and this exhibition will be a great opportunity to see their outstanding, privately held works on public view."
The majority of the collectors lending Latin American artworks to the MFAH are based in Houston, but a number live at least part-time elsewhere around the world, from Carmel, Miami, New York, and Scottsdale in the United States, to Monterrey, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Caracas, Venezuela; São Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Madrid, Spain.
Diverse artistic expressions represented in the exhibition include the School of the South, Brazil´s Concrete and Neo-Concrete avant-garde movements from the 1940s through the ´60s, figurative and surrealist works, video, photography, and contemporary installations. Work by beloved artists first introduced to many in the 2004 MFAH exhibition Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America will be significantly represented—from Joaquín Torres-Garcia and Xul Solar to Julio Alpuy, Luis Benedit, Lygia Clark, Pedro Figari, Gonzalo Fonseca, Gego, Francisco Matto, Luis Felipe Noé, Mira Schendel, Jesús Soto, and Jorge de la Vega.
Works by contemporary Latin American and Latino artists using unexpected materials and new media will also be on view, including Magdalena Fernández, Luis Jiménez, Gabriel de la Mora, Oscar Muñoz, Rivane Neuenschwander, and Dario Robleto. Many of these pieces have never been on view outside of the collectors´ homes and will be presented publicly for the first time.
The exhibition also affords MFAH visitors the chance to see some major masterpieces. On loan from Houston-based collector Marilyn Oshman is Moses (1945) by Frida Kahlo: an ambitious and detailed painting illustrating a multicultural pantheon of political and spiritual heroes within a startling, trompe l´oeil depiction of a human skull. The influential artist and theorist Joaquin Torres-Garcia´s Symmetric Composition #525 in Red (1932), with its vocabulary of pictographic symbols that harmoniously balance intellectual, emotional, and earthly elements, is from the collection of Cornelia and Meredith Long.
Hélio Oiticica, who is acknowledged as one of the most important and groundbreaking contemporary Latin American artists, is represented through his iconic metaesquemas, which have been acquired by several Houston collectors. Outstanding works by Wifredo Lam, Emilio Pettoruti and Diego Rivera, from the Brillembourg Capriles Collection of Latin American Art on long-term loan to the MFAH, will be shown to Houston audiences for the first time.
Additionally, important works by internationally-recognized, contemporary Latin American artists will be prominently featured. For the first time at the MFAH, the work of Peruvian conceptual artist Fernando Bryce, Argentine painter Guillermo Kuitca, Brazilian multi-media artist Vik Muniz, Brazilian installation artist Ernesto Neto, and Colombian sculptor Doris Salcedo will be shown together, creating unexpected dialogues and juxtapositions with works from their historical predecessors.
Cosmopolitan Routes: Houston Collects Latin American Art Catalogue
A hardcover, fully illustrated, 156-page catalogue will accompany the exhibition. Cosmopolitan Routes: Houston Collects Latin American Art situates Latin American art not as a monolithic school, but rather as an evolving discourse that occurs among individual impulses, universal themes, and shared ideas. The publication features a foreword by Mari Carmen Ramirez, The Wortham Curator of Latin American Art, a principal essay by Gilbert Vicario that frames the broad collecting interests of the Latin Maecenas, and a second essay by Elizabeth Cerejido that examines more closely the notion of a community of collectors. The book is co-published by the MFAH and Yale University Press, and distributed by Yale University Press.
About the Latin Maecenas at MFAH
An MFAH patron group, the Latin Maecenas is the first and only patron group in the Unites States dedicated to supporting and promoting Latin American and Latino art. Led by Mari Carmen Ramírez, the Latin Maecenas attend seminars and lectures, interact with important contemporary Latin American and Latino artists, travel with curators to Latin American and U.S. cities to visit public and private art collections, galleries, artists´ studios and art fairs and learn to recognize valuable opportunities in the rapidly expanding market of Latin American art. Funds raised by the group provide support for the purchase of new works of Latin American art for the museum´s permanent collection. For more information, the public should contact Emily Klim at firstname.lastname@example.org or (713) 639-7594.
Cosmopolitan Routes: Houston Collects Latin American Art is one of several exhibitions and events included in the MFAH´s 2010—11 program celebrating the 10th anniversary of the creation of the MFAH´s Latin American Art Department and Collection and the establishment of its companion research institute, the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA). Both were founded in 2001 and are headed by Mari Carmen Ramírez, Wortham Curator of Latin American Art.
Throughout the year, additional activities include:
- February 3—5: The biennial Latin American Experience Gala and Auction, chaired by Dr. Luis T. Campos and Mary Lile, is sponsored by Sotheby´s and proceeds benefit the acquisition of Latin American art for the MFAH´s permanent collection. The experience kicks-off with a party, gallery and auction preview on February 3.
- February 6—July 4: The first large-scale retrospective of the work of Carlos Cruz-Diez will be on view at the MFAH.
- Fall 2011: The ICAA will launch a groundbreaking online resource, Documents of 20th-Century Latin American and Latino Art: A Digital Archive and Publications Project, that will provide a free, universally accessible digital archive of some 10,000 primary sources fundamental to the development of 20th-century Latin American and Latino art.
- Fall 2011: A 14-volume anthology series, published by the MFAH in association with Yale University Press, will be produced in conjunction with the Documents project; volume one will be available in September 2011.
- Winter 2011: Jesús Rafael Soto´s monumental Houston Penetrable, commissioned from the artist in 2004, will be installed at the MFAH.
Organization and Funding
This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Generous funding is provided by Continental Airlines. Additional funding is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Louis K. Adler, Puffer-Sweiven/Emerson Process Management, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Macy´s, and Mr. Samuel F. Gorman.
Artists Featured in Cosmopolitan Routes: Houston Collects Latin American Art -
Luis Fernando Benedit
Gabriel de la Mora
Luis Felipe Noé
Miguel Ángel Rojas
Jesús Rafael Soto
Fernando de Szyszlo
Pablo Vargas Lugo
Jorge de la Vega
Gabriel Acevedo Velarde
Collectors Featured in Cosmopolitan Routes: Houston Collects Latin American Art -
Gail and Louis Adler
Mary and Bernardino Arocha
Allison and David Ayers
Frances and Dr. Donald Baxter
Leslie and Brad Bucher
Cecilia and Dr. Luis T. Campos
Mary and Roy Cullen
Barbara and Michael Gamson
Eugenia and Eduardo C. Grüneisen
Cecilia and Tomás Gunz
Sofia Adrogué and Sten L. Gustafson
Diane and Bruce Halle
Carola and John Herrin
Maria Christina and Pablo Henning
Olive M. Jenney
Rebecca Elizabeth Leach
Cornelia and Meredith J. Long
Sara S. and William V. Morgan
Anne and Jack Moriniere
Carlos Cruz Puga
Rose Mary and Antonio Salum
María Inés Sicardi
Judy and Charles W. Tate
Juan Carlos Uriarte
Carolina and Sergio G. Weitzman
Joanna and Richard Wortham III
Linda and Peter Zweig
Pictured: res, Chica azul (Blue Lady), from the "Conatus" series in collaboration with Constanza Piaggio, 2006, Chromogenic print, © res.