Permission To Be Global / Prácticas Globales
An exhibition to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach 2013
Latin American Art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection
Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami (CIFO): December 4, 2013–February 23, 2014
PREVIEW (Press Only): Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 4–6 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA): March 19–July 13, 2014
Wilfredo Prieto. (b. 1978, Cuba) Untitled (Globe of the World), 2002. Ink on dried pea.
© Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, Courtesy CIFO Art Foundation. Photography by Oriol Tarridas.
The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), join forces on the exhibition Permission To Be Global / Prácticas Globales: Latin American Art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, featuring contemporary works by artists from across Latin America. Drawn from the holdings of Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, founder and president of CIFO, the exhibition premieres during Art Basel Miami Beach (December 4-8, 2013) and then travels to the MFA in March of 2014. Incorporating sculpture, painting, photography, video, installation and performance art from 1960 to the present, Permission To Be Global / Prácticas Globales features 61 artists from over ten countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Together their works explore what it means “to be global,” when free and equal cultural exchange is still limited by the power dynamics of globalization. After years of underrepresentation at home and abroad, many of these artists are now leading the discourse about contemporary art’s reach across international borders, while still reflecting social and political issues at home. At CIFO, the exhibition will feature more than 80 works, and visitors to the MFA will experience 60 of these in the Museum’s first-ever exhibition dedicated to contemporary Latin American art. Permission To Be Global / Prácticas Globales showcases many artists never before seen in New England, along with new installations and performances inspired by the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection.
Permission To Be Global / Prácticas Globales is organized into four sections that reflect strategies used by artists to communicate in both local and international contexts:
Power Parodied: This section explores how artists call attention to unjust social realities through exaggerations of scale, extreme repetition, ironic references to the status quo and outlandish ideas for escaping social ills. For example, in Argentinean Sergio Vega’s piece Structuralist Study of Poverty (Potato, Onion, Garlic) (2002), Vega tops model-size shacks with a potato, onion and garlic (nutritional staples in the Americas), each on pedestals of varied heights to evoke economic bar graphs that measure poverty levels. Cuban artist Wilfredo Prieto parodies the “smallness” of the global world in Untitled (Globe of the World) (2002), which inks the seven continents onto a tiny dried pea—a gesture that reduces the massive idea of globalism onto a food many Cubans have grown tired of.
Borders Redefined: Some artists use frames, surface and physical borders––like the bars of a fence or jail––to highlight ways of disrupting divides and categories. Venezuelan artist Daniel Medina’s Reja Naranja (Orange Bars) from the series Deispositivo Cinético/Social (Kinetic/Social Device) (2012) echoes linear abstractions by generations of Venezuelan artists, but also features a security gate, hinged to the gallery wall, signaling an exclusive barrier to private property. León Ferrari illustrates the theme with his La Jaula (The Cage) (1979), which he created while in exile from an oppressive regime in his native Argentina. Ferrari’s imagined cage works as a metaphorical prison cell for the military officers who tortured and executed thousands, including his son, during Argentina’s “Dirty War” in the 1970s.
Occupied Geometries: Many artists resist passive forms of spectatorship with pronounced imagery of active bodies in public space or with objects that prompt participation. Cuban-born artist Ana Mendiata's self-portrait Untitled (1975), morphs her human form into an abstraction of a childhood memory, before her 1961 departure from Cuba as part of the Peter Pan Operation that brought Cuban children to the U.S. While she could no longer physically visit or “occupy” her homeland, the geometries of her recording revisit her roots. Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s installation O Tempo Oco (The Empty Time) (2004) suspends the soft organic geometries of flesh-colored fabric like weighty body parts, inviting viewers to slow down and interact with the limbs with a suspended sense of time.
Absence Accumulated: Many artists have refused to let history be erased, and through the accumulation of material and the layering of ideas they are able to draw attention to events beyond the narrow focus of officially sanctioned history. For example, in Argentinean Horacio Zabala’s Revisar/Censurar (Revise/Censor) (1974), the official stamps of state bureaucrats culminate in an ultimate block of expression, illustrating how history is revised when countless facts are redacted. Regina José Galindo commemorates victims of Guatemala’s civil war (1960-1996) in her 2003 performance and video, ¿Quién puede borrar las huellas? (Who Can Erase the Traces?). By dipping her bare feet in a basin of human blood and walking from Guatamala City’s constitutional court to the National Palace, she imprinted a visceral symbol of mass violence onto her capitol, and the internationally distributed video footage raised global awareness of the country’s nearly forgotten history. She will present a new performance in Boston in conjunction with the exhibition.
Permission to be Global / Prácticas Globales: Latin American Art from the Ella Fontanals- Cisneros Collection is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, published by CIFO, with entries on all featured works and an introductory conversation by exhibition curators Jen Mergel (Robert L. Beal, Bruce A. Beal, and Enid L. Beal Senior Curator of Contemporary Art) and Liz Munsell (Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art & MFA Programs), both of the MFA, in consultation with Jésus Fuenmayor, Director and Chief Curator of CIFO.
About Ella Fontanals-Cisneros
Ella Fontanals-Cisneros is a philanthropist, entrepreneur and art collector whose vision has made a lasting impact on the Miami arts community and global arts organizations. Born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, Fontanals-Cisneros began collecting works by artists from Latin America in 1970 and has grown her collection over the years to include video, photography, geometric abstraction and contemporary art by artists from around the world. Fontanals-Cisneros has lent pieces from her collection to distinguished institutions worldwide including the Tate Modern (London) and the Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid). In 2002, Fontanals-Cisneros founded the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) to foster a better understanding and appreciation of contemporary artists from Latin America.
About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its encyclopedic collection, which includes an estimated 450,000 objects. The Museum’s collection is made up of: Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA), is a division of the MFA offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 a.m.–4:45 p.m.; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.–9:45 p.m. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions, including Permission To Be Global / Prácticas Globales. Admission is free for University Members and children age 17 and younger on weekdays after 3 p.m., weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10. Wednesday nights after 4 p.m. admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted for free. The MFA’s multi-media guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit mfa.org or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
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