The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) published this catalog along with the 1943 exhibition, The Latin American Collection of the Museum of Modern Art. It was the first major exhibition of Latin American art at MoMA, and it included works by Latin American artists that the museum had acquired in recent years. To a large extent, the museum’s growing interest in Latin American modern art was related to the prestige of the Mexican School of Painting in the U.S. art scene. However, the promotion of Latin American art also grew out of the cultural and political rapprochement of the United States with Latin America in response to the pressures of World War II. The exhibition curator and catalog coordinator was Lincoln Kirstein, whose study of Latin American art history ranged from the period of the European conquest through the twentieth century. The publication is organized by country, and within each country, by its most representative artists. The countries covered are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. Biographical notes and a detailed bibliography are included in the catalog.
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The exhibition, The Latin American Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, was one of the first of its type in the United States. Lincoln Kirstein (1907-96), the curator responsible for the exhibition, was assisted by MoMA’s founding director, Alfred H. Barr Jr. (1902-81). By that time, Barr was serving as the director of the museum’s painting and sculpture department. Beyond that assistance, Kirstein also had support and advice from museum directors, gallery owners, scholars, and artists in the various Latin American countries. Accompanied by Barr, Kirstein had visited these art experts in the months that preceded the exhibition. During these visits, Kirstein used a special museum fund set up for acquiring pieces that would substantially expand MoMA’s formerly modest Latin American art collection. For all these reasons, the exhibition would serve as a model for presenting other Latin American art exhibitions both at MoMA and at other U.S. museums over the course of the twentieth century.