Exhibitions Fairs USA

Latin American art goes global

Works by 61 artists from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection on show

Yaima Carrazana, Malevich, Nail Polish Tutorial, 2010. Photo: courtesy CIFO Art Foundation

Lyrical, poetic, political, powerful: the works by the 61 artists who feature in “Permission to be Global/Prácticas Globales: Latin American Art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection” make for a startling exploration of why and how experimental artists from South and Central America and the Caribbean became integral to discourses on contemporary art after years of exclusion from the art-historical canons in their own countries and abroad. The show is a collaboration between the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Jen Mergel, a senior curator at the Boston museum, says that the joint venture is an attempt to “open a dialogue about how Latin American art has garnered increasing attention on major international platforms like Art Basel Miami Beach. But the works show how diverse and internationally engaged these artists’ practices have been for generations.”

The show features 80 works of sculpture, painting, photography and video, installation and performance art from 1960 to the present. Examples include the Argentine artist Sergio Vega’s Structuralist Study of Poverty (Potato, Onion, Garlic), 2002, comprising model-size shacks topped with the titular food—nutritional staples in the Americas—on pedestals of varying heights, evoking the economic bar graphs that track poverty levels. In her performance and video ¿Quién puede borrar las huellas? (Who Can Erase the Traces?), 2003, Regina José Galindo combines art and activism to honour the victims of Guatemala’s civil war; the artist dips her bare feet in a basin of human blood and walks from Guatemala City’s constitutional court to the National Palace.

“Together, the works’ unique visual languages undermine the status quo, defy boundaries, humanise art’s abstractions and revisit forgotten histories,” Mergel says. “The installation highlights how artists across generations, national regions and distinct media incorporate these four strategies to make visible how globalisation has shaped the reception of art.”

The title of the show, she explains, was created to provoke a necessary debate about the power dynamics of globalisation, and specifically the reception of art from across Latin America.

“We recognise that ‘global’ is not a neutral term: it is an ideal, while globalisation is a historical fact. The works in the exhibition explore what it means to be global, when free and equal cultural exchange is still limited by the power dynamics of globalisation,” she says.

• Permission to be Global/Prácticas Globales: Latin American Art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation,

1018 North Miami Avenue, Miami (until 23 February 2014). Opening hours: Thursday, Friday: 12pm-6pm; Saturday, Sunday: 10am-4pm. Website: www.cifo.org

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