New Exhibition Organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art Presents a Provocative Journey Through Latin American Art of the 20th and 21st Centuries

Destination: Latin America, a provocative and informative new exhibition at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York, both illustrates the museum’s important collection of Latin American art and discusses the key historical and artistic movements that influenced that art. “It is a true journey through the art of twentieth and twenty-first century Latin American Art,” notes Patrice Giasson, the Alex Gordon Associate Curator of Art of the Americas, who curated the exhibition with curatorial assistance from Marianelly Neumann and research assistance from Annabel Rhodeen and Carmelita Diaz.

Destination: Latin America, on view from July 24, 2016 through January 22, 2017, looks at work created by artists affiliated with the artistic revolution that emerged after the Mexican revolution of 1910-1920; sculpture and painting by key South American artists after World War II that explored color, form, space, and motion; work by Caribbean and South American artists inspired by African art, Surrealism, and Magical Realism; the challenges faced by artists living under the dictatorships of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s; and contemporary artists addressing globalization, violence, and social criticism.

This exhibition includes over seventy works by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Raúl Anguiano, Julio Antonio, Henry Bermudez, Leda Catunda, Carlos Cruz-Diez, José Luis Cuevas, Arturo Duclos, Lucio Fontana, Carlos Garaicoa, Florencio Gelabert, Alfred Jensen, Nicolás de Jesús, Wifredo Lam, Eduardo Mac Entyre, Teresa Margolles, María Martínez-Cañas, Roberto Matta, Almir Mavignier, José Clemente Orozco, Marta María Perez Bravo, Betsabeé Romero, Jesús Rafael Soto, Gerardo Suter, Rufino Tamayo, Luis Tomasello, and Eugenia Vargas.

Destination: Latin America is organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York. Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art and the Purchase College Foundation.

Divided into five sections, the exhibition contains didactic materials throughout to guide and inform the visitor. The focus of the first section, the aftermath of the Mexican revolution of 1910-1920, shows how that country’s political revolution triggered changes in all modes of creation, including painting, photography, theater, and literature. The young artists of the Mexican mural movement, led in part by José Clemente Orozco, were central to this artistic revolution. As art took to the streets, native Mexicans, common people, workers, peasants, and children became the artists’ subjects. Mexican muralists gained international recognition, and for many, Mexico City became the “Paris of Latin America.” International artists engaged with Mexican artists, which had further impact, and several Mexican artists were invited to create works in the United States, Europe, and Russia.

In the second half of the twentieth century, Latin America’s interest in abstraction and a newfound enthusiasm for contemporary European artistic trends grew. The end of World War II opened new artistic frontiers for a generation of Latin American artists eager to move away from representational traditions. This advance was reinforced by economic prosperity, leading to the development and modernization of large cities and a boom in the construction industry. Adopted by Latin American artists living abroad, and by European artists traveling to South America, Geometric abstraction, Concrete art, and Kinetic and Optical art laid the groundwork for a new means of artistic expression. The impact of these movements on the art of Latin America remains visible today.

But it is impossible to speak of Latin American art without acknowledging the contributions of African-American culture and the influence of African art. In such countries as Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, and Venezuela, where the African-American presence predominates, African traditions and religious beliefs coexisted and intermingled with indigenous and Western practices, shaping a Creole identity.

From the 1960s into the 1980s, political turbulence had a tremendous impact on artistic life. During these years, most South American countries lived under the shadow of military regimes and dictatorships, and the violence and repression they spawned. It was the peak of the Cold War, and a campaign of political repression designed to eliminate left-wing activists was carried out (with the support of the United States). Artists came under suspicion of the authorities, civil war broke out, and all this turbulence had a tremendous impact on artistic life. To avoid persecution, artists practiced self-imposed censorship, and developed various strategies such as creating conceptual works that expressed their opposition to authority through allusion. These new art forms also challenged the conservative tendencies that dominated certain art schools. Censorship and fear prevented the kind of collaboration that usually occurs between artists. Yet, artistic output progressed, as many multimedia artists explored questions of identity and memory.

Many of the concerns that Latin American artists address today—identity, sexuality, political struggle, consumption, pollution, violence, police brutality, repression, and the onset of a deteriorating environment —appear in creative output worldwide, as we live in an era when individuals travel freely and live in multiple locations – often outside their native countries. According to Dr. Giasson, “Many Latin American artists prefer not to carry a national banner, but instead consider themselves actors engaged in a universal dialogue.”

Public Programs

In conjunction with Destination: Latin America, the Neuberger Museum of Art has organized the following programs:

Wednesday, Oct 5, 12:30 – 1:30pm

Destination Latin America Gallery Talk with Curator Patrice Giasson

Destination Latin America curator Patrice Giasson examines key works from the exhibition, tracing the impact of the Mexican Revolution on contemporary Latin American artists and their responses to history, globalization, migration, and social criticism.

Tickets to public programs are free to Purchase College students, staff, and faculty, and Neuberger Museum of Art Circle Level Members. General Admission: $10.


Wednesday, Dec 7, 12:30 -1:30pm

Destination Latin America Gallery Talk with Scholar Marianelly Neumann

Join scholar Marianelly Neumann as she examines Destination Latin America’s sections on African Legacy, Totems, and Magical Realism in Latin America.

Tickets to public programs are free to Purchase College students, staff, and faculty, and Neuberger Museum of Art Circle Level Members. General Admission: $10.

The Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York is the premier museum of modern, African, and contemporary art in the Westchester/Fairfield County area. An outstanding arts and education institution, the Museum was conceived with the dual purpose of serving both as an important cultural resource to its regional, national, and international audiences, and as an integral part of Purchase College. Support for the Museum’s collection, exhibitions, publications, and education programs is provided by grants from public and private agencies, individual contributions, the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art and its Board of Directors, the Purchase College Foundation, and the State University of New York.

Photo caption: Betsabeé Romero, Ceci n’est pas une voiture I (This is not a Car), from installation Auto-construido, 2000, color photograph, 10 ½ x 17 3/8 inches, 1/5. Collection Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York. Gift of the artist. ©Betsabeé Romero. 


Event Location and Ticket Information

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Neuberger Museum of Art
Purchase College SUNY 735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, New York 10577
Handicap Accessible? Yes

Date: Sunday, July 24, 2016 - Sunday, January 22, 2017
Times: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Ticket pricing:

- $5 general admission; $3 seniors

Presenter: Neuberger Museum of Art
Presenter Phone: 914-251-6100
Presenter Website: