Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Other ICAA Publications

The ICAA has established a rigorous publishing program that serves as the foundation for the research, scholarship, and exhibition initiatives of the ICAA and the Latin American Art Department of the MFAH. The ICAA has published fifteen books and exhibition catalogues since 2001.


Contingent Beauty: Contemporary Art from Latin America (2015)

Edited by Mari Carmen Ramírez; with contributions by María C. Gaztambide, Rachel Mohl, Beatriz R. Olivetti, Gabriela Rangel, Tahía Rivero, Osvaldo Sánchez, Michael Wellen, and Daniela Wüstenberg. Encompassing a variety of media—including painting, drawing, sculpture, and video—the majority of these innovative works included in the exhibition are culled from the holdings of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which possesses an exceptional collection of contemporary Latin American art. Many Latin American artists seamlessly intertwine aesthetic refinement with biting critiques of social and political issues. Contingent Beauty assembles major works by more than 20 such artists who have made significant contributions to the global art scene over the past 30 years.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Untangling the Web: Gego's Reticulárea, an Anthology of Critical Response (2013)

Gego (born Gertrud Goldschimdt, 1912–1994) pioneered a new direction in art with her innovative sculptures of the 1960s and 1970s. Born in Germany, she fled the Nazi regime and moved to Caracas, Venezuela, where she absorbed modernist trends but ultimately forged her own artistic path. Exploring the concept of the line, space, and time, she linked pieces of metal to create weblike geometric forms, which she called “drawings in space.” These experiments culminated in Reticulárea, a massive netlike sculptural installation first presented at the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, in 1969. This groundbreaking work had major repercussions in the art world and marked a turning point in Gego’s career. Centered on the various iterations of this work and its artistic impact, this anthology brings together images as well as documentary materials and primary texts in English and Spanish by artists, writers, and Gego. Organized by María Elena Huizi and Ester Crespín; Edited by Mari Carmen Ramírez and Melina Kervandjian.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Antonio Berni: Juanito and Ramona (2013)

Written by leading scholars of Latin American art, this handsome volume presents the first comprehensive survey of the internationally acclaimed Juanito and Ramona series by Argentinean artist Antonio Berni (1905–1981). Richly illustrated with more than 250 color images, the volume brings together nearly two decades of Berni’s monumental, mixed-media reliefs and assemblages, experimental works on paper, and sculptural constructions made of found, everyday objects. A figurative artist, Berni is known for his aesthetic originality and for art steeped in social commentary. In the 1950s, he inaugurated a series of works that documented the lives of two fictional characters, Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel. Through the stories of Juanito, a denizen of Argentina’s shantytowns, and Ramona, who rises from the working class to the upper echelons of society, Berni addressed topics from industrialization to neocolonialism to economic backwardness and their effects on the population of underdeveloped countries.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Intersecting Modernities: Latin American art from the Brillembourg Capriles Collection (2013)

Tanya Capriles de Brillembourg has assembled one of the most superb collections of modern Latin American art in the world. Including masterworks by some of the most inventive artists of the 20th century, and also of our time, this volume offers beautiful illustrations accompanied by insightful essays that offer a context for the rarely exhibited works. The volume features works by Joaquín Torres-García, Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Armando Reverón, and Wifredo Lam, among others. The book also includes brief biographies of each of the nineteen artists represented, and an interview by Mari Carmen Ramírez with the collector exploring Capriles de Brillembourg’s unique philanthropic path. Edited by Mari Carmen Ramírez and with contributions by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, María C. Gaztambide, Marcela Guerrero, Abigail McEwen, Rachel Mohl, James Oles, Mari Carmen Ramírez, and Michael Wellen.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Modern and Contemporary Masterworks from MALBA - Fundación Costantini (2012)

In 2001, Eduardo Costantini, the founder of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), began collecting artworks from across Latin America. Today, the renowned Costantini Collection consists of more than two hundred works, encompassing drawings, paintings, sculptures, and objects by seventy-eight artists from various countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, and Venezuela. In the spirit of cultural exchange, MALBA and the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, came together in 2012 to exhibit fifty of these works, spanning from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. An interview by Mari Carmen Ramírez with Costantini sheds light on his philosophy of collecting, and texts by Marcelo Pacheco offer insights into the broad range of modern and contemporary art created in Latin America.


Carlos Cruz Diez: Color in Space and Time (2011)

Edited by Mari Carmen Ramírez and Héctor Olea; with texts by Carlos Cruz-Diez, Mari Carmen Ramírez, and Héctor Olea and contributions by Silvia Ana Ramírez de Cruz. This monumental volume traces the full trajectory of the artist's career, from early, rarely published figurative works, to interactive series that continue to this day, to architectural projects in public spaces around the world. The book features an essay, an interview with Cruz-Diez, a selection of his own writings, texts by Frank Popper, Alfredo Boulton, and Jean Clay—three early champions of his work—and a 75-page illustrated chronology.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Building on a Construct: The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2009)

Edited by Héctor Olea and Mari Carmen Ramírez, the volume assesses the state of research on avant-garde artists and groups that constituted the Concrete and Neo-Concrete tendencies in postwar Brazilian art, and seeks to generate updated frameworks and new lines of investigation for the interpretation of these interrelated tendencies. The volume includes thirteen specially commissioned essays by a group of distinguished artists, critics, and scholars from Brazil and the United States that includes Héctor Olea, Mari Carmen Ramírez, Nicolau Sevcenko, Aracy Amaral, María Amalia García, Alexandre Wollner, Francisco Alambert, Luiz Camillo Osorio, and Rodrigo Naves, among others.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Hélio Oiticica: The Body of Color (2007)

Drawing on new research and including previously unseen works, this is the most extensive publication to date on the Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980). The Body of Color traces the conceptual and technical processes that led to Oiticica’s emancipation of color into space through the various series created by the artist. The Body of Color features essays by Mari Carmen Ramírez; Luciano Figueiredo, director of the Centro Hélio Oiticica in Rio de Janeiro; and Wynne H. Phelan, conservation director at the MFAH, as well as previously unpublished translations of texts by the artist.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Constructing a Poetic Universe: The Diane and Bruce Halle Collection of Latin American Art (2007)

Drawing on the collection of Diane and Bruce Halle, Constructing a Poetic Universe features not only the work of artists from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, but also works by American and European artists based in Latin America and by Latin American artists based in North America and Europe. Illuminating essays by Beverly Adams, Juan Ledezma, Mari Carmen Ramírez, Suely Rolnik, Osvaldo Sánchez, and Sonia Salzstein—considered some of the region’s leading scholarly practitioners—examine such prominent issues as introspection and identity, theatricality and performance in the visual arts, and the rise of multiculturalism and globalism in contemporary art.
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Dimensions of Constructive Art in Brazil: The Adolpho Leirner Collection (2007)

This beautifully illustrated book salutes the 2007 acquisition by the MFAH of the Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art, one of the most important and complete collections in the world devoted to modern Latin American art in the 1950s and 1960s. Authored by Mari Carmen Rámirez and Adolpho Leirner, the catalogue illustrates and documents the history of the Constructive movement, which includes artists such as Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Luis Sacilotto, and Waldemar Cordeiro.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Versions and Inversions: Perspectives on Avant-Garde Art in Latin America (2006)

In 2004, the MFAH organized and presented Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America, a critically acclaimed exhibition focusing on the development of avant-garde art in Latin America from 1920 to 1970. At the time of the exhibition, a major symposium was held at the museum. Edited by Héctor Olea and Mari Carmen Ramírez, this book brings together texts and commentary by leading art historians and critics who participated in the event, including Gabriel Peluffo Linari, Andrea Giunta, Luis Camnitzer, Terry Smith, and Lucy R. Lippard, among others. A wide range of topics is covered, including the avant-garde in America and Europe, Argentine art in the 1960s, Latin American Conceptualism, and Brazilian art trends of the 1950s.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Gego: entre la transparencia y lo invisible/Gego: Between Transparency and the Invisible (2006)

Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt, 1912–1994) produced a range of line-based abstract work, including drawings, prints, and wire sculptures. Focusing on a rare series of monotypes from the early 1950s, drawings and prints, and “drawings without paper” and tejeduras (woven paper pieces) of the late 1970s and 1980s, this fascinating book traces Gego’s exploration of line and space. Mari Carmen Ramírez, Catherine de Zegher, Robert Storr, and Josefina Manrique contributed essays to this book.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Sabiduras y otros textos de Gego/Sabiduras and Other Texts by Gego (2005)

In 1999, a folder was found in a storage trunk that had belonged to Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt, 1912–1994) with the word Sabiduras (loosely translated as “Words of Wisdom”) written on the cover. The contents of the folder were developed into an important book, which contains previously unknown texts, word poems, and notes by the artist. Sabiduras y otros textos de Gego/Sabiduras and Other Texts by Gego assembles all of these writings together for the first time, providing an unprecedented look at Gego’s philosophies of art and religion, her creative thought process, and her vast knowledge. Compiled and edited by María Elena Huizi and Josefina Manrique, Sabiduras also includes an introduction by Mari Carmen Ramírez.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America (2004)

In the twentieth century, Latin America’s avant-garde artists created extraordinary and highly innovative paintings, sculptures, assemblages, mixed-media works, and installations. This innovative book, edited by Héctor Olea and Mari Carmen Ramírez, presents more than 250 works by some 70 of these artists (including Gego, Joaquín Torres-García, Xul Solar, and José Clemente Orozco) and artists’ groups, along with interpretive essays by leading authorities such as Marcelo Pacheco, Ariel Jiménez, Luis Pérez Oramas, Paulo Herkenhoff, Guy Brett, among others, as well as more than one hundred newly translated manifestoes and other theoretical documents written by the artists.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Questioning the Line: Gego in Context (2003)

Though once little known outside Latin America, Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt, 1912–1994) enjoyed a dialogue with twentieth-century artists and movements active not only in Venezuela, but also worldwide. Edited by Mari Carmen Ramírez and Theresa Papanikolas, Questioning the Line—the second in the ICAA series of scholarly colloquia—examines Gego’s work in relation to Modernism, Informalism, Kinetic art, and other tendencies, and situates the artist in her proper international context. Included in the book are essays by Ramírez, Iris Peruga, Richard Shiff, and Luis Pérez Oramas, among others.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


Collecting Latin American Art for the 21st Century (2002)

This first publication of the ICAA, Collecting Latin American Art for the 21st Century, explores the shifting profile of Latin American collections. What are the challenges of collecting the art of such a heterogeneous region? How have local collectors balanced individual tastes with the demands of a globalized art world? Through a series of case studies edited by Mari Carmen Ramírez and Theresa Papanikolas, contributors including Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Oliver Debroise, Beverly Adams, and Luis Pérez Oramas examine the history and context behind this largely unprecedented trend.
Available for purchase at The MFAH Shop.


ICAA Documents Project Working Papers

The ICAA also publishes the ICAA Documents Project Working Papers, an occasional series that brings together papers stemming from the Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Project at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Edited by María C. Gaztambide, Director of the ICAA Documents Project and Senior Research and Publications Associate, ICAA, the volumes are available in both print and electronic formats.
Free downloads available.

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