A Tale of Two Worlds: Experimental Latin American Art in Dialogue with the MMK Collection 1940s-1980s
n one of its largest exhibitions ever the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main is collaborating with the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (Moderno) in Argentina. The exhibition accommodates over 500 artworks from private and public collections by 100 artists and collectives from Latin America, the United States and Europe.
A Tale of Two Worlds sets out to establish a dialogue between two distinct narratives in Western contemporary art over the five decades spanning the 1940s and the 1980s: the European-North American canon and Latin American experimental art. The exhibition is structured as a stream of conversations, whereby topics relevant to the history of experimental art practices in Latin America are presented in dialogue with artworks from the MMK Collection. The project has been conceptualized and curated over the past year and a half between two cities – Buenos Aires and Frankfurt – and has a strong Southern perspective. Indeed, it marks the first time a European Museum collection has allowed itself to be re-examined by curators of Latin American art. The project is an answer to the call by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) on major museums in Germany to endow their collections with a more global perspective.
For some years now the MMK's exhibition programme and collection policy has opened up its view to non-European perspectives on international contemporary art and critically questioned the socio-political conditions of art in a globalized world. The interrelated perspectives of two continents and cultures represented in A Tale of Two Worlds present the MMK with a chance to see its own collection from a striking new angle. Although emerging from divergent political, economic and historical contexts, the art on show will reveal parallel trajectories, crossover points and contradictions.
While the MMK collection from the 1960s and 1970s focuses on European and North American art, the period of Latin American art addressed in this exhibition is somewhat longer: it starts in 1944, the year of the first exhibition of the new Concrete Art movements in Argentina, and continues until the end of the military dictatorships in the late 1980s. Through the example of avant-garde artists from Latin America, the USA and Europe the exhibition attempts to locate the precise tipping point in the transition from modern to contemporary art. It foregrounds various forces of change in order to illustrate this moment of transition, when modernist models collapsed. It focuses on moments of empathy, shared concerns and intellectual bonds between artists from different parts of the world, as well as moments that emerge as counterpoints or challenges, or as tensions between different historical experiences.
Close collaboration between the Moderno and MMK curators is essential for the project, since both institutions are subjecting their pre-existent outlooks to a process of revision and allowing an alternate narrative to be told. This process consciously questions and reconsiders the history of art, their positioning as institutions and their collection practices.
The exhibition is jointly curated by Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires Director Victoria Noorthoorn and Senior Curator Javier Villa, and MMK Curator Klaus Görner. It will be presented at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires between 7 July and 14 October 2018.
The exhibition is part of the "Global Museum" programme of the German Federal Cultural Foundation.