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Contingent Beauty: Contemporary Art from Latin America November 22, 2015–February 28, 2016


Cardoso - Woven Water

María Fernanda Cardoso, Woven Water: Submarine Landscape, 1994, dried starfish with metal wire, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Caribbean Art Fund. © María Fernanda Cardoso

Tania Bruguera, Estadística (Statistics), 1995–2000, cardboard, human hair, and fabric, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Caribbean Art Fund and the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund. © Tania Bruguera

Magdalena Fernández, 2iPM009, from the series Pinturas móviles (Mobile Paintings), 2009, video installation with sound, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Caribbean Art Fund and the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund. © Magdalena Fernández

Javier Téllez, La passion de Jeanne d’Arc (Rozelle Hospital) [The Passion of Joan of Arc (Rozelle Hospital)], 2005, two BETACAM projections, 2 DVDs, and 3 velvet curtains, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Diane and Bruce Halle from the Thomarie Foundation. © Javier Téllez, courtesy Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich

Los Carpinteros, Podgaric Toy, 2013, wood and LEGO® bricks, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Caribbean Art Fund. © Los Carpinteros. Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

Tunga, Lezart, 1989, iron, copper, magnets, and embroidered silk, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund. © 1989 Tunga / Image courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York

Miguel Ángel Rojas, Broadway, 1996/2010, coca leaves and steel needles with museum putty on the wall, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Caribbean Art Fund. © Miguel Ángel Rojas

Contingent Beauty: Contemporary Art from Latin America features a selection of major works by 21 established artists from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Venezuela. Encompassing a variety of media including drawing, sculpture, video, and interactive object- and video-based installations, the exhibition highlights contemporary artists who use seductive and engaging materials to convey their social, political, and environmental concerns.

Drawn primarily from the Museum's permanent collection of modern Latin American art—one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind in any public institution—nearly all of the 32 works on view have been acquired by the Museum over the last five years through the Caribbean Art Fund, established in 2010 as a special initiative of the Museum and Fundación Gego. The goal of this fund is to research, promote, and collect the work of artists from the greater Caribbean.

The exhibition also features work by exceptional mid-career Latin American artists, generating a dynamic dialogue that cuts across chronological and geographic borders. Contingent Beauty intertwines aesthetic refinement with biting critiques of timely issues grounded in the complex realities of Latin America and its long history of colonization, political repression, and economic crisis. These issues range from poverty, violence, gender, government corruption, and globalization, to the war on drugs and the legacy of colonialism.

The “beauty” of these works is contingent upon contextual interpretation. Each piece harbors a tension between opposing elements, such as beauty and violence, seduction and repulsion, or elegance and brutality. Among the artists represented are Tania Bruguera (Cuba), María Fernanda Cardoso (Colombia), Los Carpinteros (Cuba), Grupo Mondongo (Argentina), Guillermo Kuitca (Argentina), Miguel Ángel Rojas (Colombia), Javier Téllez (Venezuela), and Tunga (Brazil).


This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Lead corporate sponsor:

Additional generous funding is provided by Leslie and Brad Bucher.

Location

Caroline Wiess Law Building
1001 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005
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