Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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    In the introduction to Building on a Construct, Héctor Olea and Mari Carmen Ramírez attribute Adolpho Leirner’s collection to lending “global visibility in the last twenty years,” to Brazilian Constructive art. They mention significant artists within the colletion such as, Lygia Clark, Mira Schendel, and Alfredo Volpi, as well as lesser known artists such as, Waldemar Cordeiro and Luis Sacilotto. They believe the display of Adolpho Leirner’s collection “has attracted the attention of non-Brazilian scholars and curators abroad,” which has in-turn, “stimulated the emergence of a new corpus of research on these experimental creators and groundbreaking artistic movements, both inside and outside Brazil.”

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    As an introduction to the publication compiled of 16 essays titled Building on a Construct, Héctor Olea and Mari Carmen Ramírez write on the significance of Adolpho Leirner’s Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art and its contribution to the scope of research and scholarship, regarding Latin American and Latino art. They mention the importance of the multi-year initiative headed by Ramírez, Documents of the Twentieth Century Latin American and Latino Art: A Digital Archive and Publications Project, established in 2001, and its purpose to build an intellectual bridge between the museum and university, by the exchange of “ideas- through research, symposia, exhibitions, and above all, a substantial collection-building effort- among scholars, curators, artists and other arts professionals from Latin America, Europe, and the United States.” They remark that this publications contributes to the investigation of contextual issues, which have “added fresh perspectives on the trajectory of specific artists that shed new light on their radical accomplishments and also on the movements that they founded during this period.”

     

    This brief essay provides insight to the impact being made on behalf of the ICAA and MFAH, in regards to its mission in scholarship and recognition of Latin American and Latino Art. [See in ICAA digital archive, the texts: “Preface” by Adolpho Leirner (doc. no. 1324518), “A Curator/A Catalogue” by Aracy Amaral (doc. no. 1324585) and “Brazilian Concretismo” by Nicolau Sevcenko (doc. no. 1324569) regarding the publication Building on a Construct: The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art]

     

    Héctor Olea is the translations and publications editor for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), as well as an intellectual, independent scholar and curator specializing in Latin American modern art. He has organized, contributed to and edited numerous publications including but not limited to, Critical Documents of 20th Century Latin American and Latino Art: Resisting Categories (2012); Building on a Construct (2010); Inverted Utopias (2006) and Versions and Inversions (2006).

     

    Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mari Carmen Ramírez (b. 1955) received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Chicago in 1989. She is the Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and Director of the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Recent exhibitions curated by Ramírez include: Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950 (2017); Adíos Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950 (2017) and Contingent Beauty: Contemporary Art from Latin America (2016). At the ICAA, Ramírez conceptualized and oversees the continental initiative Documents of 20th Century Latin American and Latino Art: A Digital Archive and Publications Project. In addition to her work with Latin American art and artists, she has published widely on a broad range of topics that include the relationship of this art to identity politics, multiculturalism, globalization, and curatorial practice. In 1997 she received the Peter Norton Family Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence and in 2005 she was the recipient of the Award for Curatorial Excellence granted by the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.