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Latin American and Caribbean Art

El Museo del Barrio, New York

More than 150 seminal works

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New York's Premier Latino Cultural Institution in Landmark Collaboration with MoMA to Present More than 150 Significant Works

In a landmark collaboration between New York's premier institution dedicated to Latino art and culture and the world's foremost museum of modern and contemporary art, El Museo del Barrio and The Museum of Modern Art will present the exhibition, MoMA at El Museo: Latin American and Caribbean Art from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art. In 1935, The Museum of Modern Art became the first museum outside of Latin America to collect modern works by artists from this region. This compelling exhibition traces the history of MoMA's acquisitions of Latin American and Caribbean art from the late 1930s to the present, featuring more than 150 seminal works drawn from MoMA's Departments of Painting and Sculpture, Drawings, and Prints and Illustrated Books. MoMA at El Museo will be on view from March 5 through July 25, 2004 at El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street. A full range of educational and cultural programs will accompany the exhibition, including a scholarly symposium, a video marathon, music and dance performances, and a street festival celebration. A press preview will be held on Tuesday, March 2, 2004 from 11 am to 1 pm.

The exhibition is organized jointly by a team of curators from MoMA and El Museo: Miriam Basilio, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art; Fatima Bercht, Chief Curator, El Museo del Barrio; Deborah Cullen, Curator, El Museo del Barrio; Gary Garrels, Chief Curator, Department of Drawings and Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art; and Luis Enrique Pérez Oramas, Adjunct Curator, Department of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art.

Exhibition Highlights
''MoMA at El Museo is designed to shed light on important Latin American and Caribbean artists over a period of more than 50 years while providing an opportunity for the public to view familiar and lesser known works from one of the greatest collections of its kind,'' says Fatima Bercht, Chief Curator, El Museo del Barrio. ''As the foremost center for Latino arts and culture, El Museo del Barrio provides an exceptional perspective and context for MoMA's collection in this area.''

MoMA at El Museo: Latin American and Caribbean Art from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art is organized in four chronological sections reflecting the history of MoMA's collecting. The first section of the exhibition begins with major paintings and drawings acquired in the 1930s by José Clemente Orozco (Mexico, 1883-1949); Diego Rivera (Mexico, 1886-1957); and David Alfaro Siqueiros (Mexico, 1896-1974). These early acquisitions and gifts entered the collection shortly after they were created and set a precedent for MoMA as a collector of contemporary art.

The second section highlights works acquired after the creation of MoMA's Inter-American Fund in 1942. This fund enabled the Museum during the 1940s to obtain an extensive range of works reflecting both geographic and stylistic diversity, including masterpieces by artists such as Frida Kahlo (Mexico, 1907-1954); Wifredo Lam (Cuba, 1902-1982); Roberto Sebastián Matta (Chile, 1911-2002); Cândido Portinari (Brazil, 1903-1962); Rufino Tamayo (Mexico, 1899-1991); and Joaquín Torres-García (Uruguay, 1874-1949).

The third section of the exhibition focuses on the 1960s, when MoMA markedly increased its acquisitions from Argentina, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and other countries, with a particular emphasis on drawings, print portfolios and artists' books. Important paintings and sculptures by major artists, including Fernando Botero (Colombia, b. 1932); Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt, Venezuela, b. Germany 1912-1994); Julio Le Parc (Argentina, b. 1928); Marisol (Marisol Escobar, Venezuela, b. 1930 in France); Rafael Montañez Ortiz (Puerto Rico, b. 1934); and Jesus Rafael Soto (Venezuela, b. 1923), also entered the collection at this time and are represented in the exhibition.

The fourth and final section of the exhibition presents MoMA's most recent acquisitions. The contemporary works from this section include a range of works in a variety of media by artists such as Fernando Bryce (Peru, b. 1965); Felix Gonzalez-Torres (America, b. Cuba 1957-1996); Arturo Herrera (Venezuela, b. 1959); Guillermo Kuitca (Argentina, b. 1961); José Leonilson (Brazil, 1953-1994); Cildo Meireles (Brazil, b. 1948); Vik Muniz (Brazil, b. 1961); Gabriel Orozco (Mexico, b. 1962); and Doris Salcedo (Colombia, b. 1958).

Public Programs
A full schedule of educational and cultural programs that promote understanding and dialogue about Latin American and Caribbean art and artists will accompany the exhibition. Highlights include a scholarly symposium on April 24th focusing on the history of the collection as well as specific artists and works in the exhibition; Family Day on May 15th, an all-day open house for families and community participants; and the Miracles on 104th Street Festival on June 19th, featuring exhibition-related activities jointly hosted by El Museo, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Parks Department. In addition, the renowned Ballet de San Juan will be visiting El Museo from Spoleto for a weekend of performances from June 10th to the 13th; the Carpentier Quartet will be performing music of the Americas during a concert on Sunday afternoon, May 2nd; and El Museo del Barrio will host a video marathon showcasing works by Latin American artists. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, bilingual guided tours will be available as well as educator workshops and a series of educational programs for school children in grades K through 12.

Exhibition Catalogue
A 185-page book, with forewords by El Museo Director Julián Zugazagoitia and MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry, will accompany the exhibition. Featured in the publication are interpretive essays by the curators of the exhibition and other leading scholars. These essays illuminate the four distinct phases of MoMA's Latin American acquisitions (the first gifts in the late 1930s; the 1940s; the 1960s; and the 1990s to the present) and also highlight selected works in each time period. Co-published by El Museo del Barrio and The Museum of Modern Art, the book will be distributed by DAP (Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.).

About El Museo del Barrio
Heralded by The New York Times as ''an institution in its ascendancy,'' El Museo del Barrio was founded in 1969 by a group of Puerto Rican educators, artists, parents and community activists in East Harlem's Spanish-speaking El Barrio, the neighborhood that extends from 96th Street to the Harlem River and from Fifth Avenue to the East River on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Since then, El Museo del Barrio has evolved into New York's leading Latino cultural institution, representing the diversity of art and culture in the Caribbean and Latin America. As the only museum in New York City that specializes in representing these cultures, El Museo del Barrio continues to have a significant impact on the cultural life of New York City and is now a major stop on Manhattan's Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue.

El Museo del Barrio's varied permanent collection of 6,500 objects from the Caribbean and Latin America includes pre-Columbian Taino artifacts, traditional arts, twentieth-century prints, drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations, as well as photography, documentary films and video. Through the sustained excellence of its collections, exhibitions, publications and bilingual public programming, El Museo del Barrio reaches out to diverse audiences and serves as a bridge and catalyst between Latinos, their extraordinary cultural heritage, and the rich artistic offerings of New York City.

Image: Wifredo Lam, the Jungle, 1943

El Museo del Barrio is located at 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street
Museum hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 11am to 5 pm. Thursday, 11 to 8 pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday. MoMA at El Museo exhibition admission: $10 adults; $6 students and seniors; members and children under 12 accompanied by an adult enter free. Free admission every Thursday, 4 to 8 pm, throughout the duration of the exhibition.

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