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Arts of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean

Works of art from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean range from ancient cultures to cutting-edge artists of today. Among the highlights are the Glassell Collection of Pre-Columbian Gold and the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary art by Latin American and Latino artists.

© José Antonio Berni
Argentinean, 1905 - 1981
La sordidez (de la serie "Monstruos cósmicos")
Sordidness (from the series "Cosmic Monsters")
c. 1964
Wood, steel, iron, aluminum, cardboard, plastic, roots, nails, and enamel

50 ¾ x 47 ¼ x 157 ½ inches with platform

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of the Caroline Wiess Law Foundation

Arts of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean

One of Antonio Berni's driving fundamental philosophies for art making derived from his insistence that art address the social and political realities from which it stemmed. To that end, his choice of materials alluded to the economic conditions and disparities in Argentinean society.

Berni experimented in various directions by combining a hodgepodge of elements: industrial refuse, scraps from the sewing basket, domestic objects of daily life. He subsequently transferred these ideas and working strategies into magnificent large-scale works made out of myriad collaged materials on board. He developed a series of sculptures in a similar vein around two primary themes: sordidness and voracity. This sculpture epitomizes the series of "Cosmic Monsters" Berni produced in response to the painful and troubled sociopolitical realities of his country's history.