Untangling the Web: Gego's “Reticulárea,” An Anthology of Critical Response (2013)

Gego (born Gertrud Goldschimdt, 1912–1994) pioneered a new direction in art with her innovative sculptures of the 1960s and 1970s. Born in Germany, she fled the Nazi regime and moved to Caracas, Venezuela, where she absorbed modernist trends but ultimately forged her own artistic path. Exploring the concept of the line, space, and time, she linked pieces of metal to create weblike geometric forms, which she called “drawings in space.”

These experiments culminated in Reticulárea, a massive netlike sculptural installation first presented at the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, in 1969. This groundbreaking work had major repercussions in the art world and marked a turning point in Gego’s career. Centered on the various iterations of Reticulárea and its artistic impact, this anthology brings together images as well as documentary materials and primary texts in English and Spanish by artists, writers, and Gego herself. Organized by María Elena Huizi and Ester Crespín; edited by Mari Carmen Ramírez and Melina Kervandjian. Available at the MFA Shop.

The ICAA has established a rigorous publishing program that serves as the foundation for the research, scholarship, and exhibition initiatives of the ICAA and of the Latin American Art Department of the MFAH. The ICAA has published a number of books and catalogues since 2001.

Critical Documents of 20th-Century Latin American and Latino Art (2012)

Through a thorough examination of 168 critical and primary source documents, this first volume explores “Latin-ness,” the longing for continental identity, and the emergence of such contested terms as “Latin American” or “Latino” art. The aim is to discover the emergence of both expected and unpredicted similarities, paradoxes, and differences amongst key texts written by the most significant artists, critics, and journalists to have broached these topics over the long 20th century. It also offers translated excerpts of some of the most relevant historical documents constituting the foundational narrative for this important debate.

The volume is organized by Mari Carmen Ramírez, the MFAH Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and Director, ICAA; Houston-based independent scholar Héctor Olea; and noted Chicano art historian and cultural crusader Tomás Ybarra-Frausto. Additional content is provided by María C. Gaztambide, Director of the Documents Project at the ICAA.

Documents Project Working Papers

The ICAA also publishes the ICAA Documents Project Working Papers, An occasional series that brings together papers stemming from the Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Project. Edited by María C. Gaztambide, Director of the Documents Project, the volumes are available in print and electronic format.

Building on a Construct: The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2009)

Edited by Héctor Olea, ICAA Publications and Translations Editor, and Mari Carmen Ramírez, Wortham Curator of Latin American Art, the volume assesses the state of research on avant-garde artists and groups that constituted the Concrete and Neoconcrete tendencies in post-War Brazilian art, and seeks to generate updated frameworks and new lines of investigation for the interpretation of these interrelated tendencies. It includes thirteen specially commissioned essays by a group of distinguished artists, critics, and scholars from Brazil and the United States. Available for purchase at the MFA Shop.

Hélio Oiticica: The Body of Color (2007)

Drawing on new research and including previously unseen works, this is the most extensive publication yet on the Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937-80). The Body of Color traces the conceptual and technical processes that led to Oiticica’s emancipation of color into space and volume showcases different series created throughout the artist’s career. Body of Color features essays by Mari Carmen Ramirez; Luciano Figueiredo, director of the Centro Helio Oiticica in Rio de Janeiro; and Wynne H. Phelan, conservation director at MFAH, as well as previously unpublished translations of texts by the artist. Available for purchase at the MFA Shop.

Constructing a Poetic Universe: The Diane and Bruce Halle Collection of Latin American Art (2007)

Drawing on the Collection of Diane and Bruce Halle, Constructing a Poetic Universe features not only the work of artists from Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean, but also works by American and European artists working in Latin America and Latin American artists based in North America and Europe. Illuminating essays by Beverly Adams, Juan Ledezma, Mari Carmen Ramírez, Suely Rolnik, and Sonia Salzstein consider some of the region's leading practitioners and examine such prominent issues as introspection and identity, theatricality and performance in the visual arts, and the rise of multiculturalism and globalism in contemporary art. Available for purchase at the MFA Shop.

Dimensions of Constructive Art in Brazil: The Adolpho Leirner Collection (2007)

This beautifully illustrated book salutes the 2007 acquisition by the MFAH of the Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art, one of the most important and complete collections in the world devoted to modern Latin American art in the 1950s and 1960s. Authored by Mari Carmen Rámirez and Adolpho Leirner, among others, the catalogue illustrates and documents the history of this artistic movement that included artists such as Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Luis Sacilotto, and Waldemar Cordeiro. Available for purchase at the MFA Shop.

Versions and Inversions: Perspectives on Avant-Garde Art in Latin America (2006)

In 2004, MFAH presented Inverted Utopias, a critically acclaimed exhibition focusing on the development of avant-garde art in Latin America from 1920 to 1970. At the time of the exhibition, a major symposium was held at the museum. Edited by Héctor Olea and Mari Carmen Ramírez, this book brings together texts and commentary by leading art historians and critics who participated in the event, including Gabriel Peluffo Linari, Andrea Giunta, Luis Camnitzer, and Lucy R. Lippard, among many others. A wide range of topics is covered, including the avant-garde in America and Europe, Argentine art in the 1960s, Latin American Conceptualism, and Brazilian art trends of the 1950s. Available for purchase at the MFA Shop.

Gego: entre la transparencia y lo invisible. Gego: Between Transparency and the Invisible (2006)

The German-born, Venezuelan artist Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt, 1912–1994) produced a range of line-based abstract work, including drawings, prints, and wire sculptures. Focusing on a rare series of monotypes from the early 1950s, drawings and prints, and “drawings without paper” and “tejeduras” (woven paper pieces) of the late 1970s and 1980s, this fascinating book traces Gego’s exploration of line and space. Mari Carmen Ramírez, Catherine de Zegher, Robert Storr, and Josefina Manrique contribute essays to this book. Available for purchase at the MFA Shop.

Sabiduras y otros textos de Gego/Sabiduras and Other Texts by Gego (2005)

In 1999, a folder was found in a storage trunk that had belonged to Gego with the word Sabiduras (loosely translated as “Words of Wisdom”) written on the cover, containing previously unknown texts, word poems, and notes by the artist. This important book assembles all of these writings together for the first time, providing an unprecedented look into Gego’s philosophies of art and religion, her creative thought process, and her vast knowledge. Compiled and edited by María Elena Huizi and Josefina Manrique, Sabiduras also includes an introduction by Mari Carmen Ramírez. Available for purchase at the MFA Shop.

Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America (2004)

In the twentieth century, Latin America’s avant-garde artists created extraordinary and highly innovative paintings, sculptures, assemblages, mixed-media works, and installations. This innovative book, edited by Héctor Olea and Mari Carmen Ramírez, presents more than 250 works by some seventy of these artists (including Gego, Joaquín Torres-García, Xul Solar, and José Clemente Orozco) and artists’ groups, along with interpretive essays by leading authorities as well newly translated manifestoes and other theoretical documents written by the artists. Available for purchase at the MFA Shop.

Questioning the Line: Gego in Context (2003)

Though little known outside Latin America, Gego enjoyed a dialogue with twentieth-century artists and movements active not only in Venezuela, but also worldwide. Edited by Mari Carmen Ramírez and Theresa Papanikolas, Questioning the line – the second in the ICAA series – examines her art in relation to Modernism, Informalism, kinetic art, and other tendencies, and situates Gego in her international context. Included in the book are essays by Ramírez, Iris Peruga, and Luis Pérez Oramas, among others. Available for purchase at the MFA Shop.

Collecting Latin American Art for the 21st Century (2002)

This first publication of the ICAA, Collecting Latin American Art for the 21st Century explores the shifting profile of Latin American collections. What are the challenges of collecting the art of such a heterogeneous region? How have local collectors balanced individual tastes with the demands of a globalized art world? Through a series of case studies edited by Mari Carmen Ramirez and Theresa Papanikolas, contributors including Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Oliver Debroise, and Luis Pérez Oramas examine the history and context behind this largely unprecedented trend. Available for purchase at the MFA Shop.

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