The largest art exhibit in the history of the OAS Art Museum of the Americas (AMA) began its travels around the hemisphere last December 16 with the inauguration of the exhibition Arte en America in the Centro Cultural Palacio la Moneda (CCPLM). Set in a building next to the presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, the exhibition contains more than 100 works of art from the OAS collection and a similar number from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) collection.
The exhibit follows an imaginary route throughout the American continent, understood as a cultural extension of land, over a period of one-hundred years, featuring the works of artists from 28 countries. The American identity is presented to the public in its full diversity of landscapes and visions, as witnesses to the struggles and shared dreams of the people that live in this part of the world.
Arte en America invites its visitors to think of the identities, memories, and hopes of the Americas as a society. One of the main objectives of this exhibit explains Alejandra Serrano, director of the CCPLM, is to contribute "to the understanding and recognition of the diversities and similarities between the countries of our continent, and to inspire a vision of the future that is sustained by the richness and strength of the bond between our peoples and our institutions."
The works of arts chosen for this exhibit, under the careful supervision of curators Soledad Garcia and Alex Meza, is not just an acknowledgement of the artistic heritage developed in the Americas throughout the century; it is also a global vision of the different traditions, origins, influences, and innovations that converge in the hemisphere's contemporary art.
Through different techniques and formats--painting, photography, sculpture, and art installations--the exhibit allows for a moment of personal contact with the concerns and customs of our people. These are exhibited with the popular drawings by Guadalupe Posada (Mexico); the musical and cubist forms by Emilio Pettoruti (Argentina); the appreciation of the indigenous and pre-Colombian world by Oswaldo Guayasamin (Ecuador) and Yves Telemak (Haiti); the translation of the myths in the ancestral sculptures by Edgar Negret (Colombia); the children's portraits and documentaries by Gilvano Swasey (Belize) and Claudia Andujar (Brazil); and North American pop art by Andy Warhol and Roy Liehtenstein.
The migratory movements, the political and social conflicts, and the cultural globalization that touch the whole continent are also present in the work of artists whose art interacts with the exhibit by incorporating different influences and discourses: the colorful and amusing paintings by Roberto Matta (Chile); the tropical still-life's by Amelia Pelaez (Cuba); the afro-Cuban traits in the paintings of Wilfredo Lam (Cuba); the everyday presence of folklore in the art of Rufino Tamayo (Mexico); and the constructivist rhythms in the work of Eduardo MacEntyre (Argentina) and Jesus Rafael Soto (Venezuela), among others.
While Arte en America bids us to reflect upon and acknowledge our societies, it also highlights the importance of the existence of art collections like the one of the OAS.
The OAS permanent collection--today close to 2,000 works of art--began in the 1940s under the supervision of Cuban art critic Jose Gomez-Sicre, who was then director of the Visual Arts Program of the Organization. …