Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection
The San Diego Museum of Art
1450 El Prado
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
On View Through March 11th, 2018
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Article by Cathy Breslaw
Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection is part of the broadly based Pacific Standard Time LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art. Supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, exhibitions and associated events are taking place through March 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pérez Simón, a Mexican businessman and collector from Mexico City, generously provided 100 paintings of his over 3,000 works in collection to be exhibited together for the first time in the United States at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Curated and organized by San Diego Museum of Art Executive Director Roxana Velásquez, this exhibition covers artworks from the early 1800’s to the first decades of the 21st century. Featured artists include: Fernando Botero, Félix González-Torres, Frida Kahlo, Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, José Clemente Orozco, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Jesús Rafael Soto, and Rufino Tamayo. Countries represented in this exhibition are Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Uruguay. Some underlying themes of these works reference modern colonial histories with the importance of landscape painting in the formation of distinctive national identities, the development of avant-garde styles, modern depictions of indigenous peoples and customs, the age of the metropolis and modernism.
Many of the artists studied with masters in Europe where they were exposed to Cubism, Futurism, Impressionism, and other art movements, then returning to their home countries to share their distinctive voices. The exhibition styles range from abstraction to realism, with portraits as well as landscapes. The approximately 70 artists included in this exhibition provide insight into the complex histories of these countries that share their beginnings as settled primarily by Spain and Portugal, but have their own notable presence and identities. Viewing this broad spectrum of paintings introduces audiences to the divergent historical and more current circumstances of Latin American countries – the variety of ethnicities, the politics and culture, as well as commonalities among them.