Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Aracy Amaral discusses the different approaches taken by curators of exhibitions of Latin American art in Europe and North America. She analyzes the various reviews published in the British press on the occasion of the Art in Latin America exhibition—curated by Dawn Ades—and focuses on some of the curatorial decisions. Amaral concludes that the overall approach tends to lean heavily toward the picturesque, with a preponderance of non-urban themes steeped in nature, rural settings, and portrayals of mestizo and “different” life, while ignoring any hint of urban or scholarly subject matter that is inevitably identified with First World art and its derivatives. The British exhibition was solidly focused on art of an exotic nature and with sociopolitical messages, at the expense of the visual art qualities per se of the works. Amaral believes it is inappropriate to lump together the work of such different artists and pigeonhole them as Surrealists without due recognition of significant, groundbreaking artists, such as Roberto Matta and Wifredo Lam. Amaral scrutinizes in great detail the evident flaws in the exhibition where insufficient attention was paid to the constructive movements that flowered in Latin America, and which in her opinion, made such an important contribution to twentieth-century Latin American art.      

Leia esta sinopse em português
Synopsis

Aracy Amaral comenta sobre a diferença de foco gerada pelas exposições sobre arte latino-americana organizadas por europeus ou norte-americanos. Analisa os diversos discursos veiculados pela imprensa inglesa na ocasião da mostra Art in Latin América, sob curadoria de Dawn Ades, e também as escolhas curatoriais da exposição. Conclui que a visão predominante continua sendo pitoresca, ligada aos aspectos não urbanos, que apontam para a natureza, o rural, o mestiço e o diferente, deixando de lado os aspectos urbanos eruditos, relegados como subprodutos do primeiro mundo. O caráter exótico e a relação da arte com aspectos sociais e políticos seriam priorizados, em detrimento dos aspectos puramente plásticos. A autora considera inadequada a mistura de artistas muito diferentes dentro do segmento que os aproxima do surrealismo, sem dar o devido valor a artistas com contribuições decisivas para a arte, a exemplo de Roberto Matta e Wifredo Lam. Pondera também sobre as falhas da mostra que enfraquecem a presença dos movimentos construtivos na América Latina, que acredita ser a grande contribuição do continente à arte do século XX.

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Annotations

Aracy A. Amaral (b. 1930) is an art critic and historian who has taken a keen interest in Latin American art since 1975. She participated in the Austin Symposium, in Texas, and subsequently developed relationships with Latin American art critics, such as the Argentine Damian C. Bayón (1915–90), who organized the event; the Peruvian-born Juan Acha (1916–95), who lived in Mexico; and Marta Traba (1923–83), the Argentinean-born critic who lived in Colombia. The anthology Visión del arte latinoamericano en la década de 1980, in which this essay was included, was produced by the Centro Wifredo Lam, that was founded in Havana in 1983. The following year (1984) it was responsible for organizing the Havana Biennial. This document is important because it highlights an endemic problem of cultural dependence; that is, the foreign perception of the “other” that delineates the parameters of Latin American art, myopically focused solely on the exotic aspect of the genre while ignoring its formal or scholarly contributions. 

Leia este comentário crítico em português
Annotations

Aracy Amaral é historiadora e crítica de arte, e desde 1975 desenvolve um interesse específico sobre a arte latino-americana, tendo participado do Simpósio de Austin, no Texas, e se aproximado de críticos latino-americanos, como Damian Bayon, Juan Acha e Marta Traba. A antologia Vision del Arte latinoamericano en la década de 1980 foi organizada pelo Centro Wifredo Lam, criado em 1983 em Havana, Cuba, que, desde 1984,organiza a Bienal de Havana. Esse texto aponta para o problema da visão estrangeira sobre a arte latino-americana, que tende a perceber apenas o exotismo, e não contribuições formais e eruditas.

a- Revisão da história da arte a partir de uma perspectiva continental

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Researcher
Marco Andrade
Team
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Credit
Courtesy of personal archives of Aracy A. Amaral, São Paulo, Brazil.
Reproduced with permission of UNDP, New York, NY
Location
Biblioteca do Museu de Arte Contemporânea da USP