Synopses & Reviews
Exploring cutting-edge techniques and daring themes, 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. Encompassing a variety of mediaandmdash;including painting, drawing, sculpture, and videoandmdash;the majority of these innovative works are culled from the holdings of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which possesses an exceptional collection of contemporary Latin American art.
These objects, while formally sophisticated and alluring, are not ends unto themselves but rather tools intended to heighten viewersandrsquo; awareness of critical factors that shape the lives of these artists, such as poverty, gender, political repression, the war on drugs, and globalization. In some instances, the andldquo;beautyandrdquo; of these works is contingent upon cultural interpretation. Tensions between beauty and violence, seduction and repulsion, elegance and brutality contribute to the enduring impact of this art and provide a revelatory experience for readers.
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, are joining together to exhibit fifty of these works, spanning from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. Among the celebrated artists represented in this beautiful book are Frida Kahlo, Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, and Diego Rivera. Also of note are works by Tarsila do Amaral, Rafael Barradas, Antonio Berni, and Alfredo Guttero. An interview by Mari Carmen Ramand#237;rez 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.
Major works by contemporary Latin American artists, assembled as a group in this revelatory volume, demonstrate a seamless combination of aesthetic refinement and biting critique of social and political issues.
About the Author
Mari Carmen Ramand#237;rez is the Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and director of the ICAA at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Marcelo E. Pacheco is chief curator at MALBA.