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    La colección latinoamericana del museo Guggenheim / Luis Camnitzer
    Arte en Colombia : internacional (Bogotá, Colombia). -- No. 37 (Sep. 1988)
    p. 31-32 : ill.
    Journal article – Essays
    Camnitzer, Luis. “La colección latinoamericana del museo Guggenheim.” Arte en Colombia: Internacional (Bogotá, Colombia), no. 37 (September 1988): 31–32.

In 1988, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of its founding with a series of exhibitions of works in its permanent collection. Uruguayan artist and critic Luis Camnitzer voices his disappointment with the museum’s collection of Latin American art. In his view, the exhibition of Latin American art indicates the collection’s lack of selection criteria; works seem to be acquired through donations without any overarching vision. This is demonstrated, Camnitzer argues, by the lack of works by Latin American artists in the “Sculpture of the Modern Era” and “Paintings by Modern Masters” sections, restricting artists from the region to a “Latin American Art” section. The exhibition formulates misguided conclusions, such as the idea that Argentina is the only country in the region to have produced important artistic movements after World War II. This state of affairs is symptomatic of the wholesale use of the term “Latin American” which, in Camnitzer’s view, has paradoxical effects. He argues that the use of the “Latin American” category is a “double-edged sword” because, on the one hand, it facilitates the inclusion of art produced in Latin America in international circuits but, on the other, it does so at the cost of reductionism: the category of the Latin American is dependent on universal art.  


Uruguayan printmaker, conceptual artist and critic Luis Camnitzer (b. Germany, 1937) is one of the most important Latin American artists active in the contemporary art scene. Camnitzer has worked widely as an artist, educator, and theorist-critic; he has been one of the most frequent contributors to Revista Arte en Colombia, publishing dozens of articles in that journal since the eighties. These articles trace the development of his thinking on issues like the relationship between art and politics, art education, and the possibilities and limitations of Conceptual art. Camnitzer has contributed greatly to reflection on the production and circulation of Latin American art in the international context. In this article, “La Colección de Arte Latinoamericano del Museo Guggenheim,” he criticizes the term “Latin American” as a category that encompasses art produced in all Latin American countries, pointing out the risks that its use entails “from” or “in” Latin America as well as beyond its confines. This text partakes of the intense intellectual concern in Latin America in the seventies with understanding the artistic realities of the region in terms of their specific contexts.


Sylvia Suárez
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Luis Camnitzer, Great Neck, NY